Monday, April 05, 2010

To Do Today

Here's a funky little to-do list I stumbled upon, from Harry Blamires (The Christian Mind) via John Stott (Your Mind Matters):

A "Christian Mind" is described by Mr. Blamires as "a mind trained, informed, equipped to handle data of secular controversy within a framework of reference which is constructed of Christian presuppositions," presuppositions (for example) of the supernatural, of the pervasiveness of evil, of truth, authority and the value of the human person. The Christian thinker, he goes on, "challenges current prejudices . . . disturbs the complacent . . . obstructs the busy pragmatists . . . questions the very foundations of all about him and . . . is a nuisance."

There's at least one missing element here, which is the will to act; but generally organizing your day around these things would generally, I think, be a good act of faith:

__ Challenge current prejudices
__ Disturb the complacent
__ Obstruct the busy pragmatists
__ Question the very foundations of all about you
__ Be a nuisance

I'm reminded of the great G. K. Chesterton's introduction to Heretics, in which he describes an annoying parson's unappreciated contribution to the controversy of the day:

Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down. A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, “Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good—” At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes. So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark.

I wrote a little about the responsibility for Christian discernment at my Burnside Writers Collective column "Becoming the Great Us," coining my own "Zimmerman Octolateral(tm)." Feel free to challenge whatever current prejudices you observe there. I only ask that you, and I, remember that we are not merely brains with bodies; we're also bodies with brains. So by all means, act thoughtfully, but be sure you also think actively.

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