Tag Archives: experience

5: When Your One Star Experience is Five Stars for Someone Else

Returning to part of our discussion in Episode #3, we delve deeper into John’s question about why people’s experiences differ.  Specifically, while John and Gregg have been mostly negative about Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, the vast majority of Amazon reviewers have given it 5 stars (the highest review possible). How can so many people consider the book to be so good, yet we don’t?

In response we explore how our interpretation of our experiences of the world and God affect the conclusions we come to.  John wonders if religious communities allow us to have our own experience of God or if instead they try tell us how we to should feel or react to God.

Gregg explains how some painful past experiences contributed to his conclusions about God (and particularly, God’s justice).  He also notes how new experiences can expand these conclusions, but only when our goal is an honest attachment to truth (and not a need to preserve a certain self-identity).

Likewise, we discuss how to assess the difference between positive and negative responses to Not a Fan.  First, by vetting Kyle Idleman’s use of the Bible (his exegesis).  Second, by questioning readers about how their relationship with God is better after having read the book, and doing so in part by asking what truth value they have attributed to the Bible’s truth claims, and why.  We’ll be discussing what truth values and truth claims are in a future episode.

We conclude with a discussion of the value of testimony and the distinction between knowing about God (factual knowledge) versus knowing God through relationships (relational knowledge), and how these last two are reciprocal.

3: Ways We Read the Bible

In this podcast John and I discuss how the Bible can be read from a devotional perspective and from an academic perspective, and that both have advantages and disadvantages.  This led into a discussion of how he and I should reconcile the fact that we have taken a dimmer view of Kyle Idleman’s Not a Fan than other readers.

How can so many people have found the book transformative yet we found it problematic on many levels?

My view was that, while our experiences are valuable and informative, we need to examine how we interpret those experiences and the conclusions that we draw from them.  Further, where this transformation is based on biblical understandings we need to gauge the validity of these understandings against the biblical text.

2: Prologue | Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman

This episode kicks of our in-depth discussion of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman.  We start in the Prologue and begin discussing Idleman’s core message–question of whether your are a “Fan” or “Follower” of God.  Neither of us is convinced that these are the best categories.  We also discuss Idleman’s loose handling and use of the “Feeding of the 5,000” to make a point.

John raises an issue that seems to be missing or presupposed in not a fan which is why someone should or would want to be a follower of God.  Looking ahead to chapter one, Idleman appears to be leading in the direction of suggesting that the issue of fan vs. follower is critical towards determining where a person will spend eternity.

We look at this a little deeper and question whether this doesn’t cheapen the whole meaning of love and being in relation with God–the idea that people will simply chose the “right” answer of “being a follower” because they want to go to heaven.  Is that really the only and best relationship to be in relationship with God?

Gregg talks about being overwhelmed by God’s love and that being in love is what makes him a follower, not where he is going to spend eternity or duty.  He also talks about how when we are in love we respond in different ways and are transformed–we like the people we become.  We don’t love God for naught–that isn’t a love relationship.

We also start to talk about the notion of “experience” and what that means and how it plays out in what we believe.

And there’s more too, so listen to the episode and tell us what you think.