Part 2. More on the Value of a Christian Mind
There is no longer a Christian Mind
-Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind
By way of introduction, in my previous post, I spoke of the Christian Mind as wide and deep. Now I want to offer a few suggestions as to its value. These will be fleshed out more in the posts to come.
A different set of questions
I am sure you want to ask: What difference does it make? There are many valid viewpoints and we need to learn from them all. One of the distinctions of a Christian Mind is the questions it asks.
I am writing this during the Covid-19 pandemic. Deep into the shelter at home order, we faced the murder of George Floyd. Our nation erupted.
All kinds of questions have been asked of both: do the experts know what they are talking about? who is responsible to fix the problem? Is an economic shutdown necessary? is it legal? are we a racist nation? is there really a history of police abuse of power toward blacks? how will we honor our forbears? or how will we cease to honor them?
A Christian mind leads me to ask additional questions: why there are such things as pandemics? why are we so terrified of death? what are the limitations of human solutions? how can we live in a world of risk under the governance of God? what is the nature of human freedom? why is racism so bad and worthy of protest while the preventable deaths of the elderly are not? is violence ever an appropriate means of protest? what is justice and how will we know we have it? how can it be that many live such insulated lives that even in the church we are not aware of the experience of minority brothers and sisters?
At every point of our modern culture of the West, a Christian mind asks different questions.
An independent perspective
The Christian mind is not aligned with any of the powers or ideologies of this age. In my first post I made the comment that civil religion has been an obstacle to thinking as Christians. Jesus is not a Republican. Nor is he a Democrat. The kingdom of God is neither left nor right.
Sadly, for many in the USA, a Christian Mind has lost its independence. It has aligned itself and been co-opted by both ideological systems. God’s perspective is outside of all cultural and political narratives.
As I have reflected on this in recent weeks, I made the decision to leave my former political party and became an independent. This was not done for political reasons, but for theological ones. I refuse to align myself any longer with the Christian right or the Christian left.
Christians see from an entirely different perspective. Every issue is viewed from a wider and deeper perspective: gender dysphoria, gender self-identification, marriage, hetero and homosexuality, personal rights and freedoms, race, politics, courts and laws, Donald Trump and the “Christian” right, the dignity of work, the problem of divorce, the evil of abuse, etc etc etc.
It is more than information
But I need to make some clarifications. First, one can be literate in Scripture and theologically trained and still not see as a Christian. A conservative mind or a progressive mind can take over the perspective. A social justice rubric can dominate. Even while holding to orthodox theology and high moral principles. we may not see with the independence of a Christian Mind. .
A Christian mind must resist other systems
For some time the secular mind has dominated. The secular mind is endlessly serious. It is chronologically arrogant and contemptuous of proven wisdom. After stripping away everything invisible and eternal, it forces an immanent frame upon us. By immanent I mean all that you can see is all that is.
This shapes our thinking about everything from sexuality to politics (on the right and the left). Secularism is content to give religion a private corner, but it insists she must stay in that place or be shamed. To assert a Christian mind is a push back. That is what I intend to do.
Blogging as a Record of Personal Observations
Consider this to be a place where I record observations that rise from my years of life, reading, and experience. I hope my thinking stirs your thinking. Along the away I may skewer some sacred and secular cows.
I anticipate criticism from within the church. At this stage of life, I am not naïve enough to expect only graciousness from members of the same family. I also expect some insults. Some may say, “You should be silenced.” But I would like thoughtful discussion and debate. Any discussion will be moderated, for all the reasons just stated.
Blogging and Reconciliation
A Christian Mind has shaped my work in conciliation. By conciliation I mean helping people resolve conflict and restore wholeness to their relationships. It is like, but more than, alternative dispute resolution. There will be a whole section of this blog with perspective and resources for dealing with conflict and alienation.