The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

Believing the right things (how much is enough?) versus Loving the right things (which ones?)*

In Hipps current book I'm reading, Flickering Pixels, he talks about the binary categories emphasized through print culture and the holism that is rising through visual culture. He points out that this has implications for the way think conceive of our faith. With this shift, we're beginning to think differently about how salvation works out. Instead of the off/on categories of being unsaved and saved and placing people in one column of the "ledger" as Hipps says, we're beginning to think of it more like a process or continuum.

"Of course it's a process," many people would say. "That's called sanctification!"

Again with our binary systems.

I, personally, find the continuum analogy much more useful. In my mind, this shift from binary to continuum-based thinking about salvation parallels another way I've been thinking about faith. The binary system emphasizes belief and truth. Once you get your doctrine right and your beliefs in order, you change columns. Boom! Saved. In that system it's primarily about Truth and knowing it.

Parallel to the continuum-based thinking is an emphasis on relationship and love. Now this is something that has begun to creep in to conservative theology. The "it's not about religion but relationship" is a beachhead of postmodern faith in the modern mind.

Unlike truth, love isn't a right-and-wrong dichotomy. It's just better or worse, but it's still love. There certainly is a love/don't love dichotomy, but that's much easier to define in the context of faith than trying to figure out, "Okay, how much truth is enough? How much do I need to know to be saved?"

Whereas emphasizing knowledge and belief to be saved becomes a "how much" question, it's not that way with love. Love, strong or weak, is love. Somehow it feels foolish to ask, "Do I love Jesus enough?"

In the end, of course, we need both, but somehow love makes more sense in the head. Funny how the heart does that.

* These are ideas in process and not final theological statements. And they are not completely orthodox or even clearly articulated, so please be discerning. Much love.