Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More Odds and Ends

1. We finally have power again. Monday night, after we had lined up alternative sleeping arrangements, it came back on. I never realized how dependent I was upon electricity. It made me vow that the next house I buy would have multiple fire places so that there would be an alternative heating source (our last house in Kentucky had two fireplaces; the next house will as well).

2. In December, I had written this post about Harvard's curriculum review and their exclusion of a required religion course. The story has been picked up by MSNBC/Newsweek.

3. My friend, Aaron Messner, has accepted the position of college chaplain at Covenant College. Aaron is one of a rising generation of solid, expositional preachers; he has ministered for the past four plus years at Tenth Presbyterian Church. This is a great choice for a strategic position.

4. This was a very thought-provoking post by my colleague, Anthony Bradley. Even more interesting has been the discussion. I think at least part of the answer to the issues that Anthony and the blog commentators raise can be found in the fact that “theological” ideas work within cultural systems, in which other intellectual commitments, social and economic practices, education, gender, class identifications, and narratives work together either to support or subvert those theological ideas. Hence, it is not merely theology versus culture (and hence, a matter of clearing up cultural blind spots); rather, theological commitments always incarnate themselves within cultural systems, and hence will be partially worked out (i.e. with blind spots).

I think this is the only way to move toward a nuance explanation of the failures of conservative Protestants in the American South in the 19th and 20th centuries (or Dutch Reformed in South Africa during the same period; or Kuyper defending those Dutch Reformed “folk”; or Jonathan Edwards owning slaves; or mainline Protestants current failure on abortion; or whomever). It allows us to view the past with a critical eye, and to trace the way theological commitments were compromised and contradicted, but not completely jettison everything the past has to teach us (as some of the commentators on this post seem to desire). As I have suggested elsewhere, "Dabney [and others like him] should be remembered because the past is the parent of the present, because many of the public stances of evangelicals either fail to maintain the spiritual nature of the church or fail to provide room for humility and self-criticism, and because recognizing Dabney's failures can help point evangelicals in a different direction to 'a more excellent way.'" Sometimes historical failures can teach us far more because they force us to look at ourselves far more self-critically and ultimately to look to Jesus.

5. I'm sure glad these guys held on last night. I don't think anyway expecting them to start the Big Ten season 4-1.

6. I've been disappointed in the way the Pacers have played, and I wish they didn't have to give up Harrington in this deal. But anything to get rid of Stephen Jackson is a good trade.

7. The other night I finished Wendell Berry's new novel, Andy Catlett: Early Travels. I hope to have a review sometime soon. Along this line, this coming Sunday, I am slated to teach in adult Sunday school on the way that Berry's work can help us think about God, creation, and community at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

1 comment:

nathan c said...

Ah yes, the crazy blogging VP. Not sure how i stumbled on this one. Good stuff here sean. Fireplaces, harvard, Covenant strategy, theology incarnated culture (oh wait, is that redundant?), the Big Ten, and the Pacers--Wendell Berry would be proud. Seriously though, its good to know you are teaching with some Berry tools. In a place like Ladue...of course Covenant is not the Kirk:)

I almost introduced Berry to a class in the Fall but realized I was only doing it to try and shock folks. No real point or merit, i just thought one of the quotations was fantastic and almost used it to wake people up if nodding off. I had it in my back pocket for such an occasion. Thankfully, i didnt have to use it.