What Questions are We Asking Today?

By Gary Shavey at the Resurgence

ht: The Resurgence

As I continue to read the array of emerging and/or emergent information that seems to be floating around in web space, I have come across a couple of thoughts. These thoughts have to do with some basic philosophy (mind you I do not hold a Ph.D. in philosophy so this would be very elementary). In philosophy we have two categories of questions. The “first-order questions” which have to deal with the “is” or state of the world, how things happen in the world or what should we do or find in the world. Then the other category are the “second-order questions” which are basically the questions on how we got to an answer for the first-order questions or how we tell our thoughts or answers in today’s language. Again from my limited understanding of philosophy it seems that philosophers today have focused more on the second-order questions of how our thoughts are expressed in language.

This all seems so interesting to me because most of these second-order questions have bled into the post-modern ways in which we are trying to do church or preach the gospel today. There seems to be a lot of talk on the second-order questions which really only interest people that are asking the second-order questions. Usually this means people that actually study philosophy or people that are trying to be overly intellectual. But what I see in the church and outside the church with people living in time and space are people asking more first-order questions. People are asking about their plight in life, about what the world is really about and what should we do in this life. Here the church has to respond in first-order answers but it seems to me that a lot of the “dialogue” (predominately heard in the more emergent church) comes back in second-order answers.

My question for those who would like to respond is, do you see in your missional life more first-order or second-order questions from believers to non-believers?

1 thought on “What Questions are We Asking Today?”

  1. Great quote from the comment.But all that to say – the dialogue is fun and the mind is important, but people need God…to love him with heart, soul, mind and strength. To be both think and weep, ponder and have guilt relieved. Our full being exploded and captured by mercy and grace in the old old story. It is, afterall, to quote McLaren, the story we find ourselves in. I just want to ask him to quit editing our story, redacting it with the whorish ideas of spirit of the age.

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