Monday, November 29, 2010

do even centered sets have "issues"?

1)From an abstract of a paper by Ryan McAnally-Linz: “The Problem of the Contested Center”:

....Centered-set ecclesiology does not, however, come without its own complications.
 Chief among these is what I term‘the problem of the contested center’. Put simply,
 the center toward which a community orients itself has to have some
 content in order to be meaningful, and community members may well agree on
 the name of the center (e.g., ‘Jesus’)  while disagreeing about its content. For
 centered-set Christian communities, this problem is inescapable. Because such
 communities claim to be oriented toward a person, and because persons are
 inherently mysterious, the center of those
 communities always remains in some sense surprising and unpredictable. 
Moreover, because humans are finite, our knowledge (even our knowledge of Jesus) 
is always finite, making incompleteness and error in our understanding inevitable.
In response to the problem of the contested center, I offer several counsels for
 churches that think in the terms of 
centered-set ecclesiology. First, the task of wrestling with the problem is an
 ongoing process of discernment, not a simple matter of logical deduction.
 Second, centered-set communities must seek to foster truthfulness as a way
 of life in order to mitigate the problems that arise from self-ignorance and
 self-deception in the pursuit of the common center. Third, this process of 
discernment should be a community process in which a prima facie
 commitment to remain in community in spite of disagreement is the rule.
 Fourth and finally, the community
 discernment process should return repeatedly to the foundational stories
 of its faith because Scripture is the
 most reliable witness we have to the character of the person who we
 want to make the center of our life together.

2)Related: centered-set reductionism discussed by  Jonathan Leeman here.

3)Also: Does Los Angeles have
 a center?
Read this


4)One more: centered sets with moving center

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