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7 Responses to “Speaking in Tongues”

  1. Tommy B says:

    Once you apply biblical principles to your life, is that not hands-on? Don’t we, as Christians, have to put what we understand in action?
    So it seems the language we need to speak is solely the premodern language? If so, how are exiles and non-Christians (for lack of a better term) going to understand that language, since they don’t believe in a sacred canopy?
    When you say exiles think culture, then Christianity, do you mean they prefer to look at ‘top’ institutions (in America and probably elsewhere) to define reality instead of Christianity/the church?
    Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and direct conversations.

  2. Bob Moffitt says:

    Interesting. My observation is not that the exiles are exiles because of a confusion of languages. Rather, it is a confusion born of non-congruence between professed belief and action.

  3. Mike Metzger says:

    Hi Tommy:

    Good questions. And so many! Let’s start at the top. The Bible never speaks of “principles.” That’s an Enlightenment idea. The Bible never speaks of “applying” knowledge. That’s an Enlightenment idea. Knowledge, as scripture defines it, is hands on. It starts by applying yourself to a problem and learning as you go.

    As for language, the church would benefit from becoming bilingual. We ought to have our peculiar language, drawn from scripture, that rightly defines reality. As you can see from the paragraph above, that’s not a given in contemporary evangelicalism. Second, we need to speak the language of the street. Not ape it. Becoming bilingual doesn’t mean going native.

    As for your third question, yes, exiles think culture, then Christianity. This doesn’t mean culture gets it right all the time, but exiles sense their colleagues at work (or something they hear on NPR) is often closer to seeing reality than the modern, Western church. it causes them to grieve, since they trust scripture is right and reliable. They are left with wondering whether their particular faith tradition rightly understands the way reality actually works (again, look at the first paragraph and how you defined “apply”).

    Bob: Yes. Exiles sense an incongruence between how their faith community defines reality and the way much of reality actually works. Then they feel the same angst when they go to work – that their workplace doesn’t understand reality very well either. As James Hunter says in his book “To Change the World”: reality in the late modern world is a problem.

  4. merrill says:

    Wow, you are right on about the different languages being spoken. I feel like some of your conclusions seem to be the least likely conclusion you could possibly draw from the exile situation.

    For example – these exiles – you seem to be saying that they are “above” the church in the sense that they listen to NPR and so they “know” reality better than the church does — so that’s why they leave? All of them do that? I would think that out of all the people who have left the church, maybe 10% have done so for this reason. Most people leave *a* church and go to another for the reason you cite. The ones who leave *the* church and don’t come back are more likely leaving because the call of the culture is stronger than the call of the church from their perspective. It might be the church’s problem or it might be theirs, but they are responding to the call of the world. I recall Jesus talking about this in the parable of the sower, and elsewhere. Oh yeah, and didn’t Paul talk about “conforming to this world” in Rom 12:2?

    Finally, I completely agree that God wants hands-on knowledge, but isn’t the quote you reference with the word “knew” completely out of context? I mean, this is the KJV translation of the phrase “had sex with.” (Gen 4:1)

  5. Mike Metzger says:

    Merrill: That’s why sex outside of marriage was once considered “carnal knowledge.”

  6. Matt says:

    As an ‘exile’ I can say that I have left consistent active participation in local churches because when I talk about the intersection between what I read in Scripture, hear in prayer, and observe in the world, the church usually doesn’t see what I’m seeing or just doesn’t have room for it.

    I’ve simply had to move around outside of church in order to fill my role in the Church- a concept that I have found doesn’t translate well.

  7. Bob Robinson says:

    Mike,
    I’d like to hear your thoughts on the viral video “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus” by Jefferson Bethke. I think he is voicing the frustration of the Exile, but has a strange way of resolving the tension.

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