Monday, December 17, 2007

After Eden, What?

The whole discussion about sin, sins, guilt and false guilt is very confusing. Even among Seasoned Saints on the Yahoo Discussion Group I find the interaction strained and quite difficult to understand. There are several reasons for the confusion but I think one of the most important has to do with a lack of clarity about the terms.

Barney Ford, the Inter Varsity Fellowship Director at UC in the Sixties, was a very capable guy. He used comparisons to help students and faculty to understand the importance of terms. For example, Barney had been a math major before signing on to direct IV and was fond of asking math questions to clarify theological issues.

"How much is 20 plus 20?" he would ask some innocent frosh. "Forty, of course" he would say and smile with pride. Then Barney would ask, "Is that with a base number of ten or a base number of two?" The freshman would gulp and say, "What do you mean?"

Back then few of us knew that computers ran on a base number of two. Everything was a zero or a one. All of us grew up with a base number of ten so twenty plus twenty is forty. None of us knew how to add in a base number of two or seven. (I am still confused.)

Barney's point was deeper than math. He wanted to be careful about the terms we use when discussing our faith. He commonly used a funny way to illustrate this by saying, "We need an MOTM!"

Confused, of course, we had to ask, "What is an MOTM?" He would reply, "A Managing Our Terms Manual"!

Next time I will develop a short MOTM.

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