Write a Theological Limerick, Win Theological Trading Cards

Write a Theological Limerick, Win Theological Trading Cards December 19, 2012

One of the great products to come out this year — at least for theological geeks like me and you — is the set of Theologian Trading Cards by Norman Jeune. Seriously, if you’ve got a seminary student in your life, someone who can spell “Schleiermacher,” this is a great holiday gift.

Zondervan has proffered three sets of the cards to Theoblogy to give out to readers, and each set includes a signed card! You could win a card signed by…

NT Wright, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, or Kevin Vanhoozer.

To have a chance at winning, write a limerick about a theologian — one of these three, or someone else. I’ll announce the winners on Christmas Eve, as well as the winners of a couple older contests that I haven’t announced winners of yet. There’s also going to be a big book giveaway here on Christmas Eve.

I didn’t make the final cut, but Norm did mock up a card of me back in 2007 when he first came up with the idea:

To kick us off, here’s a limerick written for Theoblogy by Norm himself:

Fantasy theologians league
Like that could be filled with intrigue
Abelard ran the bases
Origen was castrated

And Tillich? The RBI king!

OK, have at it!

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  • Ohh, I am going to HAVE to enter this contest…I want that N.T. Wright card!

  • Ok. First attempt, not humorous, describing when I first read one of Wright’s books, “The Challenge of Jesus”.

    In a period of much doubt
    My faith could have faded out
    Read a book by Wright
    And in came the light
    And a seed began to sprout

  • Augustine’s the father of the west
    but it’s hard to say he’s the best
    I’m kind of Pelagian
    but my employment is hangin’
    On staying out of that mess

  • Ken B.

    Even though my grandfather was a bagpiper
    I like to read both Bavinck and Kuyper.
    Each face on a card,
    As precious as nard,
    Tempts me to get a bit hyper.

  • N.T. Wright is a scholar phenomenal
    Whose work is far from nominal.
    He asks us to grow
    And wants us to know
    That the Kingdom of God is unstoppable.

  • A theologian must have heart.
    For the flavor of faith can be tart.
    Many a docent
    Will think them cognoscent
    But crash on the reading of Barth.

  • Ric Shewell

    Once there was no secular,
    Said Milbank in particular.
    A claim that calls
    For giant balls,
    You might call it testicular.

  • The theology of Kevin Vanhoozer
    challenges every deconstructionizer.
    His hermeneutic is clear:
    the author’s intent we must hear
    before we become a dramatizer.

  • NT Wright’s book sales are soarin’,
    but I find his works a bit borin’.
    He’s always filled with such hope,
    so I find it hard to cope.
    To my melancholy nature it’s foreign.

  • Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
    proclaimed the role of women with a cadenza.
    The church had forgotten
    (and this was truly rotten)
    But now feminists are part of the theological credenza.

  • Craig

    I’ll aim at these cards with a dart,
    for their doctrines aren’t worth a fart.
    Or make me a tally
    of their ideas salutary
    earning esteem as a science or art.

  • Tony’s a rookie they say?
    But he bids us all to come play.
    We comment on Theoblogy
    With our theology
    Conversing as those on the fray.

  • David Swan

    There once was an anchorite named Julien
    Who thought prayers to the Father were Boolean
    She locked herself in
    And prayed with a grin
    To the Mother she saw through the mullion

  • Dave Burkum

    On the day that you breathe your last breath,
    You’ll live on, but there’s more, don’t forget
    that your hope and delight
    (says our dear Mister Wright)
    Is your life AFTER life after death!

    • Simon

      Nicely done sir.

    • Mary Hawes

      Oo – didn’t see that ‘r’ in GRIN to start with.

  • Simon

    No baseball cards please Santa Claus.
    For Yoder and Multmann applause!
    Sem-Geek’s heart beating hard,
    For the rare Kierkegaard.
    Trade a Bath for that mint Hauerwas!

    • Dave Burkum

      I’m holding on to my Hauerwas, thank you. 🙂

    • Simon

      Ugh! Should read Barth not Bath.

  • Dave Burkum

    The Kingdom’s begun, Jesus stated,
    And Tom Wright says we should celebrate it
    As we work and we pray
    Toward the Full Kingdom Day–
    Eschatology inaugurated!

  • Simon

    Tony, Dave Burkum is an NT Wright limerical machine. Give the man some trading cards.

  • Marcion and Arius, the Dodgers.
    Augustine and Cyprian, Fathers.
    Luther’s my man
    because I’m a fan
    of beer drinking with no outside bothers.

    • As a Mennonite, I cannot fully endorse Luther, but I do appreciate your sentiment here. 🙂

  • Ric Shewell

    Do have to do a NT Wright one? I’ll try.

    Oh Tom Wright, the ironies!
    Your initials divulge your specialties!
    Given resurrection,
    I suppose that we must question
    Our modern sensibilities!

    boo, not funny. I prefer the Milbank one.

  • Hmm, don’t think my first attempt at posting went through. Here’s a (remotely) Christmas flavoured limerick:

    Arius was a bit of a dick,
    So thought jolly old Saint Nick.
    For not giving Jesus his place,
    Nick smacked him in the face,
    And Constantine gave him the flick.

  • Jones, Augustine, and Wright
    are brothers within the same fight.
    They argue to win
    about issues like sin
    only God knows who’s actually right.

  • Vanhoozer’s Bible is quite dramatic:
    God’s narrative profound and emphatic.
    Authorial intent,
    Universal covenant
    Combine for a robust hermeneutic.

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  • Eluros Aabye

    As a champion of the subjective,
    He cautioned us against the objective.
    His name’s Kierkegaard,
    And I sure want his card,
    ‘Though to give it or not’s your elective.

    (Apologies for mispronouncing his name; I went with what I imagined the average English-speaker would pronounce his name.)

  • To Schüssler Fiorenza women are indebted.
    Before her they were largely uncredited.
    She thoughtfully shared
    And with boldness declared
    A feminist theology intrepid!

  • On theology Wright casts a long silhouette.
    His opponents break out in a cold sticky sweat.
    He writes profusely
    (and sometime obtusely)
    To remind us the Kingdom’s already/not yet.

    • Ric Shewell

      cold sticky sweat!

  • T. Webb

    Dr. Jones, I thought you were “free church”. Are you really Greek Orthodox? Seriously.

    • Norman Jeune III

      There are two options here:

      (1) You either need to look at little harder at the card, and then remember that its a joke

      or (2) You’re being incredibly sarcastic…

      Have fun!

  • What use is a Wright, Barth, or Niebuhr?
    A Jones or some other believer?
    Can they really compete
    In a culture replete
    With the likes of a Gaga or Bieber?

  • There’s a guy we’ve all heard of named Abelard
    whose ideas on atonement make him a star.
    But did all that insight
    come from Heloise at night?
    I think she deserves her own card.

    (Maybe she has one. I don’t know.)

  • For a theologian such as Niebuhr
    Who knows his “Gerecht” from his “Lieber”
    There isn’t much justice
    For one thing we trust is
    The culture just loves Justin Bieber.

    • Like

    • Nice. Too bad there are no theologians that rhyme with “Kardashian.” Then we could have some fun!

  • One more:
    Rosemary Radford Ruether–
    I know that some would dispute her.
    A feminine God
    strikes many as odd.
    Chalk it up to male fears the neuter.

  • Kevin

    there once was a tohu wa-bohu
    the insistence of god cries “yes!” to
    “viens! viens!” ’tis Caputo’s
    prayer epiousios
    for ta me onta life is made new

  • Anyone else find this limerick-writing addictive?
    There once was a man from Assisi
    who went to the Pope and got pissy.
    About privilege and power
    this man was quite dour.
    The lifestyle of Christ’s not for sissies.

  • Alison

    Theologian of note Phyllis Trible
    Rhetorically re-read the Bible
    HER-manutics led
    To a conclusion that said
    To bias all readers are liable

    • Nik

      ‘HER-manutics’ = pure genius 😀

      • Alison

        oops – better reference my source. Chritianity Today hosts a blog called Her.meneutics – I shamelessly borrowed the idea !

  • Matt Puffer

    “Where was God? Why this evil?” queried Scoffer.
    “God with us suffers also to offer
    in Christ who has died,
    God Himself crucified
    for me, life’s beginning.” ~ Bonhoeffer

  • Matt Puffer

    There once was a man who was Swiss
    and though teaching in Bonn was remiss
    a salute to give Hitler
    ’cause he gave not a shit for
    and said “Nein!” to theologia naturalis.

    • Matt Puffer

      There once was a man who was Swiss
      and though teaching in Bonn would not kiss
      the ass of Hitler
      ’cause he gave not a shit for
      and said “Nein!” to theologia naturalis.

      Better, or no?

  • Sofia

    Favorites: the use of “nard”, Dave H.’s with Gaga and Bieber, and Joanna’s with the male fear of neuter.

    Great fun!

    Too bad your card uses a photo of you when you were 12, Tony. 😉

  • Drew

    I don’t know what makes a theologian. 

    Is it someone who thinks they are chosen

    For a life of sublime

    Institutional crime

    And cannot agree if He’s rosen?

  • Said Wesley to Whitehead, “Enough
    of this predestinational stuff!
    Though you cry, ‘inconvenient!’
    God’s grace is prevenient.
    As I strive, I am calling your bluff.”

  • elijah

    The blessed Mother Teresa
    Taught at no universities. Her
    Theology’s found
    With the poor on the ground,
    So to know it one must “come and see,” sir.

  • Dun Scotus turned back from the rail,
    His scholar’s face beaming, though pale.
    Said he, “our grand this-ness
    needs no bread-and-wine business.”
    And he HAEC-upped away at full sail.

  • I call myself Swedenborgian
    A crap ton don’t know the theologian
    He wrote of an inner sense
    That for some is pretty intense
    And so they go for the tonic and gin

  • Nik

    As an New College, Edinburgh person, in honour of my late, much-loved, and utterly ‘out-there’ Prof, with a token word in Scots – ‘gonnae’ = going to 🙂

    The beloved Prof. M. Althaus Reid
    Was a queer theologian indeed.
    But an S&M God
    Was for some, a bit odd:
    Gonnae stick with the Nicene creed.

  • Between Augustine and Pelagius,
    Flew epistles of multiple pagius.
    An “adorable” God
    Was–to P.–nothing odd,
    But Augustine found this outrageous!

  • For Eiesland, God’s gift to the nations
    Was neither the cross nor its stations,
    But compassion, enabled
    by God-the-disabled:
    A blessed and scarred incarnation.

    • Nik

      this rocks, mate – jolly well done 🙂

    • JenWarrenHauser

      While I’ve tended to like yours best (the ‘deeper’ limericks), this is by far the most moving. Quite Advent-ian.

  • Nik

    ‘Pimp’ my limerick, perhaps?

    Johnny Calvin’s quite misunderstood
    The Reformer reformin’ da ‘hood.
    He might be in yo’ face
    But it’s all about grace:
    The unmerited mercy of God

  • Christian

    Hello everyone. I’ve been lurking for a long time, peering through the clubhouse window. But this looks like too much fun to pass up. (I know, what is the world coming to when people resist serious conversations but join in the fun?) So here we go with my nod to the past:

    Dismissing miracles as uncouth,
    Bultmann mined the gospels for disproof.
    He demythologized hell,
    and some say they can’t tell
    if it’s all Bult-geschichte or truth.

    • “Bult-geschichte…” HAHAHAHA!

    • Norman Jeune III

      This is awesome!

  • I’m currently reading J. Denny Weaver’s _Nonviolent Atonement_. So, a soteriological limerick:
    Anselm I find quite alarming.
    Abelard’s flawed–though he’s charming.
    When we talk of atonement
    please let it be known that
    salvation through Christ is disarming.

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  • Mattias Lundberg

    There was a young hotspur in Sachsen
    at Friedrich the wise and the waxen
    far from his home
    in the ears of old Rome
    his doctrine went off like a klaxon.


    • JenWarrenHauser

      Aus gezeichnet! :>

  • Mattias Lundberg

    An erudite man of Rotterdam
    held firmly that the Vulgate was but a sham
    when Melanchthon read
    what St. John really said
    he exclaimed: “his translation is hotter – damn!”


  • Mattias Lundberg

    The sermons of a geezer from Hartz
    grabbed anabaptists by their hearts
    when he joined with the peasant
    things became quite unpleasant
    he was captured and cut into parts.


  • As delicate as King Kong
    Is a treatise written by Spong.
    Strip the Bible complete
    Of all its red meat
    And call yourself Christian e’er long.

    (I’m a newcomer by way of Joanna’s link, so I defer to the old-timers to win the contest. I ask merely that you appreciate how hard it was to choose Spong and not rhyme it with all the dirty options.)

  • Who’s more depressing than Soelle!
    Makes you want to crawl in a hole, eh?
    But to chaplains a must:
    “In Suffering we trust”
    And she’ll get you close to that goal-ah

  • Once spoke a gal named McFague:
    “Don’t hang God on some bygone peg.
    Try a new view,
    and if you do
    Choose a model contrary, not vague.”

  • stevej

    john yoder a scholar who no likey war
    alternative community he likey more
    cuz following the messiah, ain’t no day at the playa
    but is certainly worth fighting for

    • This warms a Mennonite heart. Love it!

    • JenWarrenHauser

      With your creative use of ‘likey,’ I can’t help but think of the priceless scene in Bruce Almighty, with Steve Carell: “Me like-a do de cha-cha.”

  • Mike Boring

    Arminius said you could fall,
    Though atonement was ample for all;
    Apart from the Spirit
    You just couldn’t hear it.
    —It drove Calvin right up the wall!

  • A prophet named Cone, greatly agitated,
    said: “theology’s false if blacks aren’t liberated!”
    He called out the white dudes
    Whose racism excludes
    The oppressed in this violent nation.

  • Emerging Limericist

    Theological Confession of an Emerging Limericist

    At first I was reading Rob Bell
    And was not so concerned about hell
    Gently drifted to Spong
    Blithely floating along
    Now my soul’s like a dry, empty well.

    From certainty to dialogue,
    Is my journey to understand God.
    But where has this led me?
    To read Dostoyevsky
    And post something cute on Jones blog.

  • Andrew K

    A hero with circular glasses,
    Bonhoeffer is loved by the masses,
    The girls cry “Dietrich”!
    And scream “Wir Lieben Dich!”
    His theology whooped Nazi asses.

  • Andrew K

    When Charlotte moved in with Karl Barth,
    some thought him a bit of a tart.
    He thought poems must rhyme,
    for now and all time,
    Which made him a boring old fart…..

    And many agreed with Barth’s line,
    That poems are better in rhyme,
    But his pal Emil Brunner
    thought it would be funner
    to provoke and hear Karl shout “NEIN!”

  • Andrew K

    Young Søren was always a pain,
    His mood was like thundery rain,
    he walked in the fog,
    and tripped over a dog,
    What a fate for that silly Great Dane.

  • Andrew K

    Can’t do justice to Schüssler Fiorenza,
    in a limerick of only one stanza,
    Stressed the importance of girls,
    in the New Testament world,
    Harvard prof with Feminist friends-a!

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  • Max King says that Jesus has come
    A Second time too and he’s won
    Atonement for ALL
    And undid the Fall
    Adam’s “death” completely undone!

  • And a couple about our first theologian, Jesus…

    He said “Go and do all that is right”,
    Choose wisely the battles you fight,
    Do justly, love mercy,
    Feed the hungry and thirsty,
    By your love they’ll see you’re My light.

    He said I am the Way and the Life,
    Follow me for relief from your strife
    I’m your Bridegroom
    To save you from doom
    As you learn to live like my wife!

    See ‘them’ as I do and you’ll know,
    Why I came to those you call ‘low’,
    Inequality to end,
    Humanity to mend,
    To unite ‘us and them,’ friend and foe.

  • Max King’s fulfilled covenantal belief –
    That from sin and death we now have our relief
    Paul’s already not yet
    It came and went
    Cross and Parousia triumphed over our grief

    Max King had a big revelation
    – It all happened in Jesus’ generation
    He promised He’d come
    Death to be undone
    Now that’s Gospel worth celebration!

  • Eusebius, church history’s hero
    Told our story all the way back to 0
    Said Jerusalem fell,
    And then all went to hell,
    And the tyrant? No doubt he was Nero

  • ok last one…

    Eusebius said what Jesus foretold
    Was fulfilled back in the days of old
    Jesus had come
    Our victory won –
    He made my theology remold

    Regarding his Demonstratio Evangelica (Proof of the Gospel)

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