Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Lord Of Universities?

Dallas Willard, the spirituality/marketplace sensei, (also mentor of JP Moreland) wrote this insightful article that reminds us as Jesus' apprentices that we are not 'alone' in the best of academic and scholarly settings of today... He is the "Lord of universities and research institutes, of the creative disciplines and scholarship"

Is Jesus the maestro of interior decorating? Systems design?
Do you see Him as your mentor in, say, engineering?
Would he be the greatest char koay teow Chef in SS2 and beyond? hehehe...

It's interesting as I am exploring this area as a primer for some university students to affirm them that Jesus is with them in whatever discipline they are in, and He's there not only 'spiritually' but also in their vocational life too :)

Some selective excerpts from Willard's article about Jesus the logician:

There is in our culture an uneasy relation between Jesus and intelligence, and I have actually heard Christians respond to my statement that Jesus is the most intelligent man who ever lived by saying that it is an oxymoron...

Now this fact has important implications for how we today view his relationship to our world and our life--especially if our work happens to be that of art, thought, research or scholarship. How could he fit into such a line of work, and lead us in it, if he were logically obtuse? How could we be his disciples at our work, take him seriously as our teacher there, if when we enter our fields of technical or professional competence we must leave him at the door? Obviously some repositioning is in order...

His use of logic is always enthymemic... it enlists the mind of the hearer or hearers from the inside, in a way that full and explicit statement of argument cannot do.

Jesus' aim in utilizing logic is not to win battles, but to achieve understanding or insight in his hearers... That is, he does not try to make everything so explicit that the conclusion is forced down the throat of the hearer. Rather, he presents matters in such a way that those who wish to know can find their way to, can come to, the appropriate conclusion as something they have discovered--whether or not it is something they particularly care for.

...And so he typically aims at real inward change of view that would enable his hearers to become significantly different as people through the workings of their own intellect. They will have, unless they are strongly resistant to the point of blindness, the famous "eureka" experience, not the experience of being outdone or beaten down...

It is not just in what we say about him, but in how he comes before out minds: how we automatically position him in our world, and how in consequence we position ourselves. We automatically think of him as having nothing essentially to do with 'profane' knowledge, with learning and logic, and therefore find ourselves 'on our own' in such areas.

We should, I believe, understand that Jesus would be perfectly at home in any professional context where good work is being done today. He would, of course, be a constant rebuke to all the proud self-advancement and the contemptuous treatment of others that goes on in professional circles. In this as in other respects, our professions are aching for his presence.

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