RIGHT LEARNING

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/

I SEE DEAD PEOPLE!

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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. 

THE DEMON IN DEMOCRACY

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Professor Ralph Wood, the gifted writer and teacher, works his craft at Baylor University. Ralph recommended that I read The Demon in Democracy. I’m glad he did, though it was not a comforting read.

Legutko’s big idea is that the liberal democracy of our day shares many of the same features as communism. There are commonalities such as a penchant for utopianism. There is also an undying belief that one’s system of thought is perfect and so should be immune from critique.

Most of us simply accept that everything about liberal democracies is wonderful so questioning any part of it would be un-American. Actually, the opposite is true. Serious questioning of political institutions is at the heart and founding of our history, something most of us have forgotten.

Legutko teaches philosophy in his homeland of Poland.   He is not opposed to progress per se, but finds a troubling hubris at the heart of many modern notions of progress.

More than once I put a marginal note of “no dissent allowed” to characterize the lack of scrutiny most Americans give to the modern notion of liberal democracy. And it is the modern notion, not the older versions of liberal democracy, that is in the author’s crosshairs.

If you want to know more about why serious thinking and free speech (on both the left and right) has gone the way of the Dodo bird, this book has much to offer.