John Mark Reynolds, 2004.
Christian academics are paid decent money to work at faith based institutions. Many of these institutions have statements of faith that they ask their faculty to sign. Others ask their faculty to agree to codes of conduct. Of course, both ideas would cause system crashes in the operation of secular universities. The idea that one could believe in anything is bad enough, but regulating conduct? Surely you jest. Now worrying about secular colleagues is wrong headed if you are at a Christian school. Having invented the University, Christians need not worry about the folk busy turning the university into a multiversity. While showing respect for their scholarship, we are still called to be in the world, but not of it. We are often too good at the “in” and not so good at the “not of.” Christians should be encouraged knowing that their worldview is true and though it is always seemingly losing, this losing is always to some new ideology every century.
Still there is a certain sort of weak in the knees Christian professor, who wishes to deny the faith without losing his job. Often he views his calling as helping his poor students out grow the “simple” faith of the parents who pay his salary. This sort of academic is best recognized by his loathing of the actual people who pay his bills. He looks at Christendom and sees reactionaries. He looks at UCLA and sees the Promised Land.
CV is academic speak for a resume. Getting a good CV leads to good careers in the academy. This is the all consuming goal of the sell-out Christian academic. Papers. More paper. Add to the CV. He is the sort of kid who knew his SAT score and managed to tell you every day. CV, as we shall call this Christian academic, crushes the poor conservative student with his reading and accomplishments. CV will help them grow. No time for prayer. No time for devotions. CV must add to his CV. CV believes he has many good traits. He is very, very brave. He speaks up boldly against James Dobson and loves to snort derisively at the Left Behind series. He never attacks Dr. Phil or feels superior to airport book rack novels. Those might be favored by his secular friends. Christian television disturbs him mightily, while he watches secular television. He sees nuance in everything and is “subtle” never simplistic. A typical comment in class might run like this, “Ah, yes. So it would seem. And yet the Bible is more subtle than such a simplistic reading would indicate. Nuance must not escape you. Things are rarely so black and white.” CV wishes to be paid a great deal of Christian money while moaning about his sacrifice for the Kingdom. CV has an imaginary career at Yale that he is always inferring his job at Acme Christian College forced him to pass on. He is doing everyone a favor by being there. The standards at Acme cause him pain. CV is sadly “burned out” with his job which allows him to do less and less. His classes are still well attended. . . since his grading is fairly easy and he says “wild things” all the time that attack the Christian establishment. Like parasites, vermin, he lives off his host school and gives back nothing. Sadly such Christian vermin can be dangerous to the health of anyone who gets infected.
How to flush out CV? Ask the following:
1. Who is the last person in your profession to whom you shared the gospel?
2. What was the last stand you took in print at a professional meeting that cut against the grain of the profession but affirmed traditional Christian values?
3. Have any of your secular colleagues ever said, “Most Christians are idiots, but you are not?” If they did, were you disturbed or did you get a glow of satisfaction?
4. Does the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind describe your view of the church? Or did you think it might be bit, well, simplistic? Even once?
5. Do you read your Bible every day? What did you read today? What was God saying out of it?
How do I know this person so well? Ah, dear blog reader, if I am not careful such a man am I. Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.