Who are the Protestant thinkers?

November 13, 2005

Through my reading of “A Theory of Everything” I’ve been able to learn more about the group of philosophers, religious scholars, scientists and businessmen that are involved around the world in an attempt to create an integral vision of spirituality, business and science.

One thing that’s struck me as odd is that every single time Christians are mentioned in the process of thought and work being done, it’s always Catholic Priests or Catholic Monks who are involved.

I’m talking about people like Brother David Steindll-Rast, a Benedictine Monk who has been one of the key figures in the Buddhist-Christian dialogue worldwide. He now works through greatfulness.org, “an interactive website where visitors from over two hundred countries have an opportunity to light a virtual candle in an exercise of mindfulness, serenity, and solidarity.”

People like Wayne Teasdale, who served his entire life in seeking common grounds between different religions and faith practices. He was a member of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue and helped draft their Universal Declaration of Nonviolence.

Mother Theresa and John Paul II also showed compassion, brotherly love and genuine interest in other religions and in developing a true conversation with other branches of faith around the world.

Where are the protestants in all of this? They are never mentioned and it makes me wonder what are the causes of this absence.

Is it that protestants are the people who live most in fear? If so, what are they afraid of?

Take a man like Brian McLaren for example. I think “A New Kind of Christian” does not deserve the attention it’s been given because the type of Christian the book portrays as “new” should be the average regular christian.

Let’s look at some of the characteristics of Neo in his book:

A thinker. He’s a scientist. He’s a teacher. He’s not afraid of using his brain and having his own opinion. (He has his own opinion regarding evolution, for example).

A lover. He’s kind to his students. He’s kind to his brethren in church. He loves his pastor. He loves people of other branches of the church. He loves his non-christian friends (he really loves them, he doesn’t have an undercover plan to later on convert them, but genuine and honest love).

A believer. He’s passionate about Jesus and his father God. He loves God. He knows God loves him. He knows he’s involved in a relationship with God.

A student of the Bible. He knows his Bible like the palm of his hand. He likes reading it and interpreting it in the light of history. He likes trying to bring those stories to his life and his reality. He likes think about what the Bible is saying to him.

Is this type of Christian worth all the attention he’s been given? Is Neo a character in a book that’s so strange for protestants that he deserves all that buzz? I think what’s most different about Neo is that he thinks, and that’s what’s caused all the trouble.

He is not disconnected from this God given brain. He uses all the power he has to think things through, to meditate, to learn and study and become a good man.

I can’t believe Brian McLaren has been having to deal with so much criticism just by saying things like “love your Catholic brothers.” Can you imagine if he had, as Brother David Steindll-Rast, been involved in loving conversations with the Buddhist tradition? Well, if some people think McLaren deserves hell just for portraying a character in a book who’s merely loving and tolerant of christians, his family and friends, I don’t know if there’s a level of punishment they’d think he’d deserve.

Who are the protestant thinkers? What are their names? Have your read their books? If you know of some, please let me know. I really want to know who they are.

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10 Responses to “Who are the Protestant thinkers?”

  1. dionpugil Says:

    🙂

    I’ll then might as well add David here.

    And Darla and husband. I’ve read some pretty strong loving stuff in their blogs.

    I just hope we all wake up to reality.

  2. Seraphim Says:

    hmm. IT may be that the Roman Catholics are more ‘universal’ and open to ideas where Christ isn’t the only ‘exclusive’ way.

    I was once in a depate with one of the EWTN scholars about Jesus being the only way to God. Once he realized that was what I was going on about he said, “Oh, well the Catholic Church has never taught Jesus is the Only Way”

    This may be why you are seeing so many Catholic’s and very few Protestants.

    LYB

  3. dionpugil Says:

    I think you’re right. So does this mean that Protestants are against being at least friendly to other religious traditions of the world?

  4. Seraphim Says:

    I don’t think it’s so much that Protestants are against being ‘friendly to other religious traditons’ but hmm, how to say…

    there is a point where rather than converting, you are being converted. and when you feel that the message you have, is in fact THE message of the Gospel intrusted to you by God…

    it is difficult to be secure in that and be able to dialogue with others.

    imho

    LYB

    Seraphim

  5. Seraphim Says:

    Gaston, you said:

    Is this type of Christian worth all the attention he’s been given? Is Neo a character in a book that’s so strange for protestants that he deserves all that buzz? I think what’s most different about Neo is that he thinks, and that’s what’s caused all the trouble.

    I think what causes Neo to be an issue is because of what you say here:

    knows his Bible like the palm of his hand. He likes reading it and interpreting it in the light of history.

    Do we judge the Bible? Or do we allow it to judge us? Alot of the problems I see with Protantism is because of Scholasticism. The idea that if we read, and read and read we will be able to understand all we need to know about God and understand everything he has for us.

    LYB

    Seraphim

  6. dionpugil Says:

    Interesting Seraphim. I’ll think about this.

  7. Linda from the Ooze Says:

    Hi Gaston. I’m not totally sure who’s considered a theologian and who isn’t, but Dietrich Bonhoeffer definitely comes to mind. Glad I finally found your english blog.

  8. dionpugil Says:

    Thanks for pointing him out. I’ll check him for sure.

  9. Anne Says:

    I haven’t read Bonhoeffer – I watched a documentary about him instead, but he seems like a great recommendation. Henri Nouwen came to mind, but then I remembered that he converted to Catholicism. How interesting that you and I were both blogging about David Steindl-Rast. His gratefulness.org web site is one of my favorites, and it seems the more I read, the more Catholic I feel I am truly called to be. Perhaps one day again…


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