The Christian Mind, Harry Blamires
This read continues my hitch-hiker exploration of Christian intellectualism. As his thesis, Blamires argues that "there is no Christian mind; there is no shared field of discourse in which we can move at ease as thinking Christians by trodden ways and past established landmarks." (-Part 1, Ch. 1, The Surrender To Secularism) This may seem an astonishing claim, and while I feel that he may have overstated the situation a bit, he does bring up some interesting points.
There is an atmosphere of tension, and perhaps something of a misunderstanding, surrounding this matter of Christian vs. Secular wisdom. We know from 1 Corinthians 1 that the things of God are foolishness to the world, but let's not start boring holes in the bottom of the boat just yet. We don' t pursue foolishness in order to apprehend the wisdom of God; we pursue the wisdom of God, knowing that we may often be perceived as fools by the world. We do not court foolishness, or influence, or relevance, or anything else: we seek first the Kingdom of God, and He arranges us as He sees fit. "The Christian faith is important because it is true. What it happens to achieve, in ourselves or in others, is another and, strictly speaking, secondary matter." (-Part 2, Ch. 3, Its Conception Of Truth)
American Christianity has been exercising all the wrong muscles. It's high time we replace static ideology with verdant poise - obnoxious aggression with simply being ready, to give an answer, not a judgment. Jesus always gave people answers. But we're too busy for that, because to give an answer you have to understand both the question and the questioner. Judgments are more economical.
Probably the best definition given by Blamires for what he is advocating is this: "Not that we should convert, bu that we should be understood. Not that the Christian mind should become the immediate and overwhelming vehicle of all truth to all men, but that the Christian mind should be recognized for what it is: something different, something distinctive, something with depth, hardness, solidity; a pleasure to fight with and a joy to be beaten by." (-Part 2, Ch. 2, Its Supernatural Orientation)
Of course, Blamires' concept of "thinking Christianly," which he develops in Part 2, is unavoidably tainted with his own biases, and the somewhat disproportional nature of the book's foundational arguments is damaging. While this one earned its share of question marks in the margin, there are also many worthwhile insights. I guess I would say it's quite good without being one of the best.