I’ve asked fellow teachers, and certainly wrestled myself with the following question: How much as a teacher of God’s Word do you introduce others to the complexity, debates, and depth of Christianity?
Teachers should seek to edify and equip. American Christians have a decidedly anti-intellectual bent coupled with an allergy to complexity. How much does a teacher push back on those by introducing topics that cause people to be uncomfortable with how flimsy their beliefs may be?
I’ve read several books on Benjamin Franklin, but this is the first on his sister.
Lepore brings all the things we have to expect from her writing, especially the telling detail.
Yes, it’s true. Women in the eighteenth century were discouraged from reading history. What’s the point? History reading is for those who serve in political and educational leadership. Since women couldn’t do those sorts of things in colonial America, what’s the point in them reading history? For a Christian this crass utilitarian notion of learning history is at odds with a faith that is historical in nature.
There are many wonderful insights in this wonderfully conceived book.
I am reading John Frame’s massive, A History of Western Philosophy and Theology. Today, I came upon this dandy description Schopenhauer made of Hegel:
“Hegel was a flat-headed, insipid, nauseating, illiterate charlatan, who reached the pinnacle of audacity in scribbling together and dishing up the craziest mystifying nonsense.”
From Professor Jonathan Pennington at Southern Seminary. This is part of the charge Jonathan gives to beginning Ph.D. students at Southern.
“Knowing well entails listening to trusted authorities and doing what they prescribe in order to see what they are showing you.” (Scripture’s Knowing, by Dru Johnson p.16)
There is much insight to be unpacked in this singular and salutary sentence:
It is possible to know lots of things but know them wrongly as opposed to knowing them well.
- Knowing entails listening to another – reminiscent of the Apostle James’ reminder that we should be quick to listen, not quick to be teachers; we may also recall the popular adage many a parent has spoken to a verbose child – “God gave us two ears and one mouth; use them proportionally.”
- Knowing is a process of listening to trusted authorities – there are people who are above us in knowledge, experience, wisdom, position, and authority and only the fool spurns this. Rather, listening to trusted authorities is the way of wisdom and flourishing.
- Knowing entails doing – one can read manuals and watch How To YouTube videos all day long but to truly know and understand something, whether it be boomerang throwing, carburetor repair, having children, or writing a book, requires the experience of doing it before one can be said to truly know.
- Knowing is really about seeing, about seeing the world in a certain way.
The rest is here: http://jonathanpennington.com/2017/08/my-phd-induction-ceremony-remarks-aug-2017/
My dear friend, John Freeman, sent me the idiotic reflections of someone commenting on a recent tragedy. The following words quickly congealed in my mind:
We presume, assume, and finally consume our pathetic speculations.
I could argue the following at length, but will simply say…
American Christianity: more American than Christian
Modern Evangelicalism: more modern than evangelical
Conservative Christianity: more conservative than Christian
I read quite a bit of history which puts me in touch with lots of dead people.
It struck me that those who don’t read history, but mainly surf the Net or watch TV for the latest “news” of the day, are not confronted enough with important truths like one’s mortality. Everyone for the most part they come in contact is alive. It’s a big disadvantage to be mostly in touch with living people.