Amahoro: modernity fights back
I came across this critique of the Amahoro gathering, parts of which I attended last week. I was going to say that it was an “interesting” critique, and then realised that I hadn’t found it interesting at all, but too much bother to read. Posting extracts of some of the things that were said at Amahoro, and interspersing them with incomprehensible comments is not an interesting critique; it’s dead boring.
Chris Rosebrough gallantly devoted 2h40min on his program Fighting for the Faith on Pirate Christian Radio critiqing and comparing the teachings given at the Amahoro conference, to what Maitreya has supposedly channeled through Benjamin Cr�me. Many thanks to him for his service to the Body of Christ.
I don’t know of any Dutch Reformed theologian in South Africa that will have the backbone to think this through, let alone rebuke our young emerging enthusiasts or warning the flock. The sheep will simply have to spread Chris’s warning themselves and then preach repentance and the forgiveness of sin in the name of Jesus Christ.
And then there’s another post on Amahoro in the same blog:
Opening Address at The Gathering: South Africa
Gathering from (8-15 June, 2009) – Posted by Claude Nikondeha on June 08, 2009 at 2:59 PM
[Bold Emphasis and notes in green added by DTW]
We are, many of us, on a trajectory of transformation in our communities and countries. [Trajectory, a rocket of sorts. Transformation is progressing at the speed of a rocket] We are working for something more than the salvation of the soul, [Really????] we are investing in the restoration of all things. [Creating the ‘Kingdom of the False Christ on earth’, sorry I mean ‘Kingdom of God on earth’]. All things – creation in its entirety, all things created in Heaven and on Earth – are being restored, reconciled, transformed into God’s dream for His world. [God is in all, all is in God – through Christ consciousness we, the entire world will become gods]
The “green” bits look blue to me, but that’s a minor quibble.
I wasn’t there for that particular address, but the comments on the post have some detailed criticism from Roger (Saner?), which I couldn’t improve on. I will note, however, <Language pedant mode>that a “trajectory” is not a rocket of any sort, but the path taken by a rocket or a projectile (which may be a bullet, a thrown stone etc). It is usually a parabolic arc — it goes up, then it reaches a peak, and it comes down again. You can have a steep trajectory or a flat one, but not a speedy one. I’m not sure that it is the best image to use in conjunction with transformation — it suggests that transformation will eventually lose momentum and come back to earth with a bump</language pedant mode>.
What makes the critique so boring is that it reflects the very worst of modernity.
John Ralston Saul, in his book Voltaire’s bastards: the dictatorship of reason in the West, writes:
The Inquisitors were the first to formalize the idea that to every question there is a right answer. The answer is known but the question must be asked and correctly answered. Relativism, humanism, commonsense and moral beliefs were all irrelevant to this process because they assume doubt. Since the Inquisitors knew the answer, doubt was impossible. Process, however, was essential for efficient governance and process required that questions be asked in order to produce the correct answer.
The writer of the critique on Claude Nikondeha’s paper seems to have a similar attitude. Because there is a right answer to every question, and the answers are known, there is no need to explain “where he is coming from”. Anyone who disagrees with him/her is ipso facto a heretic. And of course if he/she did say where he/she was coming from, and stated his/her unstated assumptions, he/she might reveal himself/herself as a heretic.
And it is this kind of oracular authority that represents the worst that modernity has to offer. Read the tale of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s The brothers Karamazov to see where this kind of thinking can lead to.
Another interesting thought: Can university subjects reveal terrorists in the making? – opinion – 15 June 2009 – New Scientist:
We reckon that something else is going on, something at the individual level, that is, relating to cognitive traits. According to polling data, engineering professors in the US are seven times as likely to be right-wing and religious as other academics, and similar biases apply to students. In 16 other countries we investigated, engineers seem to be no more right-wing or religious than the rest of the population, but the number of engineers combining both traits is unusually high. A lot of piecemeal evidence suggests that characteristics such as greater intolerance of ambiguity, a belief that society can be made to work like clockwork, and dislike of democratic politics which involves compromise, are more common among engineers (Hat-tip to Nouslife: Figures … profiling potential terrorists.)
Some years ago, when I was training people for self-supporting ministry in Zululand, several occupations were represented among the trainees. And it was an engineer who found the transition to studying theology the most difficult. His previous studies had been in exact science, and theology (like the humanities) is a very inexact science. His engineering training had led to an intolerence of ambiguity. Theology’s “but on the other hand” gave him the willies.
Modernity gave us many of the wonders of engineering and technology, but these things do have a down side, and postmodernity is perhaps the recognition of that.
As an Orthodox Christian I don’t agree with a number of theological views expressed or held by people who spoke at Amahoro. I didn’t go there expecting to agree with them, nor did I go there in order to disagree with them, though I’m quite happy to discuss them if anyone is interested in doing so. But the importance of Amahoro is not that it had all the right answers, but that it was asking some of the right questions.
The problem with the mindset of modernity is that it sometimes encourages us to give splendidly accurate (and sometimes wildly inaccurate) answers to questions that no one is asking.
Other blog posts on the Amahoro Gathering
- Andries Louw (Christian) of nextchurch on Amahoro Africa Family reunion of change agents
- Andries Louw (Christian) of nextchurch on Amahoro Africa conference The African Reformation
- Arnau van Wyngaard (Christian (Reformed)) of Missionissues on Remembering the past to change the future
- Cobus van Wyngaard (Christian) of my contemplations on cant speak about Amahoro
- Cobus van Wyngaard (Christian) of my contemplations on I am an Afrikaner, I owe my being to this continent
- Cobus van Wyngaard (Christian) of my contemplations on Adriaan Vlok got his feet washed @ Amahoro
- Cobus van Wyngaard (Christian) of Anderkant on ons Afrikaner private godsdiens (aka oom Adriaan part 2)
- Cori (Undefined) of Cori’s Blog on A diverse God
- Joe Reed (Jesus Follower) of Reeds in SA on Amahoro
- Joe Reed (Jesus Follower) of Reeds in SA on New Words for a New South Africa
- nic paton (TBD) of soundandsilence on The European Post Colonial
- Roger Saner (Grew up Baptist, went Anglican, now post-church.) of FutureChurch on The drive home from Amahoro
- Stephen Hayes (Orthodox Christian) of Khanya on Amahoro Gathering 8 June 2009
- Stephen Hayes (Orthodox Christian) of Khanya on Truth, reconciliation and smelly feet
- Stephen Hayes (Orthodox Christian) of Khanya on More on Amahoro
- Stephen Hayes (Orthodox Christian) of Khanya on Amahoro: modernity fights back
- Tom Smith (Recovering church idolater) of soulgardeners.com on Amahoro … further thoughts
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