This weekend I had the mighty privilege of visiting New St. Andrews College, located in the heart of the very progressive university town of Moscow, Idaho. Here, Doug Wilson and his band of classical christian thinkers wage a worldview war of sorts, raising the next generation of faithful christians that seek to live out all of Christ in all of life. The annual Wordsmithy Workshop is designed to do this precise thing in the context of thinking christians who want to write more and write better. It was quite the intellectual and spiritual feast and it set my thoughts and inspirations ablaze in a number of new directions.
The theme of the conference was the writing life of C. S. Lewis. We had the great privilege of having Micheal Ward (perhaps the foremost Lewis scholar on the planet) lead us in a deeper peek into the mind and work of this great and historic thinker. The following is my attempt at sharing some of the gold nuggets I take away from my time at NSA.
We live in a world that is always in conflict, and physical war is only the tip of the iceberg. At it’s essence, the warfare that permeates our societies and cultures is a warfare of ideas. Moreover, this is not a war that you can fight for others, or protect others from. Every persons mind is a battlefield on its own. And its a battlefield they alone can man. Anyone with a mind is both a potential weapon and potential target. We are all in it whether we like it or not.
The battlefield of the mind is perhaps both the most powerful and most vulnerable kind. Ideas dictate the rise and fall of history. The greatest triumphs and tragedies have all arisen from individuals deeply gripped by worldviews and ideas, individuals who have sought to live out that which they firmly believed to be true.
We spend our lives thinking about many things. But how often do we think about how and why we think? I am reading a book these past few days which has really stimulated my thinking and challenged the way I see much of what surrounds me these days. Al Mohler’s The Conviction to Lead is a book that really reflects the depth and breadth of life that this man has lived, and the incredible amount that he has been able to accomplish is such a relatively short time.
As I read Mohler’s discussion of the key components of effective leadership, I can’t help but notice the utter absence of it in the world that surrounds me. Mohler explains that effective leadership is rooted in an active, passionate and convictional approach to life. You don’t have to look very far to see that there are not very many people who live this way.
I don’t like using the word ‘religious’ to describe myself, because of the common misconception that is attached to that word. In our scientific, post modern culture, when people here that someone actually believes that the Bible is the word of God they often think – naive, irrational, stubborn, judgmental, narrow minded. And sadly it is true, that often times, this IS an accurate description of many people under the label ‘christian’.
It is often thought that believing in a real God who is able to objectively communicate himself to his creation is only possible when one lets go of all critical thinking and ‘just takes it by faith’ – which often means that you don’t need a substantial explanation, because faith doesn’t necessarily need to make sense.