The Committee will see you now

This photograph of Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr and Henry Pitney Van Dusen (which I’ve seen credited to Gjon Mili of Time) seemed irresistible to me.

Think you can do better.

Well, I think you can. I’m sure of it. So here’s the template, if you’re tempted.

"Just to repeat: voters should not need people to excite them to vote like they're ..."

Romans 13 and the Gettysburg Address
"I have long seen automation as a looming issue under capitalism, and one reason I ..."

Romans 13 and the Gettysburg Address
"And the comments! Dominated by some dude who calls himself "White Identity." Look, when your ..."

Romans 13 and the Gettysburg Address

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Xclamation

    The Committee clicks on the link in the email from their sister-in-law which directs them to the McKayla Is Not Impressed tumblr.

  • AnonymousSam

    I was going to do one, but then I remembered that I only have MS Paint to edit pictures and I’m too lazy to download GIMP just for this, so I can’t do text effects to set it off from the black and white background.

    Otherwise, mine was going to say “The Committee has supported Romney/Ryan since 1482, why not you?”

  • John Robison

    The committy reflects upon the continued sales of Karl Barth’s more obscure works as compaired to thier collective magnum opia.

  • Jer_00

    I’m sorry – but all I can think of when I look at that picture is “Why does Henry Pitney Van Dusen look like an older Arnold Rimmer in that picture?”

  • LL

    All I can think is, “The old white guys frown on your shenanigans.”

  • LeRoc

    Henry Pitney Van Dusen doesn’t have an entry in Wikipedia? I only found this one in the Russian Wikipedia.

  • ChrisAshley

    I can’t confirm the photo credit, but the location is the president’s office at Union Theological Seminary in New York. The window behind them faces north onto the seminary quad.

  • Greedo? Greedo!? C’mon, surely:

    “The Committee finds your lack of understanding of your Faith disturbing.”

    “The Committee senses a disturbance in your Faith as if a million consciences cried out in protest, and were suddenly silenced.”

  • “The Committee would like you to refrain from mentioning the lurid details of Mrs. Tillich’s unfortunate memoir.” 

  • “So then they said, ‘They’re just helping the barbarians to maintain their delusions.'”

  •  Unless this is a joke that I’m not getting you probably want magna opera, the plural of magnum opus?

  • Random Lurker

    The Committee is ready to hear your request.  Impartially, of course.

  • PJ Evans

    The Committee meeting Bob Howard, assistant to the DSS.

  • “The Committee reacts to the proposal … that God is a being.”

    (suggested by my wife)

  • Then I said, “Doesn’t ‘symbolic’ just mean ‘fake’?”

  • Wolverine

     Or maybe Magnum Opera, which is either a Tom Selleck vehicle or an NRA fundraiser.

  •  Oh G-d, now I can’t erase the image of Tom Selleck singing opera.

  • “Stop me if you’ve heard this one: an existentialist, a realist, and a Christian walk into a bar…”

  • Tonio

    I’m reminded of the all-male panel that testified in Congress on contraception. I don’t know anything about these men other than they’re theologians, but my first thought on seeing their grimaces was that their nephew had just introduced them to his Jewish or Italian fiancée. My caption? “Old white men run the world and they can’t even be happy about it.”

  • reynard61

    The Committee is unimpressed with your claim that access to free contraception will somehow lead to the downfall of Christianity As We Know It.


    The Committee is unimpressed with your choice of both an Android and a Randroid as your Presidential ticket.

  • Shane

    This is kind of proving Douthat’s point; Niebuhr, Tillich,  and Van Dusen are all dead.  Liberal Christian theology no longer reigns supreme in the theological world. 

  • friendly reader

    I’m willing to wager all of them – at the very least Niebuhr – would resent being referred to as “liberal Christian theology.” Part of the reason this site and many others uses “progressive” instead of “liberal” is because liberal Christianity is most definitely a thing of its own. It’s the theology, popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, that downplayed human evil, supported the idea of inevitable progress (with a lot of the white man’s burden associated therein), and was disinclined towards the Trinity or the Incarnation. Progressive Christianity is big tent and has elements of that, but there are many who believe in humanity’s innate inclination towards selfishness, are cynical of potential for human perfection, and fully accept God as three-in-one and Jesus as God-and-man. Niebuhr definitely falls into the latter category; Tillich’s… complicated, and I’m not familiar with the third guy.

    I’d say what’s missing is the level of intelligence that these guys brought to the table and the way in which they were able to get public notice of their theology. We have smart theologians out there, it’s just that the religious scene is no longer dominated by theology, but rather politics.

  • Miss Rand, please expand on your fascinating remarks about selfishness as a virtue.”

  • Mau de Katt

    I only have MS Paint to edit pictures and I’m too lazy to download GIMP just for this

    You can use the LOL Builder at “” for that; I do it all the time.

  • Shane

     I am aware of the differences, though I think they are not so different, really.  And I actually have a lot of respect for Niebuhr, though I think he went overboard with the absorbtion of realism into Christian thinking, and the overuse of theological concepts as descriptors of Western Civilization and its problems and issues.  Tillich (I was in in love with Tillich, once) was an absolutely brilliant cultural thinker; as a theologian,though, I don’t rate him highly; his dismantling of Christian speech, and the development of a new vocabulary were something that was profoundly wrong.  That, and Tillich’s philosophy and theology sounds really, really good for pampered, upper-scale white people who need to feel good about their existential loneliness.  He’s not a Bonhoeffer when it comes to confronting the complacent with the Gospel; Tillich, in my mind, domesticates the Gospel for the mid-20th Century American audience.  His diagnosis of the mid-century religious landscape was insightful; his remedy for it was the exact opposite of what needed to be done.  They rendered Christian theology “safe” for materialist America.  It needed, however, to be dangerous.   Nonetheless, they were intellectual giants.  I think they were misguided about quite a few things, but I respect the hell out of them. 

    As one could probably tell, I’m much more inclined towards Lindbeck and Hauerwas than Tillich and Niebuhr. 

  • friendly reader

    And I’m more of a fan of Jurgen Moltmann. ;)

  • Jadon

    Just tried a humble attempt at this meme, my first.  Figured it was an appropriate time to try, with all those holidays approaching. :)

  • tim

    If Hauerwas understood what he was doing, i. e. a theology of culture, he might well wind up near Tillich. But S. H. has no mediating theological language which would enable him to do a theology of culture. Thus he gives church types a goody goody feeling with his talk of the true, pacifist, anabaptist type church, but I seriously doubt if he gets heard by a culture that desperately needs a theological word.