Here is a summary of John Stott's approach on thinking and engaging the world in his classic book The Cross of Christ (pp. 17-18)-
1) First, engage in careful study, observation and then explanation of the Biblical text. Stott writes, "There is no alternative to careful exegesis of the text."
2) Second, read those who have gone before us. Stott continues, "... one cannot ignore the great works of the past. To be disrespectful of tradition and of historical theology is to be disrespectful of the Holy Spirit who has been actively enlightening the church in every century."
3) Finally, after following careful Biblical study and listening to the wisdom of past centuries, then one must use what is learned to engage the contemporary world. If we start "solving" problems before critical thinking of said problems, we will only make problems worse.
NIV Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things.
If you have not read (or reread recently) Stott's book The Cross of Christ, please take the time to do so. Meditate on why Jesus had to die on the Cross. Those who hope to think and engage their contemporary world with as much vigor and success as John Stott, should also be willing to submit to a similar method of reasoning... listen to God's Word, then listen to God's people, and then be driven to honor God in God's world.