Giftedness vs. Expertise (Jesus vs. Plato series)

In the church, we often face a clash of paradigms for understanding whose opinion to trust (usually regarding the question of how to make our churches grow or at least stop shrinking, since that’s the desperate question most churches are obsessed with). On the one hand, there are experts, who have worldly credentials such as Ph.D.’s and C.V.’s and work for think-tanks or institutes that we think merit our respect and attention. On the other hand there are prophets, people whom God has presumably given a word to share with us, but they are usually entirely ordinary people with no worldly training or credentials upon which to stake their credibility. Continue reading

Love and Detachment (Jesus vs. Plato series)

Today as I was taking my customary Monday fast and walk around Burke Lake, I stopped and opened up a book of writings by Maximus the Confessor, a Christian monk who lived from 580-662 AD. I opened up to an essay called the “Four Hundred Chapters on Love” (which is four hundred paragraphs according to today’s terminology but anyway). Here’s how the essay opens:

Love is a good disposition of the soul by which one prefers no being to the knowledge of God. It is impossible to reach the habit of this love if one has any attachment to earthly things. Continue reading