Foundations 5: Conceptual Toolbox (171)

The Foundations of Flourishing program is designed to assist Christians to recognize and overcome the entrenched dysfunction within evangelical Christianity and to assist non-Christians to decipher and evaluate the accessible, ‘here and now’ value within Christianity.  This dual approach overcomes two related problems that, left unattended, create alienation between (and potentially within) each group.

First, it helps Christians to overcome small-mindedness and fear-based living in order to become well-rounded and fully functional.  It does so by empowering them better to understand and embody their faith through lived experience and extra-biblical information sources.  The serendipitous result is that their beliefs become more biblical while their practices become more credible to outsiders.  Second, it allows non-Christians to reconsider the cultural consensus that Christianity is irrelevant.  It does so by empowering them to engage with Christianity on terms that make sense to them (rather than being told to “believe what Christians believe” in order for Christianity to make sense).  The serendipitous result is that investigating Christianity promotes becoming one’s “best self” through love relationships that are truth-based.

Finally, because this program holds love and truth / truth and love to be co-equal and co-central to both human flourishing and to the character of the Christian God, Foundations of Flourishing is equally open to Christian and non-Christian perspectives (while nevertheless arguing that a particular, functional form of evangelical Christianity maximizes both truth and love in tangible, understandable ways).

In this episode, Gregg discusses how being a faithful Christians means becoming conversant and skillful with concepts: developing “conceptual fluency.”  In other words because understanding is key to both Christian belief and Christian living, how (and how well) we understand life, the Bible, etc. depends on the ideas and concepts that we view to be relevant to such matters and on our willingness and ability to bring them to bear properly.  The result is that our breadth of understanding is limited: one, by the range and nature of concepts that we have at our disposal; two, by where we’ve been taught that they apply; and three, by how (and how well) we have been taught to use them.

So for Christians, growing one’s “toolbox” of concepts—and learning how to use them well and apply them appropriately—is nothing short of essential, to the point that Christian maturity depends upon becoming conversant and skillful with concepts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.