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 Post subject: Cardless apologetics?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:04 am 
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Kenya debate as good as me?
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Hey all!

I have a set of apol cards, but I don't use them. On the morning of the first tournament this year, I forgot the cards at my hotel. And how freeing it was! Turns out, I speak significantly better without notecards. I'd never broke before. That tournament I placed third. I'm still not a great apologetics speaker, but I do significantly better than I did. Not using cards makes me actually think instead of being reliant on my notes. It helps me to talk about big issues and use examples instead of quoting another theologian. But that's not the big issue.

I think we have, as a community, missed the point of apologetics. We don't walk into the real world carrying hundreds of 4x6 notecards with bible verses on us. We have maybe a minute to analyze a question someone asks us before we answer it. And we should know enough basic facts about the Christian religion, which directs our entire lives, to answer 100 relatively simple questions without notes. Even the questions about Biblical translation can be answered by a basic understanding of the translation process. We should have enough working knowledge to address the topics. And you'd be amazed how much you can remember with 4 minutes of solid thinking driven by desperation :P This only works if you're reading theology and thinking about theology and discussing theology in your free time. I'm not talking about preparation free apologetics, just note-free apologetics.

Anyway, I'd like to hear y'all's thoughts.

In Christ and with love,
John

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:58 pm 
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John, I think this is a really great question! Although I don't agree 100% I can defiantly see what your getting at!

Gold Water's Ghost wrote:
I think we have, as a community, missed the point of apologetics. We don't walk into the real world carrying hundreds of 4x6 notecards with bible verses on us. We have maybe a minute to analyze a question someone asks us before we answer it. And we should know enough basic facts about the Christian religion, which directs our entire lives, to answer 100 relatively simple questions without notes.
John


To an extent I agree--but personal I think this is a poor argument. True we won't have index cards in our hand--but that shouldn't persuade us to not make up Apologetic cards. I understand that you also agree with Apologetic shouldn't be no-prep event--which I think is curial.

I do think we have missed something in Apologetics--content. My siblings and parents have judged numerous Apologetics rounds where (sadly) kids walk in and they have no idea what they're talking about. They lack content, and understanding. Apologetics can be very overwhelming when you first start. Though I've only competed in Apolo once--I can tell you it is one of the best events ever! Everything I've learned from digging deeper into Apologetic will stay with me for the rest of my life. For me that meant writing out word for word Apologetic cards--though I might not use them that way in rounds. It helps me remember exactly what point I want to make, exactly what the topics means. I don't think most people do that. ;)

But I've also experience the draw back of having cards--when it comes to a question you don't have a card on! During my semi-final round (I broke at my first tournament--all Glory to God!) I drew a topic I didn't have a card on. And guess what? It was the scripture category--not I good category not to have a card on. So I spent my entire prep time flipping through all my scripture cards trying to find something I didn't have. I go up and attempted to fumble off these cards in my hand that had nothing to do with the question. Finally about half way through I just gave up and stopped looking at the cards in my hands and tried to give a real speech--what do you know? It got a lot better! I'm sure I was still dead last--but I learned something.

In those cases I see where my cards will tie me down. Its pretty common to hear older apologeticers to just use simple outlines because do a better job that way! I'm not there yet.

So for me there's a fine line between the two. Although, I think you should--even if going "cardless"--make cards. Maybe with just a simple outline or a few verses on them. At least be thinking about how you would answer the questions. But in all cases study!

Quote:
We should have enough working knowledge to address the topics. And you'd be amazed how much you can remember with 4 minutes of solid thinking driven by desperation

:lol: agreed!

Ultimately, isn't that what Apologetics is about? Thinking about how you would answer the questions? How would you explain the gospel? How do we know scripture is divinity inspired? Apologetics forced me to think "How would I answer this quesiton?" and though I'm getting better at my cards I now also feel equipped to answer these questions out of rounds--without my box. Whether or not you choose to use cards it up to you--but I still like mine. :)

Well there's my 2cents. I'm glad to hear of your Apologetic success! Obviously if no cards works best for you--continue to do it! Hope you continue doing well!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:12 pm 
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I agree that not having cards has actually helped me to give better speeches. At the most recent tournament I competed in, I had no cards on my finals topic and not really much to cross-apply with, and I placed better than I have ever done before. I had no cards, but it was the most enjoyable round I've ever had in my three years of doing Apologetics. Speaking from my heart, and simply sharing what I know and believe, and not what my cards have on them - it was an amazing feeling.

But, on the other hand, I've been doing Apologetics for a few years. I have given many speeches, memorized many quotes and verses, and studied almost all the topics to some extent. As a novice, I needed my cards to have support for my speeches with quotes/verses and I hadn't sufficiently studied enough to be able to give a speech on Jesus' deity or Scripture's innerancy. It took time to come to a place where I didn't need to rely on my cards - and once I got to that point, it was really refreshing. I think that the goal of Apologetics should be to come to that point - since you're right, we won't have cards in real life situations and confrontations - but not for those just starting out.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:03 pm 
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I know exactly what you mean, John. Two years ago I discovered that using a box in apologetics had given me a lot of bad habits. Namely, that I couldn't remember why I believe what I believe without flipping through my box and reminding myself what scripture I had read. That's one reason why I stopped using a box this year. It really helps me to remember important information, it helps me to speak from the heart, and it's nice not to have to carry around a box. Most interestingly, though, I noticed that the pressure of having to come up with an answer to questions on the spot has actually forced me out of my comfort zone. We all get nervous about picking topics we don't have a card on. I think that sort of gets us into a rut of picking the same 'safety' topics every round. Not having a card on any of the topics has encouraged me to take new questions, come up with new answers and really answer the topics from the heart. The lack of a safety net forced me to come up with answers to questions I had avoided when I was writing cards, and the added pressure helped me to write better speeches than the ones I had written in my boxes.

That being said, it wasn't like that when I started. I also competed my first two tournaments in apologetics without a box, and the results weren't so great. I'm only able to speak without a box now because of the years I spent making boxes, writing speeches, reading theology and preparing myself for apologetics.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:05 am 
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I think I staked out too strident of a position in my OP, in my enthusiasm.

For a lot of people (particularly beginners or people who haven't studied much theology), it's probably better to just focus on learning basic theology, and a box would possibly help grant the confidence that's necessary to give an apologetics without bursting into tears or acting like Mr. Darcy trying to talk to Lizzie.

And come to think of it, it's probably better to keep people who don't know theology on a script that's basically Orthodox rather than have them try to analyze the question in 4 minutes and come up with an accurate answer.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:15 am 
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From what I have gathered, whether or not to use a box is a personal choice based on your own preferences and style and (should be) based on correct motives. :)

As others before me have opined, there seem to be some good things to say about opportunities like this to break the mold and craft a speech in a style you aren't used to. If you have the knowledge in your head, and the passion and the Lord in your heart, then if you feel a box constrains you,then by all means don't use one. But, do not try to "impress the judges" by not using a box. The judges will not mark you any higher or any lower based on how you prepare your speech. It's not necessarily what you say, but how you say it. If you feel like a box hampers rather than helps you demonstrate Christ's love in Apologetics, then be my guest and not use one.

The one experience I did not use my box in a round went quite well - but as in all things in the Christian life, it wasn't me being good but Christ Jesus going before me and providing the words for me to say at the time. What also aided my efforts was that I had pre-memorized Bible verses, quotes, and illustrations that I got only from my preparation and research I put in my box beforehand. There's a reason boxes are allowed in the Apologetics rules - the box can be a very helpful tool for understanding, insight, and preparation time. But, an over-reliance on cards or on a box can hamper your efforts, and I believe that issue is what the aforementioned commenters are diagnosing.

The bottom line: Go with how the Spirit leads you. Use FRESH manna and let the Spirit guide and breath new life into your speeches for His glory, whether you use cards or not. Whatever you do, do all unto the glory of God. Let Him exude through your speeches and permeate all the words you say. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:55 pm 
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I walked into my first Apologetics tournament (last month) absolutely terrified because I had almost no cards, and I'd heard the horror stories about impromptu apologetics.
I learned pretty much exactly what ya'll are saying... if you speak from your heart, if you have knowledge and convictions about your faith, it does not matter if you have a box (and it ends up not mattering to you if you break). I absolutely recommend having some cards-- just to have those Scriptures and stories which you won't necessarily remember otherwise.
So, John, I think you're absolutely right. In Apol (as well as in other speeches), we should be speaking from our hearts to minister to our judges... not from our heads to win the round. Winning is fantastic and fun, but it's not the point.
ParadigmPWNS wrote:
The one experience I did not use my box in a round went quite well - but as in all things in the Christian life, it wasn't me being good but Christ Jesus going before me and providing the words for me to say at the time. What also aided my efforts was that I had pre-memorized Bible verses, quotes, and illustrations that I got only from my preparation and research I put in my box beforehand. There's a reason boxes are allowed in the Apologetics rules - the box can be a very helpful tool for understanding, insight, and preparation time. But, an over-reliance on cards or on a box can hamper your efforts, and I believe that issue is what the aforementioned commenters are diagnosing.

This. :)

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