Rankin File

Ruminations, fulminations, and cogitations on the spiritual life

A Stunting Pragmatism

I’ve been bothered for a long time by the impatience that many Christians seem to show about the intellectual content part of the faith.   Since I’m a college professor, I could be a suspect for the “intellectual elitism” charge.  I hope it’s not true of me, and I think it is not.  

I’m reading a book about St. Augustine, just good and started.  In describing Augustine’s spiritual vision, the author, Thomas Martin, writes, “Augustine concludes his arguably most profound theological exploration, On the Trinity, with a prayer, one that serves as a vivid reminder that for [Augustine] not only are spirituality and theology inseparable, but that both are deeply plunged into the mystery of God,” (Martin, Our Resltess Heart, p. 51).   

Theology and spirituality are inseparably linked.  I totally agree.  Our pragmatism, our hurry, gets in the way of effective Christian spirituality.  You don’t have to be a “great theologian” to think deeply, theologically.  Slowing down to think cannot but help.  

I’m not interested in turning everybody into contemplatives.  Some people are just plain doers.  But even they need to slow down and think.  I believe, if we did/do, we’d have a more productive Christian life.  And maybe gain some self-awareness.  And maybe even become better witnesses.

Slowing down to think actually has a beneficial practical effect.  That’s the irony.  

What do you think?  Are American Christians too pragmatic?

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January 30, 2009 - Posted by | The Church | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Yes–we Americans are too pragmatic, and I am chief among offenders! 🙂 So much so that I want to borrow your book when you’re done!

    Comment by Ashlee Alley | February 4, 2009 | Reply


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