DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Vanity. All is Vanity.

Written by: on April 18, 2015

Reading through this week’s book, A Brief Guide To Ideas By Raeper and Edwards I was reminded of two things. First, it left me in awe of God’s sovereignty. This book is a brief walk through the history of thought from the Ancient Greeks to today. This walk left me in awe in the sense that it once again points out that humanity was created with the capacity to do good and to think things through, but unfortunately in our thought process we marginalize God, who should be at the center of it all, and yet He continues to walk along side humanity no matter how beautiful or depraved her thoughts are. I am in awe of a God who knows our thoughts and yet chooses to be in relationship with us. He knows and yet… wow!

The book mentions (p36) that in the 1200’s there was a shift in the center of studies. It moved from monasteries to universities. My second thought is this; I wonder what the world would look like if the centers of study remained in the monasteries and churches rather then have them moved into universities and learning centers. At one time things were taught by religious leaders, through a religious lens but now it’s in the hands of scholars with specific but often gospel contradicting agendas. I’m not saying that the religious leaders were always right… or even that this was the right way to do this, I just wonder how this small shift changed the way that we think and live and pay for our education.

This book also reminded me of some great thinkers that I have yet to read read, or haven’t read in a while. It caused me to pick up some of Kierkegaard’s writings and was reminded of the richness and depth of his thinking.

From Plato to Thomas Aquinas, from Luther to Bonhoeffer, things changed but people continue to struggle with the same things… the human condition has pretty much remained the same for the most part, with the exception of an even deeper selfishness and quest for personal satisfaction at all cost.

Reading this book reminded me of the book of Ecclesiastes… the more things change the more they stay the same. Ideas and thoughts might be wrapped in new packaging, but at the end of the day, humanity struggles with the same old questions. Isn’t it fascinating?

About the Author

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Stefania Tarasut

8 responses to “Vanity. All is Vanity.”

  1. Liz Linssen says:

    Dear Stefania
    I do like your point where you ask how things would be now in the West if the centre of education had remained in monasteries and churches. Yes, indeed. How different things could have been. Here in the UK there are a considerable number of ancient buildings once used for such purposes. Even across the street from where I live, there are the remains of an ancient chapel, originating from the 12th century or so. Oh, how times have changed! But surely God can still work even today. As you say, humans don’t change much. Is our condition not reversible?

  2. Stefania,

    Thanks for your thoughtful post. I love your thoughts and questions. Yes, what would it have been like if the switch from religion to scholarship hadn’t happened? This is an important question.

    I work in an institution of higher education. And sometimes I wonder about some of my colleagues who seem to live in glass towers or academia. Some of them are clueless about real life and real people. This sometimes makes me angry, but even more, it makes me sad. Sometimes higher education can be a waste of time if it is not connected to reality. I cannot function that way, so I tend to be an outlier on the faculty. But I am OK with that.

    I love being in our LGP program and being with our down-to-earth cohort members. This has become a great gift to me, a gift I will miss when we have completed our program. I hope we will all keep in touch after we are finished. Perhaps we could set up a monthly chat. I think that would be amazing! What do you think?

  3. Michael Badriaki says:

    Hi Stefania, like you perspective and questions here. You caused me to think of the shift and it’s probable effects when you write, “I wonder what the world would look like if the centers of study remained in the monasteries and churches rather then have them moved into universities and learning centers. At one time things were taught by religious leaders, through a religious lens but now it’s in the hands of scholars with specific but often gospel contradicting agendas.” I think that it could be that the contradicting agendas are what have sorta led that way for a pluralistic society. I think that if the shift had not gone to the hands of university professors, it would ended up some where. Perhaps in the hands of monastery and church scholars. History shows that church scholars where highly involved in creating most of the universities we have today, which continue to evolve as well.

    Thanks for the inviting me to listen and think along!

  4. Telile Fikru Badecha says:

    Stefania, Thanks for sharing your insight. I would agree with your assessment regarding the human condition… It is unfortunate most ministry leaders are also gripped with ‘selfishness and quest for personal satisfaction at all cost.’ May the Lord give us understanding in all things.

  5. mm rhbaker275 says:

    Stefania,
    Thanks for your post
    I … like you and others in the cohort, have thought about faith and reason as it is so often juxtaposed as religion and science; theology and philosophy; or truth and myth. Raeper and Smith begin by reviewing ideas on “knowledge and reason” and “faith and reason.” They come back to the subject many times and in different ways throughout the book. The ideas in part 11, “Science and Belief” particularly apply to this subject. There are many examples, briefly stated, of ideas that have drawn people of faith/reason to reflect on what they believe and how it impacts their view of the world. I am not, I would say, a fundamental creationist but neither do I subscribe to most of the premise and few of the conclusions of evolutionary thinking. I think the ideas the authors present in chapter 21, “Creation and Evolution,” on scientific knowledge and religious knowledge are very convincing.

    Concerning the development or acquisition of knowledge in the academy or the monastery, there is a noticeable way to distinguish the difference. Many of the emerging countries in the world today did not experience the enlightenment as the West understands it nor was their faith scrutinized under the scientific microscope – scientific process. When we recognize the Pentecostal, charismatic faith of the global South, East and throughout Africa, we have a glimpse of faith transforming culture. The West has a lot of baggage; it would do us well to throw some of it off.

  6. Richard Volzke says:

    Stefania,

    I liked how you brought out that things change, but people don’t. In general, we are still as corrupt and sinful than at the time of the fall of Adam and Eve, if not more so. Humans may have developed technology and discovered things that ancient man could not have dreamed of, but we still kill and destroy each other just like others throughout history.

    Richard

  7. Miriam Mendez says:

    Stefania, you mention, that “Ideas and thoughts might be wrapped in new packaging, but at the end of the day, humanity struggles with the same old questions.” I wonder what are the new packaging we are using these days? What are the questions that humanity continues to struggle with? Why? Thanks for causing me to think and ask questions.

  8. mm Clint Baldwin says:

    It is oddly encouraging sometimes that the more things change the more they stay the same. With the amount of varied information that is constantly thrown at us, it is refreshing to remember that there are timeless truths (and harms) that continue to flow — we just need to repackage them sometimes to make them palatable. The forms can change, but if we know the deeper meanings and listen for just a bit, we can pick-up the conversation and begin to pretty quickly be able to substantively add to the dialogue.

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