Saturday, 24 February 2018

Jordan Peterson, and our comfortable evangelical ghettos

There's an interesting article on Jordan Peterson here.

I posted this comment:

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Evangelical anti-intellectualism and navel-gazing has really hurt us. We have a dearth of Christian public intellectuals. Too many with these gifts have gone ‘in-house’, doing the tour of the Christian conference circuit, where they are lauded and beloved, but not challenged. Or disappeared into the world of academic theology where they debate other academics, but have little impact beyond that sphere – hoping that eventually their ideas will tricked down into the outer world through a long chain of academics and students and eventually people taught by those students. And/or they churn out endless books repeating the same thing, with only very minor modifications, as 20 other people published in the last 5 years. Who is the last major Christian intellectual in the public square who had a platform that wasn’t largely preaching to the choir? C S Lewis?

There are non-Christians, of various sorts, like Petersen, Ben Shapiro, and then Christians with weak theology like Peter Hitchens, who have platforms out in the public square, and who are willing to bring serious intellectual analysis to things. But we evangelicals seem to have built so much comfortable infrastructure, our own private world, our safe haven, that we’re very content to live in it, and talk to ourselves, instead of interacting with the one that Jesus told us to “Go” out into. (Hey, look! A draw for a free Spurgeon bobblehead!).

The article points out, correctly, that we can find all the best bits of Peterson, in books. But the realities of physical human existence and community require more than that. Truth must be embodied. Peterson is very attractive, because he’s not just writing books and throwing them over the fence. I’d say that he’s actually exposing some of our rot. We can see what’s possible – and what we’ve failed to do.

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