In which Jim West and I do the horizontal biblioblog thing

As I meant to mention some days ago, but apparently neglected to actually post, Jim West has responded not once but twice to my post expressing my lack of understanding of his outlook.

In one of them, he says that he is OK with not being understood by me, since Bultmann wasn’t understood by Barth. That’s all well and good, but I wonder whether Barth’s theology might not have been better if he had understood Bultmann – in which case, perhaps Jim should offer others all the help he can, in case the situations are similar.

In the other post, he provides a list of people whose opinions he cares about – unlike mine. And since Jim places God in his list of the living rather than the dead, at least those who suspected that he might be connected with that school of thought may now understand him better. In which case, this was all worth it!

On a related but more serious note, Mark Goodacre had a post recently lamenting that there seems to be a trend in blogging moving towards a more “vertical” approach (the blogger posts opinion pieces, disseminating their through) rather than the classic “horizontal” model of blogging (in which blogs are part of a conversation with one another). Hopefully the interaction between Jim and myself will seem encouraging to him!

The above picture is from the alas now defunct Dr. Jim’s Thinking Shop and Tea Room.

LOST Rewatch: Beginning of the End
Romans and a Miracle-Worker
Ten Possible New Names
The Golden Rule and Reading the Qur’an Fairly
  • Just Sayin’

    He says that he cares about Steph Fischer’s opinion, so in that case he should leave out the (in her words) “cruel humour against suicide victims, homosexuals, atheists and fat people.” But he hasn’t, of course, and won’t. Fischer is now simply ignoring it.

  • steph

    Jeepers some of you bloggers are incestuous. You have a real personality problem. It’s an obsession. Dependency on approval. No independence. Do you tweet too? If you do let it go. Broaden your research and publish some books. Person without an identity who intentionally mispells the names of those who do – people have different views on many things and have different philosophical perspectives of life and the universe. But you know what? We all share one thing. People are people. Human beings. To me honesty is fundamental. Trust.

    • Just Sayin’

      Apart from ad hominem have you anything to contribute?

      • steph

        Did you? What can you ‘contribute’ to a post like this? Maybe I could add ‘independent mind’. The people whose opinions matter to me are those human being whom I can trust because they are honest and can express themselves and do, with independent minds. I value their opinions because their opinions are there own. They are not those of others with whom they seek approval.

        • steph

          it’s a shame I didn’t proofread my own comment but I don’t really care. I’m just aware of the typos that’s all.

          • James F. McGrath

            Steph, while Jim and I were engaging in a fun bit of sarcastic back and forth, you seem genuinely upset about something. Do you want to talk about it? Is there anything that I, Jim, or anyone else can do to help?

            • steph

              James sweetie. I’m fine with Jim thanks. Just a little surprised at you. Not genuinely upset, just surprised. Time for some work eh?

              • James F. McGrath

                What were you surprised about? That I would tease Jim right back? Or was it something else?

                Classes start for us next week, so time for some work indeed! :-)

                • steph

                  I’m surprised you posted you initial little quibble. I’ve been further surprised at you attempt to convey a friendly fun. I know another blogger whose perception of ‘friendship’ is similiarly misleading. Jim and I are friends James. I trust him because he tells the truth. ‘Tease him right back?’?? ‘Jim and I’? My goodness for a second I wondered if you were pretending two things. I think you know what I mean James. There’s no need to pursue this is there. It’s all a bit silly isn’t it Jamesy.

                  • James F. McGrath

                    I agree it is all a bit silly. I don’t think that my initial post, asking Jim for clarification of his thinking, was silly, but since he responded with two rather silly non-responses, it seemed the appropriate thing to do was to respond in kind and leave it at that.

                    But I still don’t know what you mean, or why you left the comments you did, or what you are thinking that made those comments seem to you to be relevant, necessary, or appropriate. So if you are inclined, feel free to comment. Otherwise, I guess I’ll just have to accept that I understand you at least as little as I understand Jim West! :-)

                    • steph

                      Perhaps because your initial post was silly. I didn’t think his responses were silly. Has it occurred to you he might have been telling the truth? Maybe he just really doesn’t care what you think. I don’t care what you think about me either. I don’t ‘need’ to be ‘understood’. I only try to make my work understandable. That’s all that matters. You don’t know me. I met you once. Or maybe twice for about three minutes. You seem to require a lot of explanations. It’s much healthier that you just be aware that you don’t ‘understand’ me and you don’t ‘understand’ Jim or quite a lot of other people. That’s life, c’est la vie, James. Isn’t it wonderful. Full of surprises and if you try really hard, miracles too. ;-)

                    • James F. McGrath

                      Steph, some of us blog precisely to share our views and be a public voice for scholarship, opening ourselves up to be known by others as we engage in public conversation. I perhaps should have known better than to assume that Jim West would be open to that. But I still find your comments perplexing – it is as though you seem surprised that the vast majority of people who engage in public scholarship view blogging as a means by which many of us have gotten to know one another and continue to do so. But since you seem to wish me to feel puzzled and are OK with that, so be it! :-)

                    • steph

                      “the vast majority of people who engage in public scholarship view blogging as a means by which many of us have gotten to know one another and continue to do so” – that’s not actually true. You shouldn’t take everything so literally James – I’m not naive and no James, I’m not ‘surprised. Quite the opposite. You’re merely confirmation. True scholarship goes on regardless of the biblioblogging groupies James. Do you believe Coyne and Meyers are representative of the ‘best’ in science scholarship. Blogging does appear to take up a lot of time and compromise the quality of research. I always respect the independent minds and original thinking of those who don’t necessarily ‘comply’ James. You have an ‘us’ and ‘them’ approach which does seem to suggest a need for positive approval. Luckily we do still have independent minded research happening or learning and knowledge would never evolve.

                    • James F. McGrath

                      Steph, you seem throughout my attempt at interaction to be addressing concerns that you have which are unrelated to what I have actually written. Who takes things literally? Who suggested that bloggers are the best scholars? Who has an “us and them” approach? I still don’t know why you left the irritated comments on this post to begin with, and I don’t know whom you imagine you are addressing in the more recent ones. But since you seem to be ignoring what I write and imagining that both the original post and my subsequent comments are about things that they are not, I suppose I may as well let you carry on without my involvement, since my comments seem not to garner actual responses, only reactions which must be at least partly inspired by things that I am not involved in or aware of.

                    • steph


        • Just Sayin’

          So can you honestly say that West has stopped posting his trademark “cruel humour against suicide victims, homosexuals, atheists and fat people” that once so upset you?
          Of course he hasn’t; what has changed is that you’re now choosing to ignore it and be all chummy with him regardless.

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