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in Vancouver, an atheistic preppie in Beverly Hills, and an ostracized Sikh in Surrey. Person-centered knowledge demands a person-centered apologetic. How, then, do we “locate” the thinking teen in order to “meet the person where he or she is,” especially when today’s adolescents are “complicated and ‘all over the map’”?35 Perhaps an analogy will help the reader to visualize the multi-stage conceptual method I will soon suggest, that being apologetic triangulation. Imagine that you are part of a rescue operation searching for an adolescent lost in the wilderness. You possess an accurate map of the region and a cell phone allowing communication with the teen, though you have not yet determined where he is. You ask the teen to describe where he has walked and what he presently sees. He speaks of memorable creeks and mountains, though his present perspective is of nondescript trees and undulating hills. You encourage him to move toward higher ground—whether by inspiring, informing, or challenging him, it does not at this stage especially matter. As the dialogue continues and he moves upward, the obstacles obscuring his vision diminish. He now responds to your questions from a distinctive vantage point, helping you orient the map to his descriptions—a knoll here and a valley there. At this point your increasingly specific questions help you ascertain his position relative to the three most distinct surrounding features separated by the greatest angle. Using these rough angles you are able to draw three intersecting lines as “back-bearings” on your map which effectively triangulate where the teen is.36 You may now more directly approach the teen from the direction of the nearest feature—though always with the other two features in view.

35

CWFS, GWIT, 176; Smith and Denton, Soul Searching, 26.

36

If orienteering is unfamiliar to the reader, see the section entitled “What If You Get Lost? Triangulation” at http://www.ussartf.org/compass_basics.htm (accessed 5 November 2008).

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Profile for Dave Benson

The Thinking Teen  

An exploration, evaluation, and application of three apologetic strategies in commending the Bible to contemporary western adolescents

The Thinking Teen  

An exploration, evaluation, and application of three apologetic strategies in commending the Bible to contemporary western adolescents

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