Thinking Out Loud

January 19, 2009

Chasing After Words – Encore Presentation of 6/11/08

Ever wish some of those doctrinal bloggers would just let their hair down and deal in some real world issues?  I guess that’s what I was thinking on June 11th when this post originally appeared.

Acts 18:15
But since it involves questions
about words and names and your own law—settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.”

1 Timothy 6:4
he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels
about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

2 Timothy 2:14
Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling
about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.

Looking back with consideration to what I’m doing today, I wish I had pursued an MTh degree.   There was a time it almost happened.   My lowly honors B.A. in Sociology and Philosophy doesn’t enter my day-to-day activities.   I think theological education is great; and while pastors don’t tell you everything they know on Sunday mornings, things they’ve studied are often looming in the background to the text they choose to preach on that week.

I have been fortunate to have a gift for writing that has allowed me to be an ‘influencer’ in various facets of the Christian world.   From my days writing record reviews for Contemporary Christian Music magazine in the ’70s and early ’80s, to position papers on FM Radio broadcasting in Canada that helped pave the way for Christian stations here, to various articles and related speaking opportunities on Christian culture generally and Christian music and publishing specifically; to a book on a particular social issue hopefully publishing in the fall of this year.

The blog you’re reading was sparked to some degree by some writing an old friend sent me; it wasn’t an article like the kind I write here, but it reminded me that my creative output had been slowing down.   So armed with a backlist of newsletter articles, I started blogging and in the process more than tripled the time I had spent reading other peoples’ blogs and discovering new ones.

Many of the Christian blogs are written by Christian academics writing to other Christian academics.   They may be pastors vocationally, but they are part of an academic world.   Three or four this week comment about completing DMin degrees in the spring.   One talks about a symposium he has been asked to participate in overseas.   Several discuss the latest commentaries.   One mentions the new edition of a Greek text.

Like I said in the first paragraph, I think education is great and I’m openly green with envy about some (not all) of the subjects these guys (and a lesser number of girls) get to study.    But it is incredibly time-consuming, and for the ones who are in pastoral ministry, much of this is at the expense of time that could be spent with parishioners.    In fact, there’s one blogger who I have to hope doesn’t have a congregation that reads his blogs, because  I think some of them might be rather upset if they did.   Or, as one church board member told me:

“Over the years we supported and indirectly paid for the completion of his masters and doctoral studies.   But as soon as he completed his doctorate, he was outta here.”

Which ranks right up there with

“We encouraged him to take a month off and get some third world missions exposure in the far east.  Instead he came back and typed his resignation and now pastors the International church in the capital city.”

Much of what is discussed in the theological blogosphere is about words.   As I said so eloquently in an earlier post on this topic, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”   The NIV scriptures posted above remind me how all this “talk” is represented in the Bible.  Oddly enough,  I couldn’t find a reference to the word “blog” in the King James, but I think that many bloggers are afflicted with the same spirit of words.  A bunch of guys talking to each other, talking about what others have talked about, and talking about what someone said about what they talked about the day before.  (With one doctrinal group much more vocal than their counterparts, but that’s another topic for another day.)

So, it came to pass this morning that I had a revelation:  Christian academics are rather cultic.  Some of them, anyway.   The problem for me, and others like me, is that it’s easy to sucked into the vortex of these theological discussions.  “Though I speak with the words of a theological genius, but have not love…” It’s easy to think that these are things that really matter.  Many of them dance around core doctrinal values, which lends to their air of importance.   But much of it is just words.   Theological wood, hay and stubble, if you like.   That’s why I’ve tried to keep this blog with both of its blogfeet firmly planted on the ground.

So there you are.   I just declared some of the most brilliant Christian academic minds in the blogosphere as part of a cult.   What are you going to do about it?


  1. […] and 2 Tim 2:14 reminds us can consist of quarreling about words which leads to strife.   See also this post.)   On the other hand, other brands (or cults!) of Christianity tend to be more about about doing […]

    Pingback by The Cultization of Calvinism « Thinking Out Loud — August 26, 2010 @ 9:28 am

  2. […] The above reference to Reformers reminded me about another group that does a lot of talking, Christian academics.   Here’s my concerns with that group, as expressed in January, 2009. […]

    Pingback by Top 98 Blogs: Somebody’s Idea of “Best” Isn’t Mine « Thinking Out Loud — September 27, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

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