Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Holy: Understanding it Better According to Roles

I have been asked two important questions about my work on the definition of holy among others:   1) Who is your audience?  and 2) What is your level of authority or initiative in writing on this topic?   (The latter question is often more implied than stated due to my level of education which is not on the level of a Ph.D. or what is described as the terminal (final) degree.)  Let me answer the first one with "everyone".  Let me answer the second question with the response that "I know my limits or level or degree".  Now I will explain them in the same order. 

First, then is the issue of audience.  Usually when this question is asked, it is asked with 3 possible alternatives: 1) scholars, 2) pastors, and 3) laypeople (laity).  The first is seen as the highest and the third as lowest in terms of having an understanding of written materials through education on the meaning of holy.  There is, I think, an important misunderstanding in the alternatives offered. These alternatives see the whole process of becoming a disciple along one only one directional, while I see it as having two directionals. 

In the diagram above (if it is too small just left click on it for a larger scale), you can see my view in picture form.  It is drawn mainly from the deep and refreshing well of one of my professors at Bethel University (then College), Dr. Donald N. Larson.  He was an important pioneer in trying to develop language schools that would recognize the understanding of languages (and other topics as well) as having two distinct directionals.  He was involved with the Toronto Institute of Linguistics and with other language institutes including one in the Phillipines.  I was very pleased recently to learn that his view and Dr. Wiliiam A. Smalley's view on learning a second language is still being used in a French language learning school for missionaries that is found in France.  Their view was made practical through the Language Acquistion Made Practical (LAMP) text and method of Brewster and Brewster.

These two directionals are significant, because of what Larson and Smalley learned from the study of the success of language teaching programs for missionaries to foreign lands.  Those studies of success point to the primacy of the vertical knower-learner directional over the horizontal teacher-studier (student) directional.  This should make sense to all of us, who have had the opportunity to learn a language from our parents, because in most cases they lacked the formal training for being a teacher.  They were often skilled knowers, who filled our learning minds and mouths with sensible speech.   On the flipside, I can also point to the failure of a teacher-studier directional in junior high.  Our teacher, who taught our class of students French skillfully, failed when she got to France in trying to speak French as the knowers of French do.   What a disappointment this was for her as she expressed in class! 

Now at this point, I need to make a corrective, so that you and I don't run around proclaiming that people only need the knower-learner directional to become a disciple.  No, and again I say no.  Dr. Larson believed that the ideal (and the most successful) is both directionals together.  Being a learner-knower and a studier-teacher is better than only knower-learner, even if that is better than only teacher-studier.  In fact, I would take it a step further and say that both are necessary, if we want to declare ourselves to be disciples.  A real disciple is both a learner and a studier (student).  I will end this discussion here to move on to the next question, but also I could say a lot more on this point to clarify it more and to answer questions you might have.  If you do, feel free to post a question to me below. 

Now from this understanding, lets talk about my intended audience.  These two directionals is part of my reason for why I think my writing goes beyond being classified as narrowly as only for the scholar and the pastor and that it leaves out the layperson.  Sometimes I am speaking directly to what the layperson has learned beautifully.  They are after all, are still disciples and while they may not have reached a terminal degree as a studier and teacher, they certainly can be very advanced as knowers.  Sometimes too I have also met great studiers among laypeople, who have relied on the books of teachers and who have been able to build on the teaching principles that they received in their younger years.  The beauty of all of this self-study is mainly seen in the results of their work and the keen insights they deliver. 

So while each entry can't be for "everybody" everytime, it does mean that among these entries are entries for many classes of people.  It is also true that I am not trying to make this blog into the writing of a dissertation for seminary, though that is something I am working on for my teachers.  Here I leave out the terminology, but that does not mean I don't know the terminology.  It is just that I am aiming for a wider audience. 

Scholars though can certainly fire off questions to me and I can try to answer them to the best of my educational ability in their terms!   While I was at Fuller Seminary I learned this difference from experience.  I wrote what I thought was a very good paper for a class, but I received only a "C".  I didn't understand, so I sat down the the Teaching Assistant for the class.   He told me that I hadn't used the professors terminology frequently enough to show I had grasped the material.  I went back to my dorm and re-wrote the whole thing, doing just one thing.  I practiced inserting the professor's terminology where it belonged and I got an "A".  So to this day I possess two versions of the paper.  This blog is more like the "C" kind, though I can quickly edit it to be an "A" paper, if called upon.  The real proof will be in my paper that I am writing for my S.T.M. on my way toward a Ph.D.

[major break for the second question]

Second then is who can a person trust.  Let me start out by saying that one of the best indications is in the quality of recognizing one's limitations.  But there is even more than that to tell us who is trustworthy. 

Trust is built on being trustworthy and I would summarize the way of building trust, and its close cousin of influence, as being by 4 processes: 1)ethical intelligence , 2)relational intelligence, 3)wisdom intelligence and 4)logical intelligence.    It takes character and competence to build trust. 

Purpose: That everyone knows what I am recommending to them as a course of action on the meaning of holy in the Bible. 

If you are a leader, I recommend that

If you are a missionary of any kind, I recommend that

If you are a pastor, I recommend that

If you are a preacher, I recommend that

If you are a teacher, I recommend that

If you are a board member, I recommend that

If you are a layperson, I recommend that 

Conclusion: That my audience is diverse and so I have different recommendations (not declarations) for each of them as described in this blog entry.  Also certain blog entries will make more sense to different members of my audience. 

[I have thrown out my original plan and this is my outline for a new course for this entry.  Please stop back to see its completion. ]