The Church and the Life of the Mind: Why Am I So Protective About This Issue? (Miniblog #165)
Yesterday a Facebook friend inquired, “What’s up with you and intellectualism in church? I’m not asking to criticize or provoke. You just seem hellbent on this. What’s the deal?” It’s a good question.1.It has been quite a while since I did a blog series, so I’ve decided to bust one out to start 2013. This is Part 1 in a series entitled “The Church and the Life of the Mind.” As is so often the case for all of us, I’m responding out of my natural temperament and to my life experiences. Something crucial to know about me is one of my strongest natural instincts is protection of the weak. If you’ve seen the movie Blind Side you understand what I’m talking about.22.Who knows how the whole nature v. nurture thing plays out, but from what I understand Grandpa Clayton from Waco was the same way. Interestingly enough, this protective instinct has become embodied perhaps most fully in the church realm. To my innermost being I’m committed to protecting vulnerable people. By definition that requires having healthy contexts–institutionally, intellectually, psychologically, relationally, spiritually, etc. And because I grew up among Christians who consistently downplayed, dismissed, and denigrated the life of the mind,33.i.e. one of my most important spiritual needs I particularly tend to emphasize that one. The thing that continually baffles me is that so few even recognize this as a legitimate need for some. As I’ve said many times before, I’m neither suggesting nor implying all of our churches should be baptized academic centers. I am saying that within at least some of our churches we need to purposefully create room not only for meaningful reflection and deep thinking, but for rigorous thinking intentionally as Christians. I tend to be quite protective of those with that spiritual need.44.Far too often they’re made to feel alone and unwelcome within our churches just being living into who God made them to be.