Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Knowledge ≠ Understanding



The above video, the backwards brain bicycle, is a great reflection of how many of us that grew up within the church culture are often stuck doing things that don't work. This is not a knock on tradition or even introducing a new way of doing ministry, but meant to be thought provoking in how you are making disciples.

In many ways the above video describes my own up bringing in church and how I viewed life and ministry. Instead of resting in the freedom that Christ gives us, I fell into a rigid way of thinking in my head that I couldn't change even when I wanted to. It was only through actually slowing down and resting in the freedom and family that Christ offers that things started to click for me. And it wasn't changing to something new, but returning to an old way of doing things, a New Testament way of loving people and discipling them to Jesus.

Being absorbed in the church culture taught me a similar lesson pointed out in the above video. Knowledge ≠ Understanding, which we often mistakenly think that it does. I'll finish by reflecting on one of the things that we are told in the Great Commission, to teach obedience to the commands of God, not just the knowledge of them.

1 comment:

  1. There are different kinds of understanding. To illustrate, I have often heard people say of someone who is well-educated, "He has book knowledge, but he doesn't have common sense." What they generally mean is that is book "knowledge" is an esoteric set of information that really isn't all that valuable, and that "common sense" is being able to relate effectively enough to other people and the surrounding world to accomplish valuable things. So they do understand that Knowledge ≠ Understanding. It's when knowledge is linked to the ability to do useful things that people tend to conflate knowledge and understanding. But what it amounts to are slightly different definitions of those terms. Basically, they have different semantic domains that overlap.

    The understanding of church culture that you are talking about here is the difference between you second and third paragraphs. In your second paragraph, you talk about freedom. In your third paragraph, you talk about obedience. The tendency of sinful people is to confuse those things. This happens in a number of ways. For example, people in rebellion against God invariably seek freedom from the commands of God. However, they just as invariably demand adherence to their own moral construct. In churches, Christians too often follow the pattern of the Pharisees of Jesus' day by developing sets of rules above and beyond the commands of God, paying lip service to the actual commands of God, and excusing what they perceive as minor infractions of the commands of God. For example, people who might complain that the preacher didn't wear a suit might go to a restaurant after church and be rude to the waitress. We all struggle with these failures in the ability to prioritize moral sensibilities.

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