March 11, 2008

Experience and Authority in the Garden of Good and Evil

"Experience" is what grows by itself in the garden. "Authority" is what happens when the gardeners wants to affirm the goodness of the genuine flowers and vegetables by uprooting the weeds in order to let beauty and and fruitfulness triumph over chaos, thorns and thistles. An over-authoritarian church, paying no attention to experience, solves the problem by paving the garden with concrete. An over-experiential church solves the (real or imagined) problem of concrete (rigid and "judgmental" forms of faith) by letting anything and everything grow unchecked, sometimes labeling concrete as "law" and so celebrating any and every weed as "grace."
N.T. Wright in The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture.

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