Sunday, April 03, 2005

Physics, Pre-Modern Perspective, and Healthy Churches

I have been told that before Modernity, people did not necessarily see things the same way. With this, I do not struggle. As to how they saw things, I have not first-hand understanding so what I am about to confer is speculation upon second-hand information.

I have been told that before Modernity, people saw life not as a Subject and a Direct Object (as we do mainly here in the U.S.), but rather as two objects PLUS their relationship. This makes three points (vs. the current 1 and 1/2 points). Whether the relationship was "heavier" than the subjects, I do not know. I would speculate that, from out point of view, the relationship will always be seen as heavier since we do not see one at all.

As I read H.G. Gadamer's "Truth and Method" (2nd, translated edition), I came across some interesting ideas related to this. On p.249 he states, "What Husserl means, however, is that we cannot conceive of subjectivity as the opposite of objectivity, because this concept of subjectivity would itself be conceived in objective terms. Instead, . . . the relation is the primary thing, and the 'poles' into which it unfolds itself are contained within it, . . ." I love that part. Now to Physics.

"Two perpendicular forces have no impact on each other," Physics 105 ("Physics for Poets" or "Physics for Non-Majors" - Arizona State Univ.). In a vacuum, a ball rolled off a table at 60 m.p.h. and an identical ball dropped from the same table at the same time, will strike the ground at the same time. The downward force (gravity) will pull both balls down at the same RATE. The horizontal force (whatever shot the one ball @ 60 m.p.h.) does not change this. One ball falls straight down, the other at a quite flattened arc. But they will both hit the ground AT THE SAME TIME!!
In graphing terms, y = y + 1 ever second and x = 2. No matter how fast y = y +1 (ever second, every year, every nanosecond), x will still = 2. The rate of "y" does not change "x = 2." Any "force" applied to "y" does not impact x=2.

Synthesis: often two "ideas" are considered polar opposites when in fact they are quite perpendicular to each other. "Objectivity" is not the OPPOSITE of "Subjectivity." Seeing it through the quote above, Objectivity is the observation about the poles (left / right, black / white, -10 / +10, etc.) while subjectivity is the relationship between the poles. Example, "small" groups and "large" groups (or cell-ministry and Sunday morning 'service'), relational and programmatic ministries, etc. Are these opposites? On some scales, yes. In daily living, don't have to be!

What if these "opposites" are not really opposites but perpendicular?!? Perhaps this is part of the problem with "light" - is it a wave or a particle? Perhaps what we call "light" is the relationship between the wave and the particle, "wave" and "particle" no longer being opposites but perpendicular. [Or maybe we just need a new metaphor!]

Does a church have to Program Driven vs. Purpose Driven vs. Cell Driven vs. Family Driven vs. Action Driven? Does it have to be Evangelism or Discipleship?

Does it have to be loving God OR loving people? Of course not. Even God says, "If you love me you'll love people." But we don't like that - it's too messy of a phrase. How does one measure?!?

Measure. Is this what drives us? If it's not measurable, then how do we know if we are doing it (or doing it well)? Physicists know that they can EITHER determine a sub-atomic particles direction OR its velocity, but never both. For in measuring one aspect, they alter the other.

A leeson to be learned with people also? Has our need to measure driven us into less-than-human churches? If we always called light a wave, we'd never observe the particle-ness of light; itt wouldn't be a complete picture. If we only measure people "objectively" - do we miss the whole picture of being human (much less a human quickened by the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead and brings life, energy, to this mortal body!?!)?

1 comment:

BAB said...

I think you're onto something. I have often been troubled by false dichotomies such as either evangelism or discipleship.

Do you think it's just laziness? Is it just too hard to keep things in balance?