A Christian Mind

In 1963 Harry Blamires wrote a book titled, The Christian Mind.  Blamires was the Dean of Arts and Sciences at King Alfred’s College, now Winchester University.  He was an Anglican and a theologian of the best sort, not a professional theologian just a practicing Christian who understood that he had a theology and therefore sought to think it and live it in a self-conscious way.  C.S. Lewis was his tutor so I suppose it would have been difficult for him not to take his faith seriously.

Blamires’ book focused on one essential point, the absence of what he referred to as a thorough going Christian mind that actually inhabited the world and engaged it at every level of human existence.  There are Christian ethics, practices and spirituality but where is the Christian mind, alert, sharp and attuned to the pressing cultural issues of the day? 

He was not arguing for Christian politics, the creation of a Christian political party for example, but he was wondering why Christians tend to inhabit a personal and private world of spirituality that encourages them to leave a robust supernatural faith at the door with their hat and coat upon entering the “real world”.  He is also not suggesting the creation of a special category of public discourse labeled ”Christian” so that whatever subject is being discussed someone can offer the alternative ”Christian answer”.  C.S. Lewis touched on this point when he wrote, “What is needed are less books on Christianity and more books by Christians on other subjects.”  Alas, a tour through most Christian book stores would confirm Lewis’ contention that Christians write for Christians and leave others to shape the conversation on most every other topic that the culture cares about.

He is asking why Christians tend to lack both authority and respect when speaking on topics that fall outside the realm of religious issues.  He is wondering, as I do, why there seem to be so few public intellectuals who are professed followers of Christ helping to shape the cultural agenda of our day.  It leaves one with the distinct feeling that in the realm of public discourse Christianity is privately engaging but socially and intellectually irrelevant.

Perhaps it is time for Christians to cease the senseless segregation of religious and secular and start engaging the world not as a secular place but as the world for which Christ died.  For centuries Christians have theologically argued for the full humanity and full divinity of Christ with no separation or division of Jesus’ human and divine natures.  What would it mean if each of us lived the theological implications this understanding of Jesus offers us?  As his followers how would would we address our world and its concerns?  How would speak into the public discourse of our day?  Rather  than offering a ”‘Christian answer” perhaps we should seek to bring the weight of our faith into the conversation and offer a better, more thoughtful and more human answer; an answer that blesses others and honors God.

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