Experts/Expertise

December 20, 2019

“The Spirit of Christianity is not literalistic, not pedantic, not regulatory, but renewing and freeing. To assimilate it, one must not interpret the words and texts in a legalistic manner, but by imbuing one’s spirit with its spirit of love, faith, conscience, and freedom. This doesn't mean that the Gospels are not absolutely necessary. They are necessary, precious, just as Holy Tradition is. But one can learn the Scriptures by heart and be an expert in the Holy Tradition of the Church, and still not be renewed in a Christian manner.” (Ivan Ilyin)

 

“Expertise is actually a very rare commodity…Mediocrity and incompetence are widespread (nearly universal). Fortunately, expertise is not the hallmark of the spiritual life. Were it so, almost no one would be saved…mediocrity and incompetence are not roadblocks to salvation – they are the gateway.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

 

“Rationalizations in support of sins display a common darkness. Hearts ought to mirror the image of God; instead men are “intelligent in their own eyes and expert in their own eyes.” (Dynamis 3/27/2013)

 

“A related cultural fault line [to reductionism] is hyperspecialization, where a person or firm focuses on increasingly narrow segments of a production process, discipline, artistic genre, or market. One result is an increasing prominence in our culture of the “expert.” The expert knows one part, not the whole, and often not even the wider field in which they work. They consciously reduce their scope of concern to go deeper in their discipline. But increased clarity on a narrow point usually comes at the price of blindness to context and to one’s working assumptions. It often brings isolation from—and sometimes alienation from or hostility to—those with differing expertise. Today’s expert usually shies away from questions of meaning and connection and responsibility—referring such issues to those who “specialize” in meaning. This is, of course, fundamentally unsatisfying for human beings and contributes to our cultural unease.” (Makoto Fujimura)

 

“Woe to those who are intelligent in their own eyes and expert in their own sight.” (Isaiah 5:21). Nothing is inherently wrong with being an expert in something. Expertise benefits many. However, with expertise can come pride where we think ourselves better than others because of our knowledge in a certain subject. Knowledge is not necessarily wisdom. Expertise that breeds narrow mindedness and loss of context to “the whole” becomes dangerous rather than beneficial. The danger to the experts themselves is of course hubris.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

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