We have spent a generation thinking about thinking. But despite our “folk” accounts and (deluded) self-perception, we don’t think our way through to action; much of our action is not the outcome of rational deliberation and
conscious choice. Much of our action is not “pushed” by ideas or conclusions; rather, it grows out of our character and is in a sense “pulled” out of us by our attraction to a telos.
If we… are going to be “prime citizens of the kingdom of God” who act in the world as agents of renewal and redemptive culture-making, then it is not enough to equip our intellects to merely think rightly about the world. We also need to recruit our imaginations. Our hearts need to be captured by a vision of a telos that “pulls” out of us action that is directed toward the kingdom of God.
Action and creative cultural labor are generated more by visions than maxims, more by a telos than a rule. This intuition is captured in a saying attributed to Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of The Little Prince: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long
for the endless immensity of the sea.”