Time away from VT in Philly was good for us. We needed a little bit of time in the car to talk, we needed to catch up with family (who reminded me that I hadn’t sent them our new address, sorry!), and I really needed time to think. So today will be a little inventory of some ideas I hope to fill in over the next week or so.
1. Theology books are boring. I’m sorry, I love them like a brother, but they’re boring. The Younger Evangelicals changed my life, but boring. Beyond Foundationalism is an incredible book by two of my favorite theologians, but (sorry fellahs) boring. The Next Reformation, The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology, Transforming Mission, boring , Boring, BORING!!! I even told the elders of a church that Missional Church is an incredible book, but none of them should attempt a reading. Find someone at a seminary who can provide the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version.
Of course I pull through, persevere, and benefit immensely from their content. And don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we have these books. We are better off with them. Nevertheless, my initial plunge into Emerging Churches by Gibbs and Bolger is teaching me that theology books do not have to be boring. How so? By telling stories. Stories are not usually boring, and theology needs to be rooted in some kind of example, context, etc.
And that brings me to idea number two. . .
2. The Bible is not written like many of our theology books. No hollow philosophies. No general commands or maxims to follow. We have poems, narratives, and letters. That’s right, even Romans is not a high-minded theological treatise. It’s a letter to a specific group of people at a particular time. God speaks to us through it, but it was not written like many of our theological books are written today.
How would our theology look if we rooted it in stories and context?
Is this for all theological writing? I’m not sure. It’s dangerous to make blanket statements. But I have to admit that I can’t image theology without a context. Nevertheless, I don’t think that every theologian must be a story teller, letter writer, etc., but he or she should take the time to develop good writing skills that will make them accessible to the largest audience possible. See Willaim Zinsser’s book How to Write Well.
3. Christmas presents: I had an idea for a late Christmas present that will be given to readers of this blog and to friends in my gmail contacts. Stay tuned for that in the next few days.
4. My entrepreneurial side: We rearranged our upstairs in order to create a nice office space where I can write and put some of my other hair-brained ideas to work. While driving I kept thinking of things I can do to make a buck. I’ll be contacting Josh this week for sure.
5. AOL is yucky. Even if Google now owns 5% of AOL, I just couln’t bring myself to work on the blog while at my Mom’s house. She’s one of the helpless victims of AOL who are spun into their treacherous web and cannot extricate themselves. I will not be a part their empire. Well, OK, I did check my e-mail. But blogging on AOL is way worse.
6. One of the best parts of Christmas is giving. As the primary gift purchaser this year I had the true joy of giving gifts that I knew my family really wanted or would enjoy. While I received an awesome drill and the Emerging Churches book from my wife (she’s the best!), what stands out more to me is how everyone enjoyed their gifts.
7. The Chronicles of Narnia is perhaps one of the best movies I have ever seen. It was the perfect movie to see around Christmas. Yes, I really think it’s a perfect allegory without compromising the story. Aslan the lion’s sacrifice for Edmund drove home the love of God and the sacrifice he made just to incarnate himself into our dirty, sin-stained world. As someone who has a hard time camping because there are no showers, I can really appreciate the move of Jesus from the halls of heaven to earth (well, not really).
But anyway, back to the movie. Narnia takes you from A to B. You begin with brokenness and treachery and you end up at renewal and redemption. I left the theater feeling good, amazingly good. My spirit was refreshed.
And the movie was so good, SNL even did a rap about it. I saw it last week, and finally broke down and made a link to it like everyone else.
My favorite line:
“You can call us Aaron Burr ’cause of the way we’re dropping Hamilton.”