If there’s a Don Quixote of theology, it may be Philip Clayton, in that he attacks orthodoxies with an evangelical zeal rarely found in liberal and progressive ecclesial circles. Tripp Fuller, Clayton’s erstwhile doctoral student and cornhole zealot, shares the wry, earthy wit of Quixote’s sidekick, Sancho Panza. I first made this allusion in the preface to Transforming Christian Theology: For Church and Society, the book penned by Clayton and Fuller, and they proved true to these characterizations last week at Theology after Google.My thanks to them for bringing together this event. In many ways, it felt like an early emergent event, in that the quality and curiosity of all participants — those in front, and those in the audience — was uncommonly high. And also, because of that quality, the participants walked away somewhat disappointed. That’s because this was a demanding group, and because events, by their nature are bound to disappoint. Someone’s constituency is always underrepresented; someone else’s ego not sufficiently stroked; and someone else is convinced they could have given a superior presentation (which surely they could have).
For these reasons, it’s a difficult task to produce an event — more difficult, I’ll say, than producing something more static, like an article or a book (or a blog post!). So, I write to publicly express my gratitude to Don and Sancho for sharpening their lances and throwing a great party last week. Bravo! (And thanks to Dave Huth for taking me up on the challenge of the above illustration!)