The tyranny of the present is a cruel evil. For many, the routine to-do’s and the barrage of breaking news renders us numb to anything outside our immediate field of vision. While the present moment is indeed important, we must remember that it is still merely a moment. As moments come and go, the future becomes the present and the present becomes the past. The neverending tide of time keeps moving along and if we aren’t aware, we will be taken along for a ride on its shifting waves.
So how can we remain grounded in the present amid the turbulence of our time? In his recent book, Breaking Bread with the Dead (Penguin, 2020) Alan Jacobs argues that present stability is achieved by becoming conversant with the past.
In this podcast, Matthew Barrett and Alan Jacobs discuss the necessity of history for the Christian faith. They show why regular encounters with the past help us think not only about the present but about the future, as well. In doing so, they offer several key insights related to the practice of studying the wisdom of ages past, teaching us how to learn and appreciate goodness, beauty, and truth, wherever it may be found.
Alan Jacobs is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor University. He began teaching at Baylor in 2013 and is a Resident Fellow of Baylor’s Institute for the Studies of Religion. Prior to his time at Baylor, Dr. Jacobs taught at Wheaton College in Illinois for twenty-nine years.
Matthew Barrett is the author of Simply Trinity: The Unmanipulated Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Baker). He is the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine and host of the Credo podcast. He is associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.