5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant Diagnosis of A Severe Problem
As an evangelical pastor, I agree with the author's theme that many believers hold the mind in contempt; people want to feel, not think. Yet the emphasis of Scripture is that lives are transformed as minds are renewed (Rom.12:2).
The evangelical world is in trouble: we have a higher divorce rate and a higher bankruptcy rate than society at large. Few will address...
Published on Mar 3 2001 by Edward J. Vasicek
3.0 out of 5 stars How we think
After reading the statement on page 146, midway through the second paragraph: "But anyone who studies the biblical understanding of knowledge and knowing soon realizes that God determines how we think as well as what we think," I wonder why the need for the rest of the book. And it does seem to contradict the book's title.
"How we think" and...
Published on Mar 11 2000 by No2much
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4.0 out of 5 stars Survey of the inadequacy of evangelical thought,
This review is from: Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don't Think and What to Do About It (Paperback)Os Guinness outlines the sources of the poverty of evangelical thought in the culture. He then moves on to the culture in general and shows how evangelical are continuing to take their cues from all the wrong places.
A good book, but a difficult subject to nail down and deal with properly.
4.0 out of 5 stars A call to end flabby thinking,
This review is from: Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don't Think and What to Do About It (Paperback)I read this some years ago and its relevance has not dwindled in the mean time. Some might argue that our culture has a problem with our bodies being unfit as well and they have a legitimate point but overall, we are far more consumed with the image of fit bodies than we are about the state of our mental health. In this short book, Guinness calls the evangelical church, which continues largely to follow the lead of culture in the area of mental atrophy as in most things, to shape up our minds by knowing God's Word and cultivating critical thinking. This is not an exhaustive study and Guinness doesn't provide much for thoroughgoing solutions here but he does a good job of identifying, summarizing and tracing the development of the problem, albeit briefly. I recommend this book to those who genuinely want to cultivate a godly Christian mind but who don't yet recognize the issues we struggle with in our culture and the church of our day as well as to those who don't yet even realize there is a problem. Other good books on this topic are The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Amusing Ourselves To Death and Discipleship Of The Mind.
4.0 out of 5 stars form and style follow analysis and function,
This review is from: Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don't Think and What to Do About It (Paperback)Reading this book is part of a deliberate effort to study the relationship of reason to the Christian faith. The current subtopic is why evangelicals seem to be so anti-intellectual, this book follows: The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind , and Love Your God with All Your Mind . There are two more in the TBR pile as well: Habits of the Mind by James Sire and The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship by George Marsden, so i am looking for more books with the same common theme, email me your favorites please.
I usually read for an hour or so each morning over coffee at a local fast food joint, i find if i don't get out of the house at this time, that i don't get out of the house at all. I was lamenting the slowness of my reading to a person i have gotten acquainted with while sitting in my favorite booth there. He told me my problem was that i am trying to reading books that are too long, i suspect he isn't much of a reader, but his point is well taken. So this very short, 150 pages book is my attempt to take his advice to heart. The trouble is that this book is not an easy read, not because it's topic is complex but because of its structure, i started the book and put it aside several times because it seems too disjointed and choppy. It wasn't until chapter 10 on advertising that i realized that the book's structure is deliberate and made to mirror the criticism he makes of the shallowness of Christian intellects, i know i am slow, but i eventually got it.
The average chapter is about 5 pages long, the book reads like a series of slogans strung out together on a clothes line, with cuteness in phrasing common. There is little complexity of thought with points then defense and analysis but rather a structure that mentally looks like an outline. I thought at first that it was a collection of essays written for serialization in a periodical hence the short, concise chapter length, but with the embedded advertisements in chapter 10, it became clear that the form was part of his message. Literally the book is written to those he is critical of, those majority of Christians that prefer TV to books, who desire style rather than substance, who are critical of the pastor if the sermon has more than 3 main points or goes over the allotted 30 minutes(45 in Reformed churches, we are just a little more intellectual). So he wrote the book in 3 sections, each with 8 points, none of the points with more than 2 levels of depth, chapters able to be read in 15 minutes or less (except the last, "Let My People Think", his prescription which is 21 pages long, an average sermon). Now this makes a cute point, but is really hard on a reader, who naturally expects a book not a collection of sermons, unless labelled and advertised as such. The cuteness is mnemonic, meant to be ear-some, witsome, memorable with turns of phrase to stick in the mind and become the central take home point to remain available in the reader to dredge up when he thinks about the topics covered.
Fit Bodies, Fat Minds
Part One: A Ghost Mind
Part Two: An Idiot Culture
9 Amusing Ourselves to Death
Part Three: Let My People Think
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Primer on Evangelical Anti-Intellectualism,
Religion he asserts was once the road to knowledge in America. He quickly shows the two phases of ideas that helped shaped American's anti-intellectual (1700-Civil War and Civil War to the present). Of course, most who read the book will be more familar with the more contempory arguements.
The book is an easy read but does suffer from being to short. The chapters are not very long and the arguements are not quite laid out well enough. Although I agree with him, I think he should ahve written a more detialed book; however, I may be wrong in assuming too much. It may be that he was just writing a quick primer for a culture knee deep in intellectual mediocrity, and anything else may loose their attention.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wake-Up Call With No Real Solution.,
I mostly agree with Guinness' claims. Evangelical Christians in America have not used our minds. We have left them atrophy to the point where, like the rest of America, we are addicted to mediocrity. We need to relcaim the intellect for Christ and take every thought captive to His obedience. However, Guiness doesn't really offer any solutions to the problem. Therefore, FIT BODIES FAT MINDS is more of a wake-up call than a plan of action.
2.0 out of 5 stars Guinness identifies some of the symptoms but not the cure,
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4.0 out of 5 stars A corrective to evangelicalism,
Guiness sketches eight different ways in which the "high point" of the Puritan Christian mind has declined; Polarization, Pietism, Primitivism, Populism, Pluralism, Pragmatism, Philistinism and Premillenialism.
While I would generally agree with much of his analysis here, I wondered how Arminianism (in contrast to Calvinism) has contributed to the decline. It was a very interesting idea; the Arminian-Calvinist issue is one I'm currently exploring in my own study. His section on eschatology (the doctrine of last things; Christ's return, Rapture etc..) was also strange; eschatology is not a field that I have studied. I would agree that an excessive preoccupation with "end-times" can distract Christians from acting in the present (which seems to be his point) but otherwise I don't really see the significance of this point. One idea that came up several times in this section is the degradation of belief, theology and doctrine; a shift that has severely affected American evangelicalism. One of the memorable quotes in the Pluralism chapter from G.K. Chesterton, "Tolerance is the virtue of those who don't believe anything." Chesterton and Guiness were no doubt referring to the philosophical position of tolerance (i.e. regarding all propositions as true) rather than the idea of simply peacefully co-existing. This is personified in such quotes from Billy Sunday as, "I do not know any more about theology than a jack-rabbit knew about pin-pong."
However, each chapter is very short (4-6 pages) and I would have appreciated more documentation and evidence of what he was trying to show. To me, it seems that these small chapters could have quite comfortably been enlarged to 25-30 pages. His next section is about various secular influences on Christian thought (esp. the media, television and advertising). Again, his analysis seems too brief. His discussion of the contemporary image-centered culture versus the Christian word-centered (see John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word.."). I think this contrast was very insightful and it is a reminder that the means or medium, which is used to communicate, also says something (e.g. short, shallow, emotional commercials valued over slow, deep, thoughtful and propositional debate). Or as Marshall McLuhan said, "The medium is the message."
Guiness' last section discusses what it means to, "think Christianly" and what steps can be taken to recover evangelical preeminence in American culture.
In sum, I would have appreciated this book to be double its actual length. I had the feel that ideas were being mentioned in an almost passing manner and that much more could have been said.
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant Diagnosis of A Severe Problem,
The evangelical world is in trouble: we have a higher divorce rate and a higher bankruptcy rate than society at large. Few will address this problem seriously because few will acknowledge that there really is a problem--at least a serious one.
Guiness has hit the nail on the head. Our churches are dumbed-down and we have a long history of contempt for thinking. This book is a must for all who recognize that all is not well within evangelicalism.
There are times the author is unfair, as, for example, in his chapter about premillennialists. When many amillennial seminaries were denying the faith, it was the premillennial movement that became the bastion for solid doctrine. Among the non-feeling oriented premillennialists, doctrine and truth are often quite valued.
Despite some pet aggravations the author mishandles, this book is a MUST and should serve as a blueprint for changing course into a better direction. We must no longer applaud ignorance and view thinking as "heartless." Read this book!!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting,
3.0 out of 5 stars How we think,
"How we think" and "what we think" is the total of who we are. Fat minds determined by God?
Interesting reading - somewhat negative until the closing pages - but well worth my time.
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Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don't Think and What to Do About It by Os Guinness (Paperback - July 15 1994)
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