Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thinking in Centuries

The pope is in America, and this has generated all kinds of media coverage and commentary. As a conservative Catholic thinker, this pope is committed to many beliefs which I hold to be biblically and historically wrong. These differences between us are of the most profound nature and have eternal consequences. Nevertheless, George Weigel gave one description of Pope Benedict which I believe we can learn from. Weigel writes, "Benedict XVI thinks in centuries."

How I wish contemporary Protestants would think the same way. Our contemporary idea of being relevant and authentic is doing what feels immediately beneficial to the individual, stripped of all social, historical, and theological context. We feel like we are making a long-range plan if we think about our individual lives and ministries 10 years down the road. Therefore, our ministry tends to reinforce the very "social imagination" (to borrow from Charles Taylor) and social practice which is corrosive to Christian belief and practice. American conservative Protestants have done a great deal to undermine the faith because we do not think in centuries.

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