Knowledge is like Kryptonite to the Western Mind…

knowledge and the university


That response got me to thinking…

And that’s growth…right? #ThanksBeToGod

You see, I understand more about the American Way…and this is just it…

Exhibit A…of the American Way.

It’s our appeal to anti-intellectualism…

It permeates our Society. And it’s killing us slowly…

A little more quickly of late, it seems.

Now, of course, at first glance this doesn’t seem anti-intellectual, right…?

It’s an appeal to the culture that says we must shame anything that has been touched by Donald Trump.

But that – in and of itself – is anti-intellectual…it’s a posture that renders anything and everything to be corrupt simply because it resembles something done by Trump – or Trump supporters.

It’s a judgement that is made without thought or consideration of facts, realities and context. Like acid reflux, we simply reject it…whatever it is.

On so many levels we abhor knowledge. We don’t want to engage with knowledge. We don’t love wisdom to the point where we have an intentional desire to pursue it.

There’s no romance for the pursuit of knowledge…

People just want to know how to “tap dat” knowledge…

And that creates the issue I guess Grey was trying to get at in his response to my tweet.

It was an allusion to Trump University

I guess somehow, I was going to pimp my priesthood in order to scam people into thinking they were going to get to the Promised Land…

I’m sorry that I had been around him for years as classmates, and never effectively conveyed my theology.

Grey, I’m sorry for failing to share my love for the faith with you during our tenure in seminary…

I had to find where I had erred…

You see: it bothered me that he would send that Tweet.

And I couldn’t figure out why, at first…

So I sat with it…and realized I was bothered by the thought that maybe I bear witness in a way that makes it even possible to consider that I would see the faith as such an opportunity for raping and pillaging the people – in Jesus’ Name…

Or, that I gave someone the impression that I would “joke” about holy things in such a way…

In either way, I was bothered.

But, I get it…

Because that’s what happened with Trump University.

Trump built this reputation as a real estate mogul…a guru who could teach you how to do what he did. He slapped a label “University” on it as a seal of approval…

University meant that Donald Trump was “guaranteeing” you that you could be like him…that he was going to teach you the things you needed to know in order to become a real estate mogul.

And when people didn’t, the felt defrauded…

They had been promised a lifestyle that hadn’t manifested.

And I’ll let others argue the legal merits of the case…

But I want to go a little deeper…

To the very nature of our relationship to knowledge and wisdom. How we view knowledge and interact with it…

As a child, my dad would rail against education. He really had a thing against subject-centric teaching, where teachers were expected to be masters of language arts or math or the sciences, in order to teach children…

“Subject-centric teaching is destroying America,” he’d always say!

I never really understood why, but I’m getting it more and more lately.

We are educating people for a job. And in many ways, conditioning them for bondage.

Teachers don’t teach children how to think…

…how not to just regurgitate answers that have been given to them. But rather how to wrestle with ideals and realities, reconciling them to their lives…

We just teach what we need to teach to create the drones we intend on creating…

 

 

And it’s all in how we view universities…

What we want from a university…

How our Society has come to use university.

 

 

I kinda feel that intuitively…

Since I just distrust Western – White supremacist – Society, I always look at things a little deeper…

 

What is a university?

What does university mean?

 

 

My dad was always consumed with etymology…the study of words. What they mean…at their core. How they were used throughout history…how they were used at their origin…

Most times, because we’re anti-intellectual, Society has completely misused a word. And that misuse has had damning effects on our culture.

 

University is no different…

 

We have come to think of a university as someplace we go in order to be certified to get a particular job.

We go to university…send our children to university, because we have been conditioned that the university is where we need to go in order to have a better life.

And so, we don’t really want to pursue knowledge.

We just want to “tap that” knowledge…

We just wanna get some…right quick.

Just a little bit..

Just enough to fuel me for my dreams.

University is a stop on the way to your destination…right?

University is just a pit stop to accomplish what’s directly in front of me….

I mean yea…there’s an ultimate goal that isn’t directly in front of you.

You know that graduating from Wharton isn’t going to make you a Fortune 500 CEO upon graduation…

(Unless of course your family already owns a Fortune 500 company…)

 

But, graduating from a top tier business school…

…a top tier “university,” will help you accomplish the very next step in that journey. Whatever that step might be…

But life if busy.

We want to get ahead. But we have demands.

We ain’t 18 to mid-20s no more….

We got bills…

…and kids…

…and families…

And dreams…

…limited time and limited resources. And hope becomes a crap-shoot…

And all these “universities” pop up telling you they can help you…

…They can be the better pit stop on your journey.

The pit stop that conforms to their life. That helps them get one step closer to their dream.

It’s going to give them something terminal…

A quick and satisfying dose of knowledge to help them take the next step.

 

 

Generally, that’s how we see universities…

But, when I look up the etymological definition,

In the academic sense, a shortening of universitas magistrorum et scholarium “community of masters and scholars;”

So, in the truest sense of the word…

A university is a community of people who are dedicated to knowledge…to learning…

And in the sense of the Promised Land University, folk gather as community not because they need a degree in order to conform to the demands of the world…

But because they value knowledge and wisdom…because they value having a space where they can pursue those two simply for the edification of their spirit as they journey to the Promised Land.

Shouldn’t we want people of faith engaged in study simply for the desire to intentionally grow in their knowledge of holy things?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

 

Renewing your mind is actively engaging your mind in the things of God, i.e. theology as it applies to our journey of faith. And that takes study.

But Western Christianity doesn’t promote that depth of engagement – not as an institution…

Because then you’ll have to question the authority of the institution…

 

 

I think it’s important to engage intellectual discussion on the things of God…

We seriously need to really take stock of the witness of Christianity in Society…

…of our witness to Christianity in culture.

We need a community of people who are committed to thinking deeply about Christian faith and Christian living, in relation to the spirit of these times.

And those people don’t need to be simply some professor in a classroom…

Or some cleric in a pulpit.

All of us who believe could benefit from engaging in the study of holy things…

Right?

Or at least I’d like to believe you agree…

I’d like to believe that you also think that your witness to the faith could be deepened…

That for the life of the world, your witness needs to be deepened…

I’d like to believe that you too agree there must be – intellectually, in the core of our interpretation – something amiss with the Western form of Christianity…

That the faith of Christ either needs to be greater than is witnessed in our world, or needs to die and release its stranglehold on the world.

Shouldn’t we want to engage that thought? If by change we might discover our errant ways before Christ comes again?

Certainly we need to view the university differently…

Certainly, I regard it differently in my usage.

I do not proclaim that you will become a good Christian by making a pit stop to Promised Land University, at some point in your lifetime…

Rather, those who are committed to growth in wisdom about becoming the Church will have access to knowledge that is shaped and presented in ways to help their pursuit…

…to help their journey.

So yea…university.

Not for the sake of a grade or to gain some credential for salvation…

But for the mere love of God and the love of the knowledge of the things of God.

It’s counter-cultural, I know…

But if we are indeed to create a More Perfect Union and be about the work of Becoming Beloved Community, then its time to be countercultural.

Right?

Why?

Well, that’s the point of the story I was trying to tell before I got sidetracked by the residue of political sideshows on universities…

So, here’s the link to the original point about what we should expect of Christian Society: www.promisedlanduniversity.com

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