My friend Dick Doster recently wrote a provocative and timely Editor’s Letter that appears in the front of the latest edition of ByFaith magazine. After reading it, I went back and read it two more times. It’s titled “Wise Christians Strive to Become Better Thinkers.” I agree. And wise Christians also strive to raise and nurture better thinkers. Perhaps never before in our modern American history has this been more urgent a need than now.
Dick’s challenge is a timely one for those of us who find ourselves in the influential position of parent, grandparent, teacher, and youth worker. Time’s passing quickly folks. You blink and kids go from the crib to college. . . or whatever else God has planned for them post high school. If we wait “until later” or “some other time” to diligently nurture our own minds and the minds of the young, it will never happen.
If you would, take 10 minutes to read Dick Doster’s challenge. . .
Last week I watched a young cashier struggle. The cash register baffled her. No one had taught her how to manually make change. She didn’t exactly project the warmth and friendliness that exclaimed, “I’m so glad you’re here.” As you might expect service was slow, orders were wrong, and customers grew testy.
How did this happen? How can it be that a human being — created in God’s image, given the ability to reason, the capacity to add and subtract, and a mind that’s capable of storing enormous amounts of information — becomes so overwhelmed by such basic tasks?
I wonder if we’re complicit in this. On the surface, it looks like our basic institutions let this woman down: family, community, and school. The Church may have failed her, too, because surely if we love our neighbors and yearn to see our community thrive, somebody would have intervened; someone would have taken the time to nurture the gifts God gave her.
Smart people, of course, aren’t better than others. Plenty of us know exactly what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth” (1 Corinthians 1:26). We’re grateful that there’s nothing elitist about Christianity.
At the same time, the Scriptures take a dim view of intellectual neglect. . . (keep reading here).