Now available for download: “The Virtue of Open-Mindedness: An Essay”

NEW VoOM coverA little under two years ago, my professor challenged me to find a way to decimate some of the ideas I had developed in a senior thesis.

A little over a year ago, I challenged myself to think bigger than a blog post. 1,000 words every couple of weeks was neat, but what if I strung those together? What could I come up with? Could I do 10,000 words? 20,000 words?

And then I decided to put those two challenges together. The final result, and my excuse for not blogging lately, is now live and available for download at Amazon.com.

There is a genuine sense of accomplishment in just bringing “The Virtue of Open-Mindedness: An Essay” to fruition. The thing, for better or worse, is littered with running metaphors, but I have to use one more: it feels a bit like completing my first half-marathon. Who cares about the final time. I crossed the finish line, and that is great in and of itself.

But, of course, I would love it if people were to read this essay. If they were to discuss it, critique it, embrace it, share it. I believe the ideas in this essay matter, and I do not think I could have succeeded in finishing this essay if it was not for this belief, however naive this belief may ultimately turn out to be.

So, towards that end, I am offering the essay for free over the next couple of days. (Soon, it will have to be priced at $3.00, to appease the Amazon.com gods and additionally help pad my rather lean wallet). If you download it for free and read it and say, “hey, that’s great, wish I paid the poor kid something for this” I would love it if you went back online and gifted a copy to a friend.

If you feel led, “four star” or “five star” reviews also warm my heart. Heck, I’ll appreciate one or two star reviews if you read the full thing and take me seriously.

What’s this essay about, you ask? Well, according to my publisher (aka me):

When it comes to culture, ethnicity, lifestyle, ideas, or just people in general, American Christians in the 21st century have found themselves caught in an unprecedented flood of diversity. Rather than something to escape from or merely tolerate, this sudden rush of strange and new things should be seen as an exciting gold rush with which we can enrich both our individual lives and our lives together. To join in on this adventure, however, we need to equip ourselves with the proper tool — “the virtue of open-mindedness.”

Author Kaleb Daniel Nyquist gives an account of the virtue of open-mindedness that is both personal and theoretical, theological and practical. It is a journey that meanders through the forests of Oregon, the streets of Chicago, the sidewalks of India, a Sunday School classroom, a Planned Parenthood clinic, and many hair-pulling trips to the university library. Mashing together ideas from Aristotle, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and even Jesus of Nazareth, he puts together a model of the virtue of open-mindedness that just might help American Christians (and whoever else cares to listen in) navigate our strange, beautiful, broken and interconnected world.

You literally have nothing to lose. Apologies for the aggressive sales pitch, but you are going to waste more time thinking about downloading it (or not) than actually downloading it.

Check it out here.

(By the way, if you don’t have an actual Kindle, don’t worry. Amazon.com has Kindle apps for your computer, tablet, internet browser and smartphone. Problem solved.)

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5 thoughts on “Now available for download: “The Virtue of Open-Mindedness: An Essay”

  1. I define the virtue of open-mindedness as “the ability to bring one’s own self to the stories, ideas, and needs of another person or group of people, so much so that one’s own way of seeing and engaging the world is vulnerable to being significantly altered.” (I know you’ve read that already, I just want eavesdroppers to know what’s up.)

    There is significant overlap between open-mindedness and empathy. The significant difference, for me, is that empathy takes place at the level of “pathos” or feeling (the word empathy derives from the Greek word of pathos) whereas open-mindedness takes place at the level of “logos” (the Greek work Jesus uses when referring to the Syrophonecian woman’s response, translated “reply”).

    In short, Jesus wasn’t feeling sorry for the woman, he was impressed by the woman.

    Good question though. I had to do a bit of research there, I hadn’t thought through that angle before you asked.

  2. How is open-mindedness reconciled with the Old Testament, where there are consistent warnings from God to remain separate from other nations along with “genocide in the name of God” (as you put it) in the conquest of Canaan? The wider point here is how open-mindedness interacts with other virtues and attributes in which there are competing interests so to speak, such as holiness and devotion.

    That being said, I want to highlight where we are in full agreement. Your concern about sharing the gospel in a postmodern context is one that I share, and I too see it as a potential gold mine. I’ve come to different conclusions, but constantly seek to refine my thinking with other believers who are asking the same questions.

    Last but not least: need somebody besides the creepy engineer commenting on this stuff!

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