Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Accurate and Adequate Information

In the business world, ethical retailers give much consideration to how their Associates communicate product information.  Three terms enter into how information is provided to customers:
  1. Representation - any statement verbal or written) that is made to influence a purchase decision.
  2. Misrepresentation - any statement that contains inaccurate information.
  3. Failure to Disclose - occurs when there is inadequate information or something important is left out or concealed. 
What if church leaders were held accountable for their representations, misrepresentations, and failures to disclose.  I am thinking particularly of sermons/adult education offerings where no use is made of scholarly research, where denominational loyalty supplants critical study, and where, under the guise of protecting the flock, outdated theological concepts and discriminatory rhetoric passes for bible study.  And perhaps worst of all, the failure to disclose differing perspectives and intentionally ignoring the advances of science, literary criticism, archaeology, etc. because it conflicts with long held prejudices or congregational dogma.

In the business world, customers would have legal recourse against firms not providing accurate and adequate information.  In the church, we just say, "good sermon/class today," no mater what the quality or the accuracy of the representations.

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