Monday, February 24, 2014

A Novel Approach

As you are no doubt aware, the title for this blog site is "Knowing: A Novel Approach." That is more than a cute, double-meaning title. That title is not primarily for marketing, branding, or tickling the ear. It simply represents a profound truth regarding how we (as humans) basically know stuff.

A friend of mine reminded me this afternoon of some words of Paul G. Hiebert. Dr. Hiebert was a remarkable man. He was distinguished professor of mission and anthropology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He also had pastored a church. Plus he had been a missionary to India. His writings are a tremendous gift to those of us still living this side of the Jordan. But more than all that, he was a humble man who believed in and lived in The Story.

On page sixty-six of Dr. Hiebert's book, Transforming Worldviews, he writes, "Narrative knowing is different from critical, analytical knowledge. Rational analysis is based on hard, objective evidence and logical, discursive analysis and creates abstractions from concrete reality. Stories, on the other hand, are based on both imaginative and rational analysis and deal with complexities of human experience that cannot be probed by the rational mind alone; they include contradictions, compromise, conflict, and crisis. They affirm that narrative knowing is real knowledge involving real truth and falsehood. Rational analysis focuses on cognitive knowing, but rationality unchecked by virtue and beauty leads to ugliness and evil. Narratives combine rationality and imagination and the cognitive, affective, and evaluative dimensions of life in a single whole." [Pause for this to sink in.] "...rationality unchecked by virtue and beauty leads to ugliness and evil." Thank you Dr. Hiebert. We might paraphrase and expand that by saying that truth (naked truth) devoid of the beauty of a truly loving relationship is not a pleasant thing. Jesus said, "I am the Truth." But he incarnated the truth that he was/is in love and in life. He demonstrated it in non-propositional embodiment.

Knowing. It really is a novel approach.

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