Tag Archives: David Fitch

Playing the Percentages

Theologian David Fitch has a good post on the debate about Rob Bell’s new book

I blame Rob Bell for this inflammatory mess (along with his publisher) because of the excessive bating and provoking all in an obvious attempt to attract attention to his book. This is no way to pastor I say. This is no way to lead. (but it does sell books).  On the other hand, to be even handed, I blame people on the Neo-Reformed side as well, people like Kevin DeYoung. Sorry Kevin, I know you mean well but when you do a 20 page review that largely argues out of an incredibly narrow view of orthodoxy with little to no appreciation for history before the 1920′s,  it comes off as defensive and parochial. For both sides, the tactics reveal a lack of a place to engage this issue productively for the furtherance of the Kingdom beyond our own personal enclaves (or ambitions). And yet discussing this issue is essential in order to be shaped for a posture for Mission that has been lacking amongst the traditional evangelicals, the church I am part of and remain committed to.

I have been kind of intrigued by the entire debate… not so much that I will read the book or any of the debate but the nature of the debate in itself.  Let me explain.  Theological debates never used to be like this.  They were much more private events, often done through letters, in person, or in small circulation academic journals.  Book sales were small.  I am going out on a limb and say that Rob Bell will probably outsell Barth’s Commentary on Romans in a couple of months.  What used to be a private and contemplative debate has been sped up tremendously through blogs, Twitter, and competing book deals and the resulting conference speaking gigs.  All of this is driven by Christian publishing companies that are either shareholder held or are owned by News Corp, famous for taking sides and then profiting from the division.

There is always going to be different ideas in the church.  I have some reservations with Brian McLaren’s theology that we have talked privately over (not sure who is right on that… been thinking about it for ten years) and even with David Fitch, I still am trying to figure out his theology of social justice and how to work on it in my context.  Hopefully in the next decade I can put to words my issues with it but it needs some more thinking about but my theological reservations don’t need to be tweeted, blurted, and raced out.  At the same time, I need to present my ideas in the expectation that some of them are going to be offensive to others.  I am a Methodist.  I am quite confident that my theology is correct but some of my beliefs stand in contrast to my own denomination even let alone others yet I don’t feel the need to refute and inflame others all of the time.  I have my questions about Brian McLaren’s theology, David Fitch’s social gospel and CFL allegiances (I think but check back in 2018), Darryl Dash’s theological worldview (he’s Baptist, same could be said for Santosh Ninan and Kyle Martin), Len Hjalmarson (Anabaptist),  Randall Friesen (moved to Alberta and cheered for Brett Favre), or anyone that I know that doesn’t subscribe to a liberal Free Methodist worldview that I do yet i think we have managed to have better discussions than what we saw over this latest dust up.  We are always going to have things that divide us (the Hamilton Tiger Cats?  Really?!) but can’t we have these discussions without cutting each other off and using the terms heretic.  Good grief, Tillich and Barth continued on their correspondence despite seeing the world in very different ways (with evidence that Tillich and a pantheist.

I wonder when we are going to realize that speed isn’t always vital or even desirable in theological debates.  The rush to be first or provocative may appease your masters at News Corp, Google, and Amazon but is it adding anything to the church.  I don’t think it is.  I think what we gained in speed was lost in perspective, contemplation, and depth of dialogue. 

Reflections on an Obama Presidency

Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention Both David Fitch and Brian Walsh offer up some thoughts on what a Barack Obama presidency will mean for the nation and what it means theologically.  Both are worth reading.

Somewhat related are 50 facts that the Telegraph posted about him.  I left some of the ones I got a kick out of with my reflections coming afterwards.

  • He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics

If I was McCain I would attacked him on this because everyone knows that Batman can kick both of their asses.

  • He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be left-handed

As a lefty, I expect some pro-left handed legislation to come about, we are due.

  • While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN and had sports channels on instead

I know that makes him sound cool but let’s be honest, the guy is a White Sox fan.  Most White Sox players even cheer for the Cubs.

  • His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea

All American iced tea tastes like sawdust.  If I am Stephen Harper I  am concerned about this if I ever get invited to Washington.

  • He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president – he didn’t

I promised Wendy I wouldn’t go bald.  Men occasionally make promises we can’t keep.

  • He can bench press an impressive 200lbs

What’s sad is that his 40 time is probably faster than mine as well.

  • He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.

Haven’t we all.

  • His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees

Regardless of his politics, I would much rather be stuck with his iPod than John McCain’s iPod.

  • He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker

Are any of us suprised that the man is a kick butt Scrabble player.

  • He doesn’t drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol

No wonder he ran for President, he felt out of place being sober on the Senate floor.

  • He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician

Everyone I know would have liked to be an architect rather than what we do.

  • As a teenager he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine

He out Bill Clinton’d, Bill Clinton.

  • He hates the youth trend for trousers which sag beneath the backside

Finally, common ground with John McCain.

  • He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal

This is why he won the youth vote, he knows our pain.

  • He says his worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry

If this president thing doesn’t work out, he can always be a blogger.

  • He wears $1,500 (£952) Hart Schaffner Marx suits

Don’t we all.

  • He owns four identical pairs of black size 11 shoes

What I want to know is what he wears on the basketball court?

  • He was given the code name “Renegade” by his Secret Service handlers

Let me guess what John McCain’s nickname was… Maverick or Grandpa?

  • He plans to install a basketball court in the White House grounds

Older guys like him make me mad.  Not only does he get his own basketball court but he still has a game to go with it.

  • His speciality as a cook is chilli

That had to be popular on the campaign bus.