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Ben stiller talks about Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of suspicion in the movie While We’re Young! And he plays an incompetent lecturer, just like me! It’s on the same theme as ‘This is Forty,’ but it’s a lot better. It’s about being okay with growing older. Worth watching.

Today I met with Brian Rosner to talk about Biblical Theology. He’s working on a book on the topic of a biblical theology of being ‘known by God’ – which looks really interesting. This theme is more prominent than I had realised.

An interesting recurring issue that has come up as I’ve talked to different people about Biblical Theology is that, while it is true that it can be grounded in the divine unity of the Scriptures, it is not always pedagogically expedient for advocates to start from this point. Biblical theology (as whole Bible salvation-historical interpretation) can also start from simple careful attention to the intricacies of the texts themselves, as products of authors who believed in a God who was bigger than their own vantage point or place in history. In other words, Biblical Theology is not just for theological conservatives; it is for anyone who wishes to take the documents of the Bible seriously.

This morning I met with Peter Adam to talk about Biblical Theology. This was a helpful time. He pointed out that a ‘biblical theology’ that is only able to cope with narrative is not worthy of the name – it needs to do proper justice to the non-narrative portions of Scripture. I did admit that I was uncomfortable with children’s ‘story Bibles,’ because they only ever focus on narratives – leaving out, for example, the epistles. Peter said that Tertullian enthused, ‘I adore the fullness of the Scriptures,’ meaning not just their depth, but their breadth – in a great variety of modes.

Interesting food for thought…

I’ve been asked to speak on this topic on Sunday. Here’s my current attempt at an answer:

We who were low and without hope have the good news of salvation proclaimed to us: Because of the arrival of Jesus, our debts can be forgiven and our impurities can be cleansed. But many who are first – whether kings or the rich or the Pharisees – will be last… because the kingdom of God has come in the lowly Messiah, who was destined to suffer, die, rise again, and come unexpectedly.

At our conference session on social media today, I shared some thoughts on my impressions of Twitter…

  • it gives me something to do when I’m bored. I’m someone who fidgets and will always be doing something… so following a Twitter feed of interesting links and comments is more edifying than letting my idle moments slip into sin. It’s better to develop a Twitter habit than to take up smoking or watching porn or developing some other habit 
  • it allows connection to other people – it’s better than a games console 
  • it allows me to hear big news instantly, especially as it affects Christians 
  • it allows me to hear both conservative and liberal/progressive sides of the story, as well as international perspectives: I follow the Pope, mainline leaders, evangelical students, Africans, Americans, Europeans… 
  • Negatively, it can skew my sense of the world, because I have chosen those I follow: are these voices truly representative? Furthermore, do I listen to voices that speak truth, beauty, and goodness?

Today in our conference session on Christians and Social Media, I pointed to a few of my own observations on the benefits and hazards of keeping a blog:

  • it gives me a routine to process what is important in my work. In other words, each day, I’m able to think: what am I working on today that intrigues me, and is worth telling others about? The answer makes it into my blog
  • it gives me opportunity to gain feedback and interaction on works in progress. This has been helpful for talks and publications, and has sometimes had the effect of changing my mind on a topic
  • I have realised that sometimes I need to do a silly or devotional or openly self-critical post in order to deflate the self-promoting scholarly image that I’m tempted to portray 
  • it enables me to hear liberal perspectives at length and to engage with them in a non-anonymous setting. I’m also forced to recognise that such people will read what I write, so I cannot caricature their views 
  • it enables me to disseminate info about my work, and to find out about others’ work. 
  • it is tempting to seek influential stats among bibliobloggers. Sometimes I need to pull back 

Today I began working with my friend Rory on a session on ‘Christians and Social Media’ for a Christian conference on Monday and Tuesday of next week. So I’m going to need to be on my best online behaviour. You’ll notice I’ll be producing superb, deeply thoughtful tweets, as well as witty-yet-profound blog posts. Then I’ll be able to casually point to my twitter and blog on the Monday and Tuesday, as examples of perfect online presence. So, I’m going to need about 50-60 adoring comments between now and then, just to make it seem convincing… oh and lots of ‘likes’ and ‘favourites,’ please – hop to it! With any luck, I can create myself in my own desired image between now and then…

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