In Ken Schenck's recent post, he mentions
The divide between the academy and the grassroots church seems larger than ever. The academy has a tendency to be dismissive because it knows stuff, but the popular church has its own interests and is making itself heard. I have long mourned the seeming inability of the two to communicate with each other. They both need each other.
A lot of scholarly banter is the process of sorting through ideas, so I suppose much of the process of this sort of scholarship does not end up going anywhere. Probably most papers at SBL, IBR (Institute for Biblical Research), or ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) end up unhelpful to anyone but the presenter.
- I'd like to see the academy more interested in the life and teachings of Jesus. I have wondered whether the search for fresh material is the driving force behind neglecting the one thing needful?
- I'd like to see the academy more interested in reading the Bible on its own terms. The deep-dives into historical context seemed meant to empower us to read the Bible on its own terms, yet (to the outsider here) the academy looks lost in the weeds, without coming back to read the Bible on its own terms much. When I read an academic's Bible study, it tends to dissect the material rather than magnify it.
- I'd like to see the academy exhibit more trust in the Bible to convey God's spiritual and moral guidance -- along with more interest in spiritual and moral guidance. (When is the last time we heard a well-reasoned, Scriptural warning against divisions and factionalism, for example? Or materials on repentance, forgiveness, amends?) It seems that the development of spiritual resources has often been left to those outside the family of faith -- leading to an erosion of trust, and in the sheep going elsewhere to be fed
- It looks like there is a strong tendency toward credentialism. In the history of the church, there has been a steady stream of saints and spiritual leaders who were from the community rather than the academy. With modern credentialing and publishing, is the academy cutting off some of the church's resources?