Saturday, January 30, 2010

jokes without humor

Theology After Google
Here’s my answer in five theses. Whether you love them or hate them, I hope you’ll interact with them:

So, far be it from me to decline such an invite, sooo...

Theology is not something you consume, but something you produce. In the Age of Gutenberg, you read theology in a book; you heard it preached in sermons; and you were taught it by Bible teachers. In the Age of Google, theology is what you do when you’re responding to blogs, contributing to a wiki doc or google doc, marking up a Word doc on your computer, participating in worship, inventing new forms of “ministry,” or talking about God with your friends in a pub.

In reading that, it seems like he's saying that never before have people thought about and discussed theological matters. This presumption on his part reminds me of something Chesterton wrote about himself in the Introduction to Orthodoxy

For if this book is a joke it is a joke against me. I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. If there is an element of farce in what follows, the farce is at my own expense; for this book explains how I fancied I was the first to set foot in Brighton and then found I was the last. It recounts my elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious. No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself; no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him: I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne. I freely confess all the idiotic ambitions of the end
of the nineteenth century. I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it. I did strain my voice with a painfully juvenile exaggeration in uttering my truths. And I was punished in the fittest and funniest way, for I have kept my truths: but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine. When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom. It may be, Heaven forgive me, that I did try to be original;
but I only succeeded in inventing all by myself an inferior copy of the existing traditions of civilized religion. The man from the yacht thought he was the first to find England; I thought I was the first to find Europe. I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.

When someone talks as if Christians over the past few hundred or even couple of thousands of years merely took in and never produced, I can only assume that this someone is either practicing more hyperbol-ventiliation, or is simply showing a monumental amount of ignorance. Because whatever else mankind has done, and no matter how bad the quality of it may often have been, man has most certainly produced theological thought. And simply because people up to a few years ago didn't have Googles or Wikis or Word in which to do it, just shows that the supposed "Theology after Google" isn't really all they want us to think it is. It's like saying people didn't do carpentry before the advent of the laser level.

It's rather humorous how what Chesterton says he was like is how so many of the progressives and emergents say they are trying to be, in so many words. I especially like "I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it".

Sadly, this writer, TheOoze in general, and most emergents and progressives as a whole, have not yet gotten the joke, that it's not a nice joke, and that they are they butt of it. They are trying to found a heresy of their own, and are not yet prepared to listen to those who are telling them that it is a heresy. Were they to actually do the hard work of putting in the last touches, like Chesterton did, they might actually learn that what they claim to be looking for they would find in biblical orthodoxy.

But for now, they would rather think their own high-blown thoughts, and try to shoehorn them into the Bible, even if it means doing unspeakable violence to the Bible, rather than let the Bible correct their thinking and beliefs. Which would be interesting, where it not that what they are saying and teaching has consequences, both for themselves and for those who believe what they are saying. Which is why the joke is not a nice humorous one.

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