And The Result?

Posted: February 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’ve been reading Thomas Sowell’s new book Intellectuals and Society and early on he ponders the oddity that intellectuals often don’t suffer any consequences for being wrong. 

Sowell sets forth Ralph Nader as an example.  Nader shot to fame by penning the book “Not Safe At Any Speed.”  He used the fame from the book to become an icon of the left.  The only problem is that there is overwhelming evidence that Nader’s book was full of poor conclusions. Yet, Nader continues to be a political force, why?

Would we still listen to a CEO who bankrupted a company? So, why do we treat intellectuals any different?

That got me thinking, how do we treat theologians and church leaders?

I’ve been reading Karl Barth’s massive Church Dogmatics and here and there I’ve gleaned something worthwhile but then I asked myself if I should be plowing through 9000 pages of densely written theology if Barth is simply not that instrumental in making true disciples of Jesus?  Has Barth, or any of his neo-orthodox (i.e., somewhat liberal, somewhat conservative but more of the former) compadres, with the possible exception of Bonhoeffer, ever produced disciples of Christ that produced more disciples of Christ?

Shouldn’t the end product be at least part of evaluating an idea or a theology? Especially if we are indeed broken, fallen creatures with limited intellectual capabilities? 

As Sowell pointed out, Einstein did not just demand that his theory of relativity be accepted but that it be evaluated in the field.  Why should theology be any different?

Why not take closer looks at communities like The Simple Way in Philadelphia that goes without so many of the comforts we take for granted or at the Amish community that forgave the murderer of their own children?

Please understand that I’m not advocating just blindly following these communities but certainly there may be aspects of their beliefs and practices that can help all of us grow closer to Jesus.  I personally want to learn more about how Shane Claiborne came to his level of everyday commitment even if I disagree with him politically and I defintely need to learn how to forgive as the Amish forgive even if I believe there is no need to shun the outside world to the degree that they do.

I know it is safer to evaluate ideas over coffee but who says being a Christian is supposed to be safe or easy?


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