I know its two weeks ago, but I want to write a point of clarification re the Bell v Packer post .
My aim was not to compare a previous generation (that had 'higher reading') to the current generation (that has 'dumbed down'). Not at all. Anyone who knows me knows that I have never been a particularly great reader, nor am I a thinker, and I'm certainly no academic. I had to marry one to feel better about that deficiency in my development. :)
And I also know plenty of students here in the US and in Australia who are profoundly careful and wise about who they learn from and who they read, as the comments pointed out.
I am asking, though, if there have been any significant shift in the last 20 years.
I guess I just wondered how and why it is that we place a good man like Rob Bell in center stage on academic issues. Why are we now turning to Mark Driscoll for 'Christology'? And Rob Bell for 'Jesus in his Jewish Context'? And Brian McLaren to tell us about 'Major Cultural Shifting'? I'm sure they all have good thoughts, and good popular ways of teaching those thoughts. But have we put these guys in over their own heads? I hope not. That would be no fun for them.
Maybe nothing has changed. But if it has, what has changed? I think that the answer is, in part, New Media.
Sam R wrote asks some questions about New Media HERE.
(I'm not out to criticize New Media. If anything, we need to get the guys who still use typewriters to start using their 'puters.)
I guess my point is not that we ought to be reading 'higher' (which could be simply elitism), but it is this: That local regular pastors are now being treated as though they are ground-breaking global scholars. And we are looking to these guys to 'repaint the faith' (to use Bell's terms), or to give us a 'new kind of Christianity' (to use McLaren's term). Of course, I have no problem with Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll et al doing what they do as a pastor in their local communities. They ought to pastor their churches by speaking the truth in love. And their communities can debate and speak personally with them about any new and fresh thoughts.
That’s how community works.
But with the iPod, its global. Anyone and everyone can 'choose' Bell while joggin' or catchin' the train. Heck, you can listen to Bell on your way to and from church on the same text that your own pastor just bumbled his way through! :)
But then do we leave behind the books and reflections of the people who, over decades of work, debate and study, have been proven and tested to 'know their stuff'?
Does that still sound elitist? I sincerely hope not, and I apologize in advance if it does...