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August 06, 2011


tripp fuller

i do have an inappropriate love for john cobb. i wonder if the labels are worth engaging because of the people in many pews, in schools, at camps, in book stores, etc that the labels represent. working a label seems dirty and brandish but there seems to be some pluses to working a label if it expands the platform of non-shitty christianity.

tripp fuller

ohhh lexical peek-a-boo is one sweet title!


Curiously enough, this is a lesson in definition that happens at some point in almost every Intro to Philosophy class. Instructor has students attempt to define 'chair' or 'table' or some other seemingly simple term, lets them fail miserably, and then glosses over his own inability to give an adequate set of necessary and sufficient conditions before moving on to some other topic of the Euthyphro. The real lesson of that lesson is not that we don't know what tables are since we have pretty good evidence of our ability both to identify and properly use tables. Rather, it is that precise academic definitions are pretty much good only for precise academic discussions. When discussing real people and problems, such definitions are not much use, and when the terms have been co-opted by competing or even parallel groups for different purposes, using such terms can be seen as naively unhelpful at best or cynically dissembling at worst. My general practice is to assume something closer to the former in discussions like these and try to do away with the terms completely except as placeholders for groups to be better-defined later in the discussion should the need arise. Unfortunately such charitable assumptions would be completely unwarranted when the terms are used by political or economic agents in public arenas as diverse as politics, business, and ecclesiology (as in the business of). In such cases, the thing to do is save your breath for someone interested in anything other than her own agenda.

Greg Horton

Tripp, I've always believed that, and that's why my initial disgruntlement with Emergent had to do with them ass-fucking the lovely label emergent. They are whores who should be publicly flogged. Mr. Cheek, I wish I had your brain. Really, I do. I just don't want to be as nice as you.


Like Cheek, I don't like wasting much time on these definition games. This is mostly because I refuse to donate free labor to the marketing departments of organizations I don't actually belong to, and for the life of me I can't see any other purpose to these kinds of discussions. If evangelicals or Emergent or whoever wants to help house the poor and make sure elderly people don't lack for meals and work with international organizations to help broker lasting peace in conflicted regions, I'll gladly work alongside them. But these redefinition games help precious few people, apart from accountants.

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