We’re less than two months away from hunting season, so I’m actively looking for opportunities to preach in North and South Dakota, particularly when the preaching gig includes a hook-up for pheasant, duck, or goose hunting. If you want to barter your pulpit for some hunting, drop me a line.
Here’s the text of the pecha kucha talk I gave at Emergence Christianity last week:
The joy of hunting is sublime. Surprisingly sublime, when you consider that the climax of the endeavor comes with an explosion, in which a firing pin makes a tiny dent on the metal boot of a shotgun shell, compressing gunpowder and thereby causing an explosion that ejects dozens of pellets at breathtaking velocity through a metal tube and, if fate is on your side, into the flesh of a bird on the wing. Surprisingly sublime for an activity that ends, when successful, with blood and death.
I did not grow up hunting. My father is not a hunter, nor were my grandfathers. It is a chosen avocation of mine, often distasteful to those who share my vocation. I have yet to meet another PhD in theology in the field. Instead, I hunt with firefighters and Army Reservists and computer repairmen.
I hunt only birds, because hunting for me is all about the dog. It all starts with the dog.
Tony Jones, a theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch church in Minneapolis, is one of Piper’s frequent critics.
“I don’t think the fundamental nature of God is wrath at human sin,” Jones said. “I’m not going to say God isn’t disappointed by human sin … but at the very core of Piper’s theological vision is that God’s wrath burns white-hot at your sin and my sin. When I read the Bible, that’s not the God I find.”
Piper offers no apologies for his theology.
“If you try to throw away a wrathful God, nothing in Christianity makes sense. The cross certainly doesn’t make sense anymore, where [Jesus] died for sinners.”* His views of the tornado and bridge collapse, he said, “are rooted in the sovereignty of God. Even though people see them as harsh, negative, wrathful, whatever, they are good news.”
He said he considers himself a “happy Calvinist — which is an oxymoron. I’m on a crusade to make that not an oxymoron.”
I realize that most of you don’t come here to read about my hunting exploits. So I won’t bore you (or disgust you) with them. But suffice it to say that I had a great opening weekend here in Central Minnesota: a couple wood ducks in the bag; one goose shot, retrieved, plucked, cleaned, roasted, and eaten with stuffing and gravy; a top-notch performance by first-time hunter Albert (seen above); and unparalleled companionship by champion duck caller Jason Mitchell.