Sunday, June 19, 2011

Revising Christian Language @christianaudio @caReviewers @FrankViola @TBBMediaGroup @audrajennings

There has been a lot of talk in Protestant Christianity lately about continued reformation. And many people and sects of course argue that they are being true to the apostolic church (assuming there was a monolithic idea of such an organization). The more progressive people often attack the conservative evangelicals on being too narrow with their definition of the Gospel. In contrast, fundamentalists criticize liberals as being unbiblical and therefore heretical.

Frank Viola recently released his newest book, Revise Us Again, exploring ideas of what a modern revision of the Church would look like. While no one book can really tackle all of the ways we need to be continually reformed, Viola does a nice job of not really getting into the endless debated details. Not that those issues are not important.

However, as a psychologist, I have come to value the role of the process of communication. Content is was is being said, while process refers to not just how things are being said, but the emotional aspects involved in the conversation. Usually, the process is really what is at stake when there is conflict, not the content itself.

Viola spends more time examining the process of current Christian dialogue. He nicely notes that people have different communication styles that either allow two sides to communicate effectively or to not understand one another at all. The goal, of course, would be to notice one's own style and that of the person with whom they are communicating and then attempt to adjust the style in order to effectively engage one another.

Some of the problem I see is that what he simply calls communication styles are more than just a style. I think they actually reflect paradigms or world views that are expressed in different language. I'm planning on writing another blog post specifically exploring these points in his book. Nevertheless, I found the three styles he presented (charismatic, quoter, and pragmatist) quite compelling and accurate depictions of how various groups communicate.

Ultimately, Viola does a good job of providing logical and biblical evidence for a reasonable faith, both in doctrine and practice. While at times simplistic, it is also written in a way that makes it accessible to a very wide audience.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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