Monday, May 26, 2008

Intellectual Christianity

Here's a question that I've been asking myself. Do we expect Christians to be intellectuals? With our emphasis on the Bible and exegesis? I guess I tend to 'look down' on people who look for Christian experiences - perhaps going to worship services wanting to be 'touched' on a regular basis. Because I want them to grapple with the real meaning of Christianity. I want them to have an informed understanding. I look at events like the Mighty Men Conference with an underlying feeling that they promote superficial Christian experience. But why is that experience less valid or meaningful than my intellectual understanding of Christianity? Some people are never going to understand the concept of justification by faith. Or care whether the Kingdom of God is a here and now thing or something we have to die to get. They need to believe in something bigger than themselves. They need to know that someone important loves and accepts them. And maybe it is all about emotions and feelings for them. We put ministers and pastors through academic seminaries and so get intellectuals. And to be honest, are we out of touch with the needs of the majority of the population?

2 comments:

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

So what you are asking is: does it really matter what we believe, just so long as it feels good to lots of people?
I grew up with this philosophy: it was called "Apartheid"

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Hi Pete
Thanks for the comment. You are right - we definately can't go 'with the mob' which we are seeing with the xenophobic violence. So I am reminded of the importance of intellectual integrity in all things. But I am still struggling with overemphasising intellectual stuff - for those who are never going to make the intellectual journeys that I have made. I think though, that a leader must be intellectually capable. Maybe that is obvious, but I guess I can see why now. I need to work on it!