Needless to say, I have had my share of cookies and punch in church basements, chicken dinners on college campuses, tours of local historical societies, microphone problems at public lectures, and long car rides and flights. But it has been worth it.
Christian public intellectuals should not be content with merely writing a thought-provoking essay in a magazine that very few people will read. Most ordinary evangelicals do not read The New Yorker or The New Republic. It is time for Christian scholars to be more democratic. If Christian intellectuals believe that our knowledge of history or literature or culture can help society and strengthen the Church's witness in the world, then it is time to think differently about the audiences to which we are willing to speak. It is time to think about our vocations, at least in part, in terms of service to our communities and the Kingdom of God.
So I applaud the evangelicals in Gilbert, Arizona for creating a space where Christian learning, historical thinking, and intellectual growth can occur. I hope that other evangelical congregations will follow their example.