Friday, May 4, 2007

Escape From Reason, Francis Shaeffer

I just finished reading this book and was taken by Shaeffer's admonition at the end:

"The reason we often cannot speak to our children, let alone other people's, is because we have never taken time to understand how different their thought-forms are from ours. Through Reading and education and the whole modern cultural bombardment of mass media, even today's middle-class children are becoming thoroughly twentieth-century in outlook. In crucial areas many Christian parents, ministers and teachers are as out of touch with many of the children of the church, and the majority of those outside, as though they were speaking a foreign language.

So what is said in this book is not merely a matter of intellectual debate. It is not of interest only to academics. It is utterly crucial for those of us who are serious about communicating the Christian gospel in the twentieth century."

Sadly there doesn't seem to have been much change since these words were penned in 1968, but I do think I see some stirrings in the Body of Christ... perhaps.


Jon said...

I just finished reading that myself a few weeks ago. That's one reason I like Doug Groothuis so much--he understands the culture. Scarily enough, he isn't taken in by it--if you have ever heard him lecture, it is not flashy or "entertaining" (although he is funny at times), but he engages people nonetheless. He knows how to talk to people, to get right to the core of who they are and what they believe. And he does it all without TV.

I think, too, that many of "our children" of whom Schaeffer speaks haven't taken the time to understand their thought-forms either. They either go along with the flow, blissfully ignorant, or fatalistically assume that postmodernism (or whatever) is the only viable option, to which you must adhere.

I, for one, want to continue Schaeffer's legacy.

danny wright said...

I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time one on one with Dr. Groothuis, as well as to hear him preach at out church, and I completely agree with your assessment. It was during our conversations that I began o be interested in Schaeffer. He mentioned in passing that he had a blog, though, it was that mention that prompted me to began reading his blog, and then to start this one. While he was with us during a working sabbatical, his actions went far beyond that of an academic, and there was an evident love for our congregation, and especially the New Americans. (This is what the African refugee population that attends our church prefers to be called) I can honestly say that he was fulfilling Schaeffer’s hopes as he challenged those normally predisposed to shy away from the so thought of “academic”, as well as challenged the more “academic” to bridge the “gap”- so to speak- in communicating to the young and the lost in their language, the language of this secular culture.

Jonathan Erdman said...

That's an interesting side to Doug that I really haven't seen, having never met him personally. The majority of his posts tend to be critical and somewhat dismissive of culture. I respect his thought and desire to communicate through a blog, but I often differ on his read of culture. Because Doug isolates himself from major elements of media I think he sometimes lacks the ability to relate to those who are absorbed in the culture. Nothing wrong (or right) about this. I think it gives Doug his niche.

Jon said...


Dr. Groothuis is only "curmudgeony" on the outside. I don't agree with his total renunciation of certain aspects of culture, but I have endeavored to watch less TV since I met him, which I think is a good thing. I think you are right, though--that's his niche. My niche requires that I watch "Lost". It's tough, but it must be done...

Jonathan Erdman said...

Amen, brother! My calling is 24!