Small thinkers produce small thoughts. Roark says, to be a good thinker, one must first be a good person. I suppose this is true, since it tends to clear the calendar of ulterior machinations. It also occurs to me that a good thinker must think as much in broad principles as in minor details.
For the last fifty years or so, in Free Church life, good thinkers have succumbed to powerful forces. The thinking pool among us is a shrinking pool as a result. This fellow was "too big for his britches." That one over there risked the most horrid gamble, he was "right too soon." The legion of the "angry, unreconciled" are too great for a thousand herds of swine.
I imagine myself sitting in a clean room somewhere with a tube of poison-life running into my arm, sure to kill undying cells, at the same time destroying the auto-immunities that render one able to withstand the common germs of socio-religious life. We actually do get to name our poison.
We desperately need some good thinkers or we will transfer cards from this hot institution to that one over there, while never making a dent in the culture. A large, large church is, at best, a small portion of a community. Communal action by a collection of large churches and small bodies, what we used to call an association of churches or a convention of them, must adapt to be effective. There must be some real thinking done about how we will cooperate and with whom.
Today, I would issue a clarion call to all who would hear. Find associations around the kind of affinity groups that most mirror your heart. In so doing, you will be true to your own conscience and remove the stigma of the hypocrite from your breast.
I am looking for thinkers, true thinkers, who are not likely to ask much for themselves. Jesus was a a thinker. He let Judas keep the purse. Paul was a thinker. Visionary thinkers were not mere pedagogues, even less didactic demagogues. They demonstrated a form of nobility that made their courage seem like anger to the milksops who scurried on all fours around Rome, in search of an imperial crumb.
Courage is always necessary. The injustices of society appear irreconcilable when one considers just what is before our eyes. In fact, one of the meanest tricks of Satan is to show us the enormity of our task and then offer us a short cut. The enemy took our Lord to a high place to show Him all the nations of the world. Then, with the enormity of His task made plain, the Adversary offered Jesus a quiet, private deal. In exchange for His soul, Satan would give Him the world: no crowd, no cross, no crucifixion.
Worlds are not won so easily, nor souls saved so cheaply. Jesus, the noble thinker, would not do wrong, even if right might come of it. He accepted the discipline of the Cross rather than reverence Satan for an instant.If the Temptation Story makes any difference it must be because Jesus might have failed, or, at least, that a lesser thinker in His place would most certainly have succumbed. Jesus succeeded because He is the Ultimate Good Thinker, the Primal Good Person.