Being There

Derek Melleby has started a series on necalvinism, and that got me thinking. Neocalvinism seems to be a distinctly academic adventure, with the loudest voices being professors and other involved in higher education. In fact, Derek quotes Byron Borger’s thoughts on the subject, and he hammers home one of the goals of neocalvinism:

we need to re-think the inner structures of each academic discipline which shape each area of life.

So then, does this mean that I’ve missed the boat? I’ve got no access to those academic, or, should I say, I’ve got no access to change them. So where does that leave me? Am I not a neocalvinist because I’m in the private sector? Am I something else entirely? But Borger also describes the reformational aspects of neocalvinism this way:

A word coined to describe a new brand of Calvinists who take the ideas of the Protestant Reformation beyond theology and abstract debates about the nature of the atonement and church life and rather seek to bring about Christian cultural change and social transformation.

While philosophical change does often come from the ivory tower, it’s also easy for the debate to become abstract, even when the topic is transforming culture. Utlimately, culture has to be changed, and that takes more than academicians to bring about that change. And, of course, one of the founders of neocalvinism, Abraham Kuyper, was more than just an academic — as Derek points out, he was a pastor, the president of a university, the editor/publisher of a national newspaper, and the prime minister of the Netherlands. While Kuyper was a brilliant intellectual who’s lectures and papers did brings about a change in the philosophical landscape of his country, he was also out in culture, applying his thought to his actions.

This, of course, opens a whole different discussion — what should neocalvinism look like, out in the wild? We like to see the great Christian struggle with the secular world as some sort of battle, and while sometimes it is, it doesn’t always need to be. Often though, the battle involves nothing more than being there, doing our thing, being a part of culture in a positive way (much like Kuyper was). Philosophical change without postive action will result in nothing more than interesting reading for future generations.