The Speckled Mind

Friday, July 04, 2008

Preposterous Theological Statements: Episode 1

As many of you know, I am working my way toward a Ph.D. in Biblical studies. This involves, amongst other things, a ton of quality time in the library. A lot of the things I read are very good, but the process of winnowing can also be frustrating when the percentage of chaff of is very high. As a tribute to the theological chaff, I am starting a new series on the Speckled Mind called, "Preposterous Theological Statements." This will, I hope, help all of you to share the journey with me and participate in mocking and ridiculing Biblical scholars who have truly missed the point.

Our subject today is James M. Robinson, professor emeritus of religion at Claremont Graduate school in California. Robinson, a member of the Jesus seminar and prominent 'Q' theologian wrote the following preposterous theological statement:

"[Q is] the most important Christian document we have."

The preposterous nature of this statement is pretty evident. For those who don't know, Q is the proposed source material shared by Matthew and Luke that is not found in Mark. Basically the math works like this: If Matthew = Luke and does not = Mark, that = Q.

The biggest absurdity of the statement is that WE DON'T HAVE Q. It is a hypothetical source reconstructed by Biblical scholars who could find nothing better to do with their time. IF it ever existed--and some scholars consider that a big IF--it is lost and gone forever (oh, my darling Clementine).

Second, to say that it would be more important for the Christian layperson and scholar alike if we could reconstruct it with any certainty (which we can't) is just plain silly. How does a document with bare statements aid us more than the narrative beauty of the existing gospels?

Third, a hypothetical source is clearly NOT a 'document.' To say it is would be like referring to Pegasus as a farm animal. Which gives me an idea...

Mr. James Robinson--in your honor I have to assert that, "Pegasus is the most important farm animal we have."

How do these people get degrees?

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

I Think I Love My Wife's Football Team

Ah, football season. You bring me so much anticipation of joy. And, as a career Vikings fan, you never fail to bring me bitter, bitter disappointment. Examples of the disappointment abound. There was the season that the Vikings started 6-0 and then missed the playoffs. Or the year that their sizzling offense was shut out 42-0 in the playoffs against a mediocre Giants team. And who could forget the debacle against the Falcons in the 1999 playoffs?

My commitment to the 'hometown' team has waxed and waned in the midst of these pratfalls. Some, my wife included, have applied the label, "bandwagon" to such tepid loyalty. And as a contrast, she has remained unwaveringly steadfast and faithful to her team through thick and thin. Like many other Packer fans, she will bleed green and gold until someone pries the myriad of Green Bay Superbowl wins from her cold, dead fingers. Even through the emotional roller coaster of Brett Favre's retirement, she remained steadfast. Granted, there was a period of mourning--3-4 months, if my memory serves me correctly. But she has ultimately moved to the 'acceptance' stage of grief and has prepared herself emotionally for the advent of the Aaron Rodgers era of Packer football.

But then a bomb was dropped yesterday. Perhaps I should let her speak for herself. This is an email that she sent to all of her Packer fan friends yesterday (edit: she sent this BEFORE Brett Favre's text message denying that he would return):

Subject Line: OMG

Hey friends,

Although it is completely hearsay, I have so many mixed feelings. ESPN speculated (let me repeat, speculated) about a denial from Green Bay and a Vikings team that would welcome Favre with open arms. Tim was giddy at that possibility! Although I can hardly blame him, I told him that might be really bad for our marriage.
What do you think? Are you excited, crying, unmoved, or just mad?


P.S. Is it just me, or is Brett Favre just like a stereotypical bad boyfriend? You love him, he breaks your heart, he leaves, then he calls saying he misses you.....hmmmm. I seriously don't know if I can take this all summer.

Now, granted, this email is dripping with sarcasm (and wit, I might add). But I think it illustrates rather well the differences in loyalty schemes between a Packer fan and a Viking fan. And, so does this (start listening at about the 2:45 mark).

So, what do you think, blog-reading faithful? Can our marriage survive Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform? I'd like to think it can. But, of course, I'm far more optimistic about the prospects of our marriage than I am about my football team.

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