How To Think
“Everyone needs to read this book.” That was my reaction after finishing How To Think by Alan Jacobs. Jacobs, a professor in the Honors Program at Baylor University, has written a timely primer on intellectual virtues for 2018.
In the book, Jacobs helpfully describes our current reality of social media, hot takes, and polarized opinions playing to tribal loyalties. Creatively and accessibly synthesizing thought from writers such as Malcolm Gladwell, C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, and Adrien Chen, Jacobs suggests a way forward to growing as a “thinking person,” with advice such as “value learning over debate” and “Seek out the best and fairest-minded of people whose views you disagree with.” One of my favorite portions of the book involved a description of debate at the Yale Political Union as a picture of good listening, charity, and humility.
While the book is not written for a Christian audience, much of what Jacobs describes is a part of the call to love the Lord with all our minds, and the call to love our neighbors. Part of honoring the Lord with our minds and extending ourselves in hospitality to others means thinking well. Everyone may need to read this book, but it would be a glorious thing if the church led the way in living into its vision.
If you’re interested in digesting this book and its ideas in community, there is a small group of people at COTC who will be reading it together through March and gathering to discuss it. If you’d like to participate you can email Dave Moore, who had the opportunity to interview Jacobs.
I hope and pray that you have a sense of the Lord sustaining you through these Lenten weeks. If you’d like to meet up with me to hear your confession or simply to pray together don’t hesitate to let me know.
Grace and peace,