Last week, I spent two days at Princeton, speaking at the annual youth ministry conference. I’ve always got mixed feelings when I go back — a love of the people there, and an aversion to the bureaucracy and to New Jersey in general.
In happy news, I recently found out that I won a dissertation grant from the Louisville Institute, so I’ll be hunkering down and finally writing that massive term paper next fall/winter/spring.
First Base: Collin Hansen and I have begun a dialog on our two books and two movement (if you don’t know, Collin is part of the “young, restless, Reformed” crowd).
Third Base: Jenell Paris inveighs on gender in emergent.
Home Plate: The Democratic race thus far, in 7 minutes.
“Dear Stephen, Please have my Daddy on your show!”
Every week I receive a “publicity report” from Kelly Hughes, the best in the business. She’s been in contact with scores of journalists over the past three months, telling them about my book and trying to interest them in doing a story on it. Between the Democratic primaries and the Pope, there hasn’t been a lot of leeway in the media for “trends in religion” stories, which is how my book is generally categorized by journalists. But she’s still gotten the book a lot of great notice.
Well, in the report this week, I got the worst news of all. The Colbert Report said “no” to having me on. Sure, it was a long shot, but my kids were praying every night that I’d get on Colbert.
Charlie Rose? Who cares. Tavis Smiley? I’m too busy. Bill O’Reilly? Not interested.
But Colbert? He’s my hero. I watch every night. I dream about him. I study his interviews.
So, my atheism increases. I’m melting my Wrist Strong bracelet down. I’m adopting a bear cub. I’m giving Colbert a wag of my finger…and he knows which finger.
Why, Colbert, Why?!?!?!?
Kevin continues his thoughtful, chapter-by-chapter analysis of my book, and I’m very thankful. He’s onto Chapter 4, “The Theology, Stupid.” He concurs with me at some point, and dissents at others. Among his agreements are those having to do with epistemological humility. Among his dissents, that I seem reluctant to grant that the statement, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,” the status of an objective proposition that is either true or not true, metaphysically speaking. Indeed, he may have me on that one. And I am, I hope, epistemologically humble enough to know that I very well could be wrong about anything.
Along those lines, I’ve gotten several emails in the last week and had a conversation at the Princeton cohort along the same lines: Is the eternal deferral of Derrida and Caputo really resonant with the Christian narrative? That question causes me to wonder, What is it about Derridean deferral that so attracts me (as a Christian)? I guess it’s just that Caputo has convinced me, again and again, how deeply Christian it is to keep questing after truth and justice. To never settle. I fundamentally disagree with Chesterton that the purpose of having an open mind is to eventually close it.
These photos will surely bother some of my friends in the HM. Sorry.
Actually, there’s been an interesting discussion on that post. Some of the members of the HM have weighed in, as have some chaplains. In answer to some of the questions that have been raised:
But about once a year, the other chaplains and I go to the range and shoot, as we did last week. Why? Because a big part of being a chaplain to cops is to understand what it’s like to be a cop, to walk in their shoes, to live a bit of their experience.
Last Thursday, we were instructed on the service weapons used by the Edina cops, the Glock G22 and G23. A couple things struck me as we learned about the pistol and fired a few dozen rounds a piece. The first is the incredible technology involved in a modern gun. Another chaplain asked if there’s a safety switch on the gun and we were told that all of the safeties on a Glock are internal. That is, it won’t misfire if it’s dropped or hit or jostled. And it’s got a double trigger system which deactivates the internal safeties.
In other words, if you pull the trigger, the gun fires.
And that got me to thinking about what it must be like to carry a loaded weapon all day, everyday (yes, most cops carry a weapon even when they’re off duty). I imagine that invokes some serious anxiety. At first. Then I suppose it becomes normal. Maybe they even forget about it at times.
Having been a police chaplain for the last decade, I think I’m beginning to understand what being a cop does to someone’s psyche. As you might guess, it leads to a twisted sense of humor. Too often, it also leads to broken relationships and a suspicion of most other persons. (To write more, I think, would be a betrayal of my friendships with them.)
This is the very thing that leads my Anabaptist-leaning friends to say that Christ-followers should stay away from these professions. That carrying a weapon changes a person, and not for the better. I get that argument, but I wonder what planet they’d like to live on. Because, since I’ve been a chaplain, two officers have shot and killed dangerous, gun-wielding subjects (“bad guys” is how they’re referred to at the EPD), and that’s in my sleepy Midwestern suburb.
So, what’s the option?
Past Webisodes: Webisode 1
I’ll be live on Steve Brown, Etc., live today from noon-1pm EDT. You can listen live and call in if you want. Then it will be replayed on Sirius all weekend.
[UPDATE: Here's the show.]
Second Base: Good post from Calvin philosophy prof, Jamie Smith, on Stout (whom I like a lot).
Third Base: Another good post from another Calvin philosophy prof, Kevin Corcoran, on emerging vs. emergent. (If you don’t subscribe to Kevin’s blog, you should.)
Got this one this week:
“I wonder if you would please answer a quick question from a genuine seeker….
My mind is reeling with the comments I hear from friends who attack the Emergent Movement. I could not possibly research all of their claims, but have caught major players in lies about Rob Bell. Would you please tell me if you have a book out that encourages people to carry actual idols around, to talk to them and rub them, and eventually they will begin to talk to you and guide you? I would be honored to receive a response from you. Thank you!”
Now, seriously, how does one even respond to an email like that? I seriously love the internet, and I love the egalitarianizing force that it has on communication. I’m a huge fan. But the dark side is that it’s so much easier today to spread nasty rumors.
Pardon me. I have to get back to rubbing my idol.