the last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind — computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. but the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. the future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind — creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. these people — artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers — will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.
(daniel pink, in his introduction to “A Whole New Mind“)
so, back in the day (like, august), i had a wearying blog-fisticuffs with brett kunkle, of the stand to reason blog. (if you care to be a voyeur — which is what blog are all about, right? — here’s the play-by-play: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). in the midst of this, i offered have brett come down to san diego and hang out, sit in my hot tub, get to know my family. it was — in a sense –a rhetorical offer; but brett called me on it (fair enough!). and, today, we are having a long lunch. nope, the hot tub meeting (which got bantered around a couple corners of the blog world rather humorously — see here and here as examples) never materialized. but props to brett for making the drive down. and i will say, our email conversations have been very warm and friendly.
however, seeing my appointment with brett on my calendar has had me thinking a bit about apologetics (btw, how and when did talbot seminary become the new center of world for apologetics? what happened to dts? interesting shift.). and when i have some subject lingering in the corners of my mind like that, i tend to see connections to other discussions, readings and topics. like this daniel pink book i’m reading right now, called ‘a whole new mind’ (linked above).
“the most striking feature of contemporary culture is the unslaked craving for transcendence.”
(columbia university’s andrew delbanco, quoted in ‘a whole new mind’)
and this one is really connected to a discussion about apologetics, i think:
“humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.”
(roger c. schank, cognitive scientist, quoted in ‘a whole new mind’)
one more, for now:
stories have the felicitous capacity of capturing exactly those elements that formal decision methods leave out. logic tries to generalize, to strip the decision making from the specific context, to remove it from the subjective emotions. stories capture the context, capture the emotions…. stories are important cognitive events, for they encapsulate, into one compact package, information, knowledge, context, and emotion.
(don norman, from his book ‘things that make us smart’, quoted in ‘a whole new mind’)
so, here’s my thinking today. apologetics, as it’s been popularized in the last few decades, is in no way a bad thing. if i’ve ever implied that, i apologetically repent (get it?). without going into a long subjective rif’ on where the world of christian apologetics is headed for disappointment, let me put a more positive, constructive spin on this: i believe apologetics needs a make-over. like dan kimball said, it’s important to understand why you believe what you believe, and why that why isn’t purely whimsical. however, it’s been my experience, and really the thrust of my suggestions back during the august blog-wars, that most of apologetics (as we know it) is about logic and ‘legal defenses’. we need an apologetic that is about transcendance, about story, about design. i suppose that’s why i SO LOVED brian mclaren’s second book in the ‘new kind of christian’ trilogy: the story we find ourselves in. it really is a narrative apologetic. i suppose this is why i love talking to teenagers about understanding their calling to be part of god’s unfolding story.
i’d love to see the ‘conversion’ of a few hard-core apologetics types — who really do know their stuff; then see them write a book or two or seventeen that would help the people daniel pink is talking about in ‘a whole new mind’ — that would speak to a nation shifting to right-brain value drivers.