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Why does Shofar only seem to get strong criticism?

March 1st, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 1 Comment

Pretty simple really. The only people that have the guts to say something and be vocal about it, are those that have enough drive to do so. Typically, those that have been hurt, directly or indirectly. The result is usually strong emotional responses, or those with a really strong opinion. Such responses tend to fall on deaf ears, there is too great a disparity.

If you want change, if you want improvement, you need more of a continuum, less of a polarised stand-off. You need open discussion. Many other Christians on Stellenbosch find they cannot talk to Shofarians about Christian matters. (No scientific study for this claim, rather just comments from Christian friends of mine, and personal experience and intuition.) Or they are unaware of the problematic elements, and have no comments to make. Or they simply don’t know how to help, what to say.

I’m no moderate. I’m a liberal. (And Jesus was a liberal Jew.) I’ve been trying to tone down my rhetoric and emotions to the point where I can sensibly and effectively communicate, but that isn’t working well when it comes to self-preservation. While I still refuse to play hardball, believing it is completely ineffective, it is likely inevitable that I will start batting harder here. Or rather, I’m probably going to stop suppressing thoughts and ideas that typically make fundamentalists run for cover. If you care to follow, feel free to do so. If you’re a fundamentalist that is happy with your current life, and too scared of ideas that might shake your foundations, too scared of being reborn yet again, maybe you want to stop reading. Try some Brian McLaren or Rob Bell instead. They’re doing great work, writing great books, I don’t think it is an efficient use of my time to try to follow in their footsteps. I need to follow my own path.

And I need to get my “Shofar-contribution” over with, so that I can move on. Staying “involved” for too long is not going to be healthy for me. Hopefully someone else can take over when I run out of steam.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Hugo // Mar 1, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Here is the draft post that I wrote last night. I couldn’t decide whether to post it or not, so I ended up writing a new one. (The post above.) Now this one is being published as a comment anyway. Between the two, you might understand some more of my sentiments.

    Torn and Dangerous (aka Dear Shofar)

    Another night of struggling to sleep. (Getting up and blogging isn’t the best thing in such circumstances. Oh well.)

    In between pondering my personal problems and the problems of the world, the problems in my neighbourhood, the problems in economics, religion, society’s values, and a whole host of other things, I conclude I’m spreading myself and my thoughts too thinly. I’m torn between conflicting interests. I need to focus on one task at a time, give it my best shot, and move on. This means hand-holding is unfortunately out of the question. People do need to take some responsibility for their own actions and viewpoints, even if it is very hard, even if they are a victim of circumstances and are not solely to blame for the place (metaphor) they find themselves in. For self-preservation purposes, you can’t help everyone.

    So, first things first then. As far as this blog is concerned, one thing on the to-do list is to try my best to make a positive contribution to some of the issues facing Shofar and Shofarians. As with every human institution, there are a number of issues of concern. No institution is perfect. I don’t mean to single out Shofar. However, there is such a huge disparity in language use and worldviews, that I cannot sensibly try to use one blog to communicate to scientifically minded freethinkers and Shofarians at the same time. In a world of insane exclusivity and lack of cross-cultural understanding, I’m becoming convinced that an attempt to do so only leads to unnecessary confusion, and ultimately to isolation of the rogue bridge builder. This necessitates a temporary focus that you may unfortunately experience as a “singling out”. I’m going to bite the bullet and lay out my concerns as best I can, likely over the next few months. Once that is done, I’m going to move on and not look back, knowing I’ve given it a good shot.

    I do feel very strongly about tackling things constructively. (Destructive approaches to problems run the risk of hurting more than they help. I believe this includes the likes of Dawkins’ The God Delusion, but I can only fully enter into that conversation when I’m no longer torn between two disparate languages.) Like I said, I will try my best, but I’m going to have to ask you (Shofarians) to meet me half-way. I can only reach so far. My concerns are many, and they do lie deep. I will still try to take it slowly, but you will have to forgive me if my commentary comes across as too much or too strong. There may be a limit to how slowly I can take it. I need to get it behind me. I’m hoping I can lay some foundations in the ecumenical conversation, and that someone else can take it from there.

    Yes, ecumenical. I know many of you love having an exclusive little clique, but that kind of thing is deadly. That is not what Christianity is about. It is not what Jesus taught. We need global cooperation if we’re going to make much of a difference. There is so much work to be done, so much hurt, so much poverty, so much destruction, that petty infighting between human tribes needs to stop. There is a kingdom to build, a better future to embrace. Can we cooperate? The kingdom of God is within you (eg Luke 17 verse 20), where have you been looking? What have you been waiting for?

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