Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Well, hello there...

Well, hello there, gentle reader. Long time no see. It is I, your intrepid theo-blogger. Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. The truth is, I have been buried under a pile of work here at Lindenwood, teaching 120+ students about world religions and the history of Christianity. In fact, last week was mid-term week. As if that wasn’t enough, I had the incredible foresight to assign a paper due at about the same time. Suffice it to say, I spent the last week or so grading until my fingers bled and I began bleeding from my ears. On top of that, each and every of the incredibly few spare moments I’m able to carve out has been directed toward getting my dissertation ready to defend (it’s getting close, cross your fingers!). On top of that even further, I’m currently working on a presentation on “sacred space” for a panel discussion and Q&A on that topic next week here on campus (if you are in the St. Louis area and want to attend, contact me and I’ll send you the flier).

To make a long story short, even though I’ve just told you the long version, I’ve been too busy to blog. You have no idea how ashamed I am to admit this, but I simply cannot deny it further. As a result, you will simply have to theologically stimulate yourself for the foreseeable future. Of course, I would not leave you bereft, dear brethren. I offer you the archives here at DET as a an impetus to your own reflection. Dig into them. See what’s there. In fact, try to find something embarrassing in there that I’ve forgotten about (and then tell me about it so I can spirit it away…). Who knows, you might even want to leave a comment and stoke the embers of a discussion grown cold. In fact, I’ll make it easy for you by listing a few things you might want to look at:


So, there you have it. I’ll leave you to work on all that for a while, but I promise to think of you from time to time, and to return to regular posting as soon as possible. Until then, to steal the immortal words that we sort of suspect might reflect something like a thing Oliver Cromwell once said, “Put your trust in God, and keep your powder dry.”

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7 comments:

Bob MacDonald said...

I think your old post may not accept comments any more.

Thanks for posting the link to it. I must have missed it in the summer. You write of theology as ... the church’s critical reflection ... of the good news of Jesus Christ
then more generally ... theology is the attempt to describe with conceptual care ... our relationships – with each other, with creation, and with God.

The more general statement allows me to consider what theology is for Israel, or for Islam. I don't, however, want to add an adjective to theology. I want to consider what theology is for those who are of the 'great assembly'. (psalms 1.5, 22.17, 74.2 et al.) These are not necessarily of Christendom. While I remain one who is in Christ and brought in as a Gentile through his death, I am not clear that I am allowed to define theology only through this unique Anointed one through whose death I learn by the Spirit of the anointing given to Israel and shared by all who read the words of the TNK.

Also, how can I frame theology in ways that allow me to speak to the atheist, the Muslim, the Hindu, or the Buddhist without in anyway compromising the inclusiveness already in the TNK. After all why did Paul write Romans the way he did and use so much of the TNK to support his inclusive arguments.

I am wary of the exclusive claim implied by adjectives. I don't intend to water down the truth but I equally don't want to make it support only my own confession.

W. Travis McMaken said...

Bob,

The comments work, but there is a comment moderation system for older posts to help catch spam. Sorry for being slow on the click to let your comment through. But I'll just answer you here since you re-posted.

As a Christian theologian, I think that theology needs to be controlled by the particularity of Jesus Christ. But his particularity is not an exclusive particularity, but an inclusive one. This is one of the things I like so much about Barth. So I would advocate the sort of theological dialog you are interested with other religions, especially the Abrahamic faiths, but that dialog should be pursued from a solid foundation in Christ's (inclusive) particularity.

I think the key for Christians when engaging other religions is to recognize that Christianity is also a religion; it is only in the event of God's gracious address that religion stops being a merely human phenomenon, and that address can come through a dead dog, a flute concerto, pure land Buddhism, Taoism, atheism - you name it.

Bob MacDonald said...

Thank you Travis - a good reply. Have you any thoughts on how the theology of the psalms would fit into the theology in John? I feel that Hebrews and Paul's Romans fit the hope and the work that is in the psalms, but I haven't thought so much on John with respect to the psalms. Maybe some day a post will appear...

W. Travis McMaken said...

I haven't thought through that with specific reference to John...interesting question, though.

Timothy R. Butler said...

I wish I wasn't going to be at presbytery when the Coffee Conversation was occurring! Those are always such interesting events and I'd like to hear what you have to say on the subject.

I hope some of my students write helpful response papers on the event...

Bobby Grow said...

I read the one on Knox, and I liked ;-).

I think you should re-read Forde's book; you've inspired me to do the same.

If you need a full time TA (with a hefty salary, full medical benefits and a housing allowance included); I am available and have plenty of TA experience ;-).

W. Travis McMaken said...

Bobby, if it were the olden days, you'd be in St Charles even now. I could use a good assistant...