The Church Needs More “Well Informed Generalists”

By Faith Magazine has a great interview with Ken Meyers, that smart guy who is the voice and brains behind the Mars Hill Audio Journal.  I subscribe to the MP3 download of MHAJ and am always fascinated by the people and topics that Ken brings together for what I find to be a brain-stimulating, soul-shaping conversation.  It’s a great way to think a little deeper about culture from a biblical worldview.

Here are a couple of nuggets from the interview that I found intriguing:

What do eating habits, film noir, reptiles, human cloning, Facebook, economics, and poetry and have to do with the Christian life? “Everything,” Ken Myers would argue, and does, thoughtfully and audibly, at least every other month. For Myers—the living library behind the Mars Hill Audio Journal—what the church needs today is not more specialists, whether in theology or philosophy or church growth, but more “well-informed generalists” who are interested in understanding all of culture in order to live more faithfully in God’s world.

I believe in common grace. Calvin says, “if any ungodly man has said anything true, we should not reject it, for it also has come from God.” Calvin was a firm believer that not only is God sovereign over the church, but He gives gifts to people who aren’t in the church, and those are gifts that the church can benefit from.

Wendell Berry says we need to attend to the intrinsic meaning of things: “What is needed is work of durable value; the time or age of it matters only after the value of it has been established.” So it’s the value of the thing itself, not whether or not it’s contemporary. Of course it’s good to be aware of the shape of what is contemporary, but that’s no reason to give it the benefit of the doubt.

One of my favorite subjects lately has been the relationship between the fifth commandment and youth culture. The fifth commandment seems to me to presuppose that human societies flourish most when there is intergenerational continuity and unity. So the very idea of youth culture is an attack on the assumptions about reality that are embedded in the fifth commandment.

Q. It seems ironic that you often commend older perspectives and practices, but you use a very new technological format.

The real irony is that the spoken word is more primitive than the printed word. So this is a technology that enables the recovery of a more primitive experience. I just did an interview about this with Craig Gay, who argues that hearing is the sense that the Scriptures focus on most. It’s the word heard. So there’s a sense in which the spoken word is more fundamental to our humanity.

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