Stanley Fish…“If we are worried about obsolescence and the loss of relevance, the surest way to court both is to become so attuned to the interests and investments of other enterprises … that we are finally indistinguishable from them. If there is nothing that sets us apart, if there is nothing distinctive about our task or the criteria for accomplishing it, if there is nothing that marks our work as ours and not everyone’s, there will be no particular reason to support us by giving us a room … of our own. We will be … a wholly owned (and disposable) subsidiary of something larger. Distinctiveness is a prerequisite both of our survival and our flourishing. Without it we haven’t got a prayer.”
I recently read this amazing quote by Stanley Fish it puts into words what I could only describe as a gut feeling whenever I am exposed to certain forms of fundamentalism (religious or non-religious).
Learning how to interpret verses like Romans 12:2 or 1 John 2:15-17 (see verses below) with this (Stanley’s) quote in mind opens up all kinds of room for me and some provocative personal questions like…
1. Am I seeking to be “wholly owned” by something other than God in Christ? Like whatever my small group or sphere of influence thinks?
2. Can I enjoy my peers? My denomination without worshiping the idol of “distinctiveness”?
3. Is my end goal to be distinct or to follow God in Christ?
4. Am I laying another foundation other than Christ with my core beliefs or using them to worship God to the best of my ability?
5. How does this thought change the way I see and interact with or in my local church?
What do you guys think?
Romans 12:2 (ESV) 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 John 2:15–17 (ESV) 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.