06 March 2008

Borgmann Consultation: Sessions 3, 4, 5

Three sessions, each introduced by a person. One session on pastoring a suburban congregation; a second on community; a third on friendship. Highlights:

Notion of pastor as technology so that people don't have to deal with the dirty work of ministry; pastor as ministry outsourced.

AB: glad to hear other people telling the same stories he tells his students. Now they don't need to think he's quite as lunatic.

Interesting that good stewardship can break down community -- live near to work, so live close to work since one drives there five days a week, but live far from church since drive there only once.

Parable of lost sheep is not just about seeking one lost individual, it is about bringing that individual back into community. "I am uncomfortable using the word 'community' for anything that happens online."

AB: "cult of counter-example" elaboration -- start with intuition, but then temper and test. And what social sciences can teach us, anecdotes are misleading. Must ask what is typical. Analysis is a careful phenomenology. Another peril is to speak only in the abstract -- so you can say that a person could lie in physical community by, say, removing their wedding band, but the typical case is that this does not happen -- need to be descriptive, not normative. Think concretely, not abstractly.

AB (on what traits are most important for people to have): "Generosity comes first, then sense of humor, then intelligence. Nonetheless, it's (intelligence's) helpful in philosophy."

The whole discussion on friendship was way too involved, and it's way too late to summarize now. Basically it involved getting the church to think about friendship as integral to church life -- a robust ethical friendship, not the cheap loose friendship as we think of it; the friendship from which the term koininia originally sprung. Question: how does friendship relate to agape? AB: friendship requires equality, devotion to others' moral improvement, sharing a common good, and finding pleasure in the other's company. Agape does not require mutuality. Someday the poor will no longer be with us (hopefully). At that point, Agape will be irrelevant and friendship will be key.

No comments: