You can change the world!

Hugh Hewitt has written In But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition and the Desire to Influence the World. Not a bad book. I mean hey, Joe Carter cites In But Not Of as the main impetus for starting Evangelical Outpost.

Hewitt has great advice for all sorts of people, not just those bent on delusions of changing the world. Don’t get tattoos. Don’t use credit cards. Avoid debt like the plague. Learn how to network. Learn an area or two of interest so that you can be interesting in conversations. Don’t gossip. Stuff like that.

There were a number of things that annoyed me about this book, but the biggest was Hewitt’s pragmatism. This is most clear in his chapter on fitness. Hewitt says that you shouldn’t work out for more than 30 minutes a day. Anything else is just useless navel-gazing. Hewitt believes there is much more important stuff to be done, which for him means, ‘changing the world’. Yah. Ok. The standard that should be used for evaluating things is definitely not its utility or whether it’ll help ‘change the world.’ The patron saint of this blog, Peter Leithart, has a great article at First Things called “For useless learning.” Leithart argues that the liberal arts are useless, but that’s ok.

The liberal arts are useless in the same way that the centerpiece on a dining room table is useless; useless in the way a silk tie is useless; useless in the way salt and pepper are useless; useless in the way that perfecting a golf swing is useless; useless in the same way that most of what makes life rich and beautiful is useless. We should not be ashamed of the uselessness of the liberal arts, for making what we do not need, and doing what we have no ordinary use for, is part of the glory of being made in the image of the infinitely creative God.

Hewitt needs to learn this lesson. Is working out ‘useless navel-gazing’? Sure it is. But, so what? Everything is vanity.¬†Hewitt needs to read a little Shlomo.