Do You Think For Yourself?

From Willimon’s book, Pastor, in a section where he describes the church as a world or culture in which it’s members learn how to live — a place that has rituals, practices and ways of being that teach us who we are and how to be in the world:

So, when an early twenty-first-century North American says, “What the church says may be OK for some people, but I think it is important to think for myself,” that person thinks that he or she is thinking for himself or herself.  No.  He is only espousing that self-centered, limited way of knowing that has been imposed upon him by his culture.  One could almost say that, because this is North America, because of the United States Constitution’s rendering of religion into a private matter, sealed off from everything important like economics, politics, and public matters, that person is not free to think anything more interesting than “I think it is important to think for myself.”  As Stanley Hauerwas has told us repeatedly, for a contemporary North American to say, “I think for myself,” is solid evidence of cultural formation, externally imposed social determination, since she did not think up the credo “I think for myself” all by herself. Pastor, pg. 211