Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Challenge of Chrisendom

I've been thinking about this interview with Chris Tilling over at Pisteuomen for a few days now. I read Chris's blog more than about anybody else's blog because, well, it's just dang funny. He's got a Charismatic background but he gets frustrated because, contrary to the tendencies of the bulk of common Charismaniacs, he actually likes to think. He's a Ph.D. student, so he's smarter than me. But what is most fun is that he is absolutely irreverent towards people's sacred cows, so you're almost certain to get offended at least once. (Which I have. But what fun would it be otherwise?)

Here is a brief response to four points Chris made:

1. "I think the pastor has the greatest responsibility to preach honest sermons, not to gloss over difficulties, gray areas and real differences of opinion."
Amen. The gray areas are one of the the primary reasons I left the pastorate to go back to school for my M.Div. I think we have an obligation to sort the stuff out fairly without just parroting the received traditions.

2. "Scholars would do a major service for the church if they enabled people to get beyond disorientation. I suspect that explains a great part of Bishop Wright's popularity."
Tom Wright, more than anyone else, was responsible for my plunge into the disorientation of scholarship. So even though I think he is pretty much the coolest scholar ever, part of me thinks he sucks.

3. "I am a theology/NT-o-phile, if you understand me. I salivate over books, read them almost non-stop, and am all-in-all a bit obsessive compulsive about turning the next page."
I admit that I am challenged by this statement. See, I love books. I love to look at books. I love to handle them and hold them. I love to read the dust jackets and flip through them and make piles of them. But I have to admit that I can tend to lose interest about half way through reading them. Sometimes it's from information overload and I need time to process, sometimes it's because I just get bored. This has really inspired me to press through and to want to become obsessive compulsive about turning the next page.

4. "By the way, I’m just joking about the Fundie shooting, of course. I know lots of lovely Fundie Christians–far better people than me. And bullets cost too much. Give me fifteen minutes with a golf club–that would be cheaper!"
Though most of what Chris writes is awfully funny, there comes a point where his pseudo-scholarship and lame-blog humor just makes me feel, well, crappy and defiled. Is this supposed to be funny? Sorry, but taking offense at gratuitous violence is not a sacred cow. Chris Tilling, you should be ashamed of yourself.

So today I (1) openly disagreed with a comment he made; (2) dissed Tom Wright; and (3) called his blogging humor pseudo-scholarship and lame; so I get three (or depending on when he reads this, four) fingers up from Mr. Tilling. I feel honored.

Thanks for the blog, Chris, and thanks for the interview, Michael.


Chris Tilling said...

Great fun!
And point taken!
Though it needs a response! :-p

Chris Tilling said...

OK, I've written my littlke response. It is meant in good humour, of course!

Ryan Jones said...

Great response. Thanks Chris.

T Michael W Halcomb said...

Chris has problems, indeed, the guy has some issues! That interview with him was about as fun as being a young chinese boy with a bad case of rickets :) But, since you gave me a nice compliment, I thought I'd share some more of his twisted humor with you. Check out this link he sends me mid-interview:

Gotta love it! By the way, Isaw G Boyd listed in your links, are you into the open theism mvmt?

Ryan Jones said...

I just added Greg Boyd's blog after Scot McKnight linked to him last week. I like a lot of what Greg has to say, especially in reference to the problem of evil. I tended towards the open theist position for awhile but in the end I come down in the classical Arminian camp. I think Open theists (especially John Sanders) do well to remind us that God reveals Himself as a true personality, not just a sort of cosmic computer in the sky, or puppet master pulling our strings.