Response to Question

Michael K. Thompson (
Mon, 17 Feb 1997 16:40:02 -0800

Thanks for the responses to the question of "professionals" vs
"amateurs". I think it was important for some of you to answer first.
I would also like to add my own answer.

It seems that in academia there are a number of problems which are
causing a breakdown of all discussion. The first is a prideful belief
that we can know everything (at least in principal). The second is a
belief that the "experts" cannot be wrong. The third is that your field
of study has no relevance to mine. (Outside of academia there are
complimentary beliefs that the "experts" are always wrong and that all
of academia is irrelevant.)

I am generalizing of course and no one would want to admit to these
beliefs straight off, but they are implicit in our actions. (I admit as
much for myself.)

I think the promise of a listserv like this is that we constantly have
opportunities to practice humility both by encouraging and confronting
each other. These problems are far too large for us to approach them
alone. A community creates much needed context for meaningful
discussion. That is why the ASA was formed. To be a community for a
diverse group of thinking Christians who are committed to facing issues
as the body of Christ.

I agree with what has been said about all of us being amatuers in most
of the issues discussed here. That is good reason for cautions like
Paul's, but it is also good reason to be free as we learn together.
With that said I think we all can agree that ANYONE is welcome to
discuss issues here so long as it is understood that humility is a
requirement to helpful discussion.