Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shane Hipps (part 2)

To continue the discussion about Shane Hipps: just last week he spoke at an event hosted by Dallas Theological Seminary called "The Electronic Gospel."  The event was streamed online.  Unfortunately, the video streams are no longer publicly available, but the audio can be purchased for download at this link.

During the Q&A, Hipps brought an interesting perspective to the "war" that is brewing within the so-called emerging/emergent church movement.  From the outset, many evangelicals have derided people like Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, and Rob Bell as heretics, but within the past few years, some pastors who originally associated themselves with the term "emerging church" have vociferously attacked the likes of McLaren and Pagitt.  (More on the emerging church "civil war" soon.)

Anyway, Hipps, who is now clearly cast on one side of the aforementioned "war", asserted that he doesn't see the problem as a theological one; rather, he believes the root of the problem is one of brain hemispheric difference - that is, a left-brained view of theology versus a right-brained view.  He said this as an answer to a question about the question of "heresy":

"The category called 'orthodoxy' only exists in the left hemisphere of the brain. The category of 'saved' and 'unsaved' only exists in the left hemisphere of the brain. ... The right hemisphere has no category called 'heretic'; it is purely an immersive, experiential way of being in relationship with the divine and it scares the left hemisphere tremendously."

As a very left-brained person, I agree with his conclusions: heresy is real to me, McLaren is often on the wrong side of the line (in my opinion), and the idea of doing theology in a purely "immersive" way scares me tremendously.  However, I thought that his analysis of a theological divide by looking at it in terms of brain hemispheres was intriguing.  Is the "civil war" in the emerging church a matter of left-brains versus right-brains?  Hmmm...

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