I’ve been reading this book and, I have to say, it has completely rocked my mind. I’ve struggled for years between these conflicting ideas that God is hidden by “too much” education and the belief that studying brings glory to my Creator. The notion that there’s no room for a Christian worldview in the academic realm has always seemed a basic truth. When I’ve written my various papers on Hemingway or Beowulf, allowing my Biblical education to hold sway on my interpretations, I have feared rejection. I’ve never even tried to get published because I simply have never thought that I would stand a chance. “Who would want to publish a paper about Hemingway harboring a Christian worldview in his works?” Nobody. But after reading this book, I’m not as convinced.
Ultimately, intellectual work of this sort is its own reward, because it is focused on the only One whose recognition is important, the One before whom all hearts are open. – Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind
James Sire’s claim in Habits of the Mind, that all Christians are called to clear and productive use of their minds, strikes such a profound chord in me. As he reminds his readers over and over again, “love of the truth brings obedience, holiness and further grasp of the truth.” A person who “shall love the Lord your God…all your mind” cannot help but obey Jesus and love God with their heart and soul as well (Matthew 22:37). The three parts work together. This doesn’t mean everyone is called to college. It means that everyone should love God as best they can with the capabilities that have been given them. And I, rarely, have lived out all three parts of the “greatest commandment.”
I’ve often loved God with all of my heart, but not my mind. Or all of my mind, but not my soul. I’ve compartmentalized my life, and as a result missed out on much of what God’s life in me is really about. I’m only now realizing that the “greatest commandment” is not a multiple choice command. We, as Christians, pick and choose so often, but that’s not how its supposed to work.
Sire’s book has inspired me: inspired me to pick up my Bible more and get to know Jesus all over again, yet its also inspired me to resume the academic work that has meant so much to me in recent years. There is a vast landscape laid open before me, and I hope that I can be receptive enough to see the truth of the entire horizon that is God’s life in me. It’s an exciting day.