The following is a response to the Guardian Article from Nick Spencer – I ramble a bit, but was pretty frustrated after reading it . . . !
Hmm, a confusing article – assuming that academic attainment = intelligence. Question then: We had a supposed economic genius run the country into the deck . . . we now have the Eton educated cons ruining the country, elite yes – intelligent?
In addition, the more “elite” you get in a particular field – the less you know about everything else . . . from MA upwards, in just about any field . . . people end up being the world expert on stuff like the “toenails of three foot pygmies from the Baka tribe in Cameroon between 1967 and 1971” . . .
Which, of course is fasinating, but any ACTUAL use? What is more interesting (and would have made a more interesting article) are the different types of intelligence (e.g. “emotional intelligence”, Daniel Golemans book is a good place to start on that . . . or “spiritual intelligence”, Brian Draper has written on this quite a bit) . . . never ask an intellectual to comment on what “intelligence” means or implies as their view of “simple” is invariably over simplistic . . . you need to read the wisdom literature in the Old Testament, especially Proverbs, to see what Jesus (and Paul) are getting at when they talk about wisdom . . .
Humanity is so good at compartmentalising. We are “like this” and “they” are like that – therefore, they do not understand (when really we mean, WE do not understand . . . but our pride does not let us say that) I – and my vast intellect – “cannot grasp it” therefore it cannot be true . . . well to Dawkins and Hitchins and other “intellectual” big hitters for atheism, this betrays ignorance . . . not intelligence. To be fair to them, they are not different from certain streams within Christianity . . . some of our own academic institutions will not entertain certain books / writing on their courses because they do not “fit” a certain way of thinking about faith and spirituality . . . we need to raise a generation of thinkers . . . in a holistic sense, who will think (and feel) with their whole being – be as Jesus encourages us to be in John 10:10 “fully alive”, or live life to the full – not just intellectually, but emotionally, spiritually, relationally, socially . . .
True freedom in Christ is found in being freed to think, feel, love and live without that being mediated by people from a particualr perspective or worldview – when Christ died, the veil in the temple was torn in two – this space was no longer reserved for the elite . . . all, any could enter. Jesus saw two people praying . . . the “intelligent” prayer was not dismissed because of who the person was (a know it all priest), but the attitude that their “knoweldge” had grown in them as a person . . . they were stunted in their awareness of themself, had become so puffed up that they missed it . . . the simple “sinners prayer”, is not just the prayer of the simple . . . but, IS the prayer (or should be) of all of us . . .
This is the reality that the elite, the intellectual, the simple, the wise, the emotional, . . . whoever we are . . . need to realise – as Paul says, “All have fallen short”, Romans 3 verse 23.
The “simple way” is not for the simple, but for everyone . . . somehow we have let certain people hijack the conversation about faith that goes on in the public sphere, media hungry people obviosuly exist in the church – as well as generally in our culture! With greater unity, what might be achieved – not for our sake, or the sake of “our” wing of the Church . . . but for society as a whole?