I'm just taken with the idea of the "thinking process," or the "life of the mind." My last post dealt with the importance of being critical thinkers and developing the ability to think deeper so that we become the owners of the truth or concepts that we are trying to understand. It bothers me to see so many in the Christian community just parroting their pastor or their favorite Christian author. It truly is the bane of the Church...we have become in many respects mere lemmings.
I love the title of Os Guinness's book, "FIT BODIES FAT MINDS." Guinness puts forth the argument that one of the leading problems in American evangelicalism is...anti-intellectualism. "Anti-intellectualism is a disposition to discount the importance of truth and the life of the mind," says Guinness. He continues this thought, “Living in a sensuous culture and an increasingly emotional democracy, American evangelicals in the last generation have simultaneously toned up their bodies and dumbed down their minds."
We live in a Joel Osteen culture... where feeling good, and having your best life now has become the Christian manifesto. Osteen's positive thinking messages appeal to many who love to feel emotionally satiated. Our culture prizes feeling good, experiencing emotional peace, and where the idea of feeling secure far out weighs the concept of seeking absolute truth. Positive thinking has become prized above reflection and hard critical thinking about the eternal truths of God's word.
The Christian community has suffered tremendously from this lack of thinking and love of feeling good. Guinness tells us:
" Evangelical anti-intellectualism bears on many of the problems of evangelicalism...superficial or bad theology, the lack of serious apology for the faith, the lack of constructive public philosophy, and the continued defections of thinking evangelicals in the direction of Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy."
Let me provide a snap shot of the love of the mind from the origins of Harvard Divinity School. The study of theology at Harvard can be traced back to the very beginning of Harvard College, when an initial fund of 400 pounds from the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony established the College in 1636. The founders of Harvard recorded their reasons for establishing this center of learning:
"After God had carried us safe to New England and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God's worship, and settled the civil government: One of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust."
When the believer develops a Christian worldview...which takes time, hard work, and much reading... then he can go out and apologize for the "faith that was once delivered unto the saints." The body of Christ must be able to speak to all aspects of life: education, science, government, and all things that make up society.
Where do I start, always with an open Bible?