The One, The Many And The Few: Shadow Apologetics
- Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Me, I’m not out to destroy whatever has come before.
I thought of the name anti-apologetics, but that has the same problem as Dadaism. I’m not against apologetics, I’m just trying to find an apologetics for the rest of us who aren’t complete I.Q. studs.
I like Minimalist Apologetics. It gets at the idea that you don’t have to know everything, but just a few things. It also dovetails with some of the themes I develop in Blah, Blah, Blah.
But in the end I’m settling for Shadow Apologetics**. I’m trying to throw the spotlight on worldviews – that aspect of apologetics that’s so often in the shadows. It’s kind of like “drawing on the right side of the brain.” To do this you have to put your mind in a place where it looks at things from all sides, including the “negative space.” You don’t just draw the line of a person’s cheek; you also try to pay attention to and draw what’s not there, like the hollow part of the cheek or the space behind the cheek as it disappears from your vantage point. Shadow Apologetics forces us to concentrate on things that operate beneath the threshold of consciousness most of the time.
Shadow apologetics can be frustrating for someone who’s into traditional apologetics because it often involves deflecting people away from typical patterns of thought in order to bring their hidden worldview assumptions out in the open. This process is both unnerving and enlightening. It’s unnerving because it takes you on a journey into unfamiliar territory; it’s enlightening because it helps you gain perspective and understand better the essentials of each worldview.
Shadow Apologetics is the method behind my book Blah, Blah, Blah. With that book and the website blahblahbook.com I hope I can teach myself and others to stay focused on the one thing (the “one”), to avoid the discouragement – or the conceit – of trying to know too much (the “many”), and to learn a few things well (the “few”).
Bayard Taylor is the author of the upcoming book Blah, Blah, Blah: Making Sense of the World's Spiritual Chatter (Bethany House, April 2006). Taylor holds an M.Div. with an emphasis in cross-cultural studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He spent four years working with Campus Crusade for Christ and currently is Senior Editor of Biblical and Theological Issues at Gospel Light/Regal Books. Bayard has also edited such bestselling books as So What's the Difference? by Fritz Ridenour and Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer Towns.
**Jennifer Cullis came up with this creative term as we discussed an early draft of this paper.
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