Not even with the Holy Ghost Can They Help Themselves

Scott Culpepper (via John Fea) lets Christian academics know they are spay-shill:

Christian scholars are indeed a subversive influence. Critics are right in labeling us a subversive influence if what they mean is that we subvert the subordination of facts to falsehoods calculated to sway popular opinion, the substitution of shallow shibboleths for deeper reflection, and the sacrifice of principle on the profane altar of political expediency. And there will be a greater need for us to keep on subverting these things with all the energy we can muster in the age of Trump.

The times call for renewed conviction, creativity and courage on the part of Christian scholars. The masses may not know they need us, but they need us. The endorsement of popular influence as a virtue in the framing of our American republic was predicated on the hope that education and character formation would equip people to exercise their rights intelligently. No one is better prepared than Christian scholars and the institutions they serve to provide this kind of education infused with serious attention to character formation.

In a time when forces abound that pressure Christian scholars to adopt a posture of compliance to fit in, we need more than ever to stand up and stand out unapologetically. All clouds pass in time. When they do, a new generation will build on either the ruins or the foundations of the past. That generation sits in our classrooms today. We have the opportunity to model something very different from what they are seeing on the national stage in both church and state. May Christian scholars in the age of Trump have the courage to give the masses what benefits them rather than what has been mandated in their name.

I’d be a lot more impressed with such a call if it included challenging the New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker, and elite professors at really rich universities. But since all of these institutions are already in full-phase opposition to Trump, how does an argument like this not simply show someone to be jumping on the bandwagon — and, oh by the way — not one of the 81%. Isn’t it the job of Christian intellectuals to be subversive across the board?

I’d be even more impressed if Christian scholars had hyperventilated about drone strikes that kill civilians (one of them American).

3 thoughts on “Not even with the Holy Ghost Can They Help Themselves

  1. Sorry, but ‘Subversive’ isn’t support for modeling something very different from what they are seeing on the national stage in both church and state . That’s what Francis has been doing for three years, which is why he is the darling of the media establishment. Subversive is supporting single authorship for Isaiah, or an Independent Project class on the Wrath of God instead of ‘The Wrath of Khan.’ Not what you’ll find at CCCU conferences, ‘Her.meneutics,’ or your local ‘Theology on Tap,’ and actually subversive i. Unlike pink pussy stocking caps or synodal docs.


  2. “Scott Culpepper, Associate Professor of History at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. Culpepper teaches courses on the early modern Atlantic World and Religion in American Culture. He holds a Ph.D. from Baylor University”

    With a resume like that the “age of Trump” is surely doomed. I don’t think an associate professor or anyone else at Dordt College is going to be “challenging the New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker, and elite professors at really rich universities.” He can’t even challenge Liberty University. Or Bob Jones University. At least from his mighty perch at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.

    If the 81% of white Evangelical voters rejected the advice of superstar celebrities like Russell Moore, Ed Stetzer, and Thabiti Anyabwile why would they listed to an associate professor from Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa. They didn’t even listen to the great Miroslav Volf either.

    One pleasant and unexpected benefit of Election 2016 was the revelation that Christian Public Intellectuals are useless and irrelevant in the Naked Public Square. They’re akin to house pets that cannon survive in the cold wilderness or mean streets. Let them have their conferences, podcasts, declarations, speeches, professorships at middlebrow colleges, debates, and blogs.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Christian masses will continue doing the hard work necessary to save our precious Western Christendom and Make America Great Again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Or as the great Professor Fish once said, “Save the World on Your Own Time“:

    What should be the role of our institutions of higher education? To promote good moral character? To bring an end to racism, sexism, economic oppression, and other social ills? To foster diversity and democracy and produce responsible citizens?” “In Save the World on Your Own Time, Stanley Fish argues that, however laudable these goals might be, the only goal appropriate to the academy is the transmission and advancement of knowledge. When teachers offer themselves as moralists, political activists, or agents of social change rather than as credentialed experts in a particular subject and the methods used to analyze it, they abdicate their true purpose. And yet professors now routinely bring their political views into the classroom and seek to influence the political views of their students. Those who do this will often invoke academic freedom, but Fish argues that academic freedom, correctly understood, is the freedom to do the academic job, not the freedom to do any job that comes into the professor’s mind.

    Sounds eerily similar to someone else’s call to live hyphenated lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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