Seeing the world in a new way …

How we see the world matters. Apologists point up the competing "worldviews" in an effort to both educate people "in the church" and reason with those "outside the church." A person may register for an academy to help them live out of a "biblical worldview." Whose "biblical worldview" do we utilize? Will we look below the surface to see just how connected we are to the worldviews we battle?

We assert objectivity as we compare these worldviews. Is that possible? How do I objectively evaluate the comfort of a chair? Once I have discovered the comfort of a "Lazy-Boy" I may deem all other chairs "uncomfortable." A padded folding chair is less comfortable than a padded "Stacker II" with lumbar support. The "Lazy-Boy" outdistances both the padded folding chair and the "Stacker II." I only know this once I sit in the chair. Certainly I may read the research. But if my choices are a rock or the padded folding chair then the folding chair wins the day. In the end, my backside may well tell me more about the comfort of a chair. My experience with the chair is subjective knowledge.

We find it difficult to strip away the layers of our own cultural embeddedness to see the world in a new way. Our way of seeing youth culture, for example, is expressly connected with ways to make life fun. We are supposed to wait until we are older for our lives to be meaningful. The reason many experience mid-life crises comes when faced with the question, "Does my life have meaning?" When the answer is not clear everything we have ever done comes is called into question. If there is no meaning then why not throw caution to the wind – let’s have some fun.

Divorcing the eschatological realities of the Kingdom of God from our way of seeing the world results in not seeing the world in a new way. Our resulting values and ethics remain largely influenced by the way we always viewed the world. Instead we make superficial adjustments. Richard Foster, in Celebration of Discipline, asserts "superficiality is the curse of our age."

Pointing out some of the further implications of not seeing the world in a new way, Hauerwas and Willimon note,

    The removal of eschatology from ethics may account for the suffocating moralism in our church. Moralism comes up with a list of acceptable virtues and suitable causes, the pursuit of which will gie us self-fulfillment. "The Be Happy Attitudes." Or Christianity is mainly a matter of being tolerant of other people, inclusive, and open – something slightly left of the Democratic party. Being Christian becomes being someone who is a little more open-minded than someone who is not. E. Stanley Jones said that we inoculate the world with a mild form of Christianity so that it will be immune to the real thing. The aim of such inoculation is security – not security in Christ, but security from Christ and from having to rely on him and the shape of his Kingdom to give meaning and significance to our lives.
    Without eschatology, we are left with only a baffling residue of strange commands, which see utterly impractical and ominous. We ignore the commands on divorce and lash out at our people on peace. The ethic of Jesus thus appears to be either utterly impractical or utterly burdensome unless it is set within its proper context – an eschatologcial, messianic community, which knows something the world does not and structures its life accordingly.(Resident Aliens,p.90)

Until we see the world differently, we cannot begin to talk about "worldview."

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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