A writing colleague posted a link to a list of 25 Influential Atheists today. I found it most distressing for a lot of reasons. I’ve researched for the last half hour, looking for a foil to that list, something like: 25 Influential Christians, Prominent Thinking Christians…anything.
(The best I found was an early 2000’s TIMES photo essay depicting 25 of America’s Top Evangelicals. A fairly impressive list, but containing few scholars. And shortly after, one of those, Ted Haggard, had a rather public failure that likely knocked him off any such list for the near future. )
I made it through our denominational Christian Liberal Arts college and earned a (da, da, da, dum!) bachelor’s degree in Sacred Literature. I still don’t recall any actual Sacred Literature in the three-year program. Psychology, Sociology, English, Western Civilization, Music History…sheesh. Not even any Bible courses, likely my own choice at the time, though you’d think that those would have been core courses and required for graduation.
I’m not mocking my alma mater (and the degree is no longer offered), simply my once-fond assumptions that a degree, any degree, would make me a “thinking Christian”.
Oh, I may have thought myself a thinker at one time. Sometimes, depending on the hormones, I imagine I can think. I think well in spurts, like a whale spouts. But do I do it well enough and long enough to result in a life or a collection of words that might nudge anyone toward faith?
My last book has a teacup on the cover. I love that cover. There may be more covers like it. People love that cover, they tell me, and they love what’s inside the book. But nevertheless, there’s a teacup on the cover. And cookies. Lilacs, too, and chubby bare feet.
And echoing in my ears is this quote from Elizabeth Elliott:
If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you. But if you actually make them think, they’ll hate you.
Now that I’m a grandmother to four nearby grandchildren under five, I find myself struggling to keep a modicum of intelligence in my faith columns and broadcasts, and any other articles I write—for any followers who have kept patience with me thus long.
Back to the list. Surely there are, somewhere out there, alive, 25 Thinking Christians, who are doing great damage to Satan’s kingdom, and who are equally respected and known OUTSIDE the church. And if not, oh, Lord, the atheists are winning hands down in the public arena.