Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Seminary reflections, week 3

1. I could not have lasted even this long -- three weeks -- in seminary immediately after college, partly because of later life experience, but really, mainly because I hadn't yet been introduced to serious scholarship.

2. My history M.A. has greatly prepared me for this; my career dealing with words and the ideas behind them has also greatly prepared me.

3. Everyone who aspires to seriously study the Bible should read this book or one very like it: JOHN H. HAYES and CARL R. HOLLADAY, "Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook," 3d ed. (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007).

4. I could be a seminary snob before I know it. :-)


Crap. I slipped.

Gonna have to start over with a new desire chip.
great reflections dawg, glad to hear you're love'n it! i haven't checked that book out, but i will have to. always good to keep up and get refreshers.

yay seminary snobbishness!
Exegete ER
With you in spirit, copied the link, read the little exchange. Yeah, what a waste of time and money, dude, to actually study when all you should do is read it like Neil does. You should send him a check and read his blog every day and you shall be saved. Isn't that in the Bible? Something like that, but since I'm a Liberal Christian who hasn't memorized the Bible, and since I'm a traitorous insider who teaches the exact opposite of Eternal Christian Truth, what do I know?
Two quick things - the book on exegesis is pretty standard, still have my copy lo these many years on.

What's a seminary snob?
Standard only for seminarians.

Seminary snob, that'd be like a history snob or political science snob or any other kind of academic specialty snobbery. "What? You've not read (fill in the blank with yoru favorite theologian or exegete, etc.)? Why, then, how can you *possibly* think ..." That sort of thing.
Ah, yes. Gotcha.
I see whispers of that great American tradition of smug aspersions toward learning and intellectual challenge.

So populist, so often destructive, while being a well-intentioned desire for democracy, it is, rather, misguided defense of static denominators.

When we ask ourselves how large swaths of our society can, with lunacy, talk about a Socialist or Marxist President who may not be an American, we can find part of our answer in our own disparagement of intellectual pride.

I'm with Luke. Yeah, competitive intelligence!
Did I say "see whispers"? Sorry, I meant that I "hear shadows."
Or does blogging mix the mediums? This is a problem for McLuhan.

Can virtual conversation avoid being a mixed message, since the medium is mixed media?
One of the downsides of a democratic (small "d") polity is the democratization of our attitudes toward our fellow citizens. Equality of standing - before the law, before the poll - should, it seems, necessarily include not taking one's intellectual achievements as a mark of inherent superiority. Having grasped that particular nettle myself, I do not, as a rule, make it my business to let others think that my having read and mastered various things they might not leads me to believe that there is an inherent superiority in these achievements. Others have achieved things in different settings that I never would or could do on a variety of matters, and I admire those accomplishments.

All the same, Feodor's point is quite cogent and correct. It is one thing to democratize our polity. It is quite another to disparage not just learning but even a certain amount of native intelligence such that we are held in thrall by those least informed on matters important to the whole public. It would be far better if we could just call them all really stupid and ignorant, laugh at them, and continue on our way relatively unmolested.
And would that we could be "relatively unmolested." Maybe in time, but for now that cannot be.

It's been a long time since a previous era suffered its public square to be so politically molested.

Watergate was not defended by significant numbers, and then not in open televised lunacy.

As I said before, we are in the sixties, and it is the side of darkness that has the organization, the networks, the rhetoricians, though, in our time, it is a bestial kind of rhetoric, the inverse of the moral heights of the left's leaders of forty years ago.
In the sixties? Not really. We are in our own time, facing our own troubles and opportunities.

As far as the right being a dark side of the left's "moral heights", I would dispute that on any number of levels. With the exception of Martin King (and even he had his personal weaknesses, including women and intellectual theft during his pursuit of advanced education), many of the leaders of the New Left during the sixties were as morally degraded as those on the right today. They had a penchant for overheated rhetoric, some even a nihilist's desire for violence for its own sake, that is shocking to read today. While the goals of racial (and later gender) equality and an end to an unjust and illegal war were indeed noble, even moral goals, by the time the late-60's rolled around, the pursuit of these goals had been replaced by demand for revolution, armed resistance, racial separation in the name of Black Power, and even a brand of left-wing anti-intellectualism that is stunning in both its ferocity and true stupidity.

The Democratic Party was destroyed by its relationship not only to the movement for racial equality, but also the anti-war movement in its most heated form. Let us hope the same fate awaits the Republican Party as it continues to court the most virulent forms of right-wing nonsense around us.
One note on my previous post - that is written even though I continue to harbor great sympathy for many of those same extremists, most especially the Black Panthers. I can feel the emotional attachment, but still be clear-eyed enough to understand that they were hardly moral exemplars.
It's horribly surprising, and not much fun, to see GKS present an adaptation of Newt Gingrich's History of the Sixties.

His focus on the extreme and violent minority of the underground Left has blinders. But that he dissolves the unutterable gifts and endless sacrifice of thousands of marchers, workers and martyrs is really unconscionably lazy - and uncharacteristic - of GKS.

When he says, "many of the leaders of the New Left during the sixties were as morally degraded as those on the right today," does he include Marion Wright Edelmen?

Bob Moses?
Robert Kennedy?
Fannie Lou Hamer?
Roy Wilkins?
Medger Evers?
Bayard Rustin?
Harry Emerson Fosdick?
Reinhold Niebuhr?
Vernon Johns?
Howard Thurman?
Diane Nash?
Harry Belafonte?
Stanley Levinson?
Ralph Abernathy?

John L. Lewis? An American saint if there ever was one.

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner?

Obviously these few are just off the top of my head. Are these as morally degraded as the Abramoffs, Ralph Reeds, Grober Norquists, Bill O'Reillys, Glen Becks of today?

Or will he take refuge in some elliptical definition of the New Left as only the violent. The problem would be that he is responding to my comment. And I was clearly not talking about the Weathermen.

Obviously, GKS was not thinking. There was something else operating here.

It's gross to see so many heroes disappear from consideration, or, just as bad, dissolved into MLK, much less to mention the distasteful noting of MLKs humanity.

He was a nationally known figure at 28. He was killed before he was 40. Considering what he accomplished with his life, I'd think we could cut him a little slack.

As I said elsewhere, we are in a reversal of the sixties. It is the forces of love that are ambushed and bewildered by this sweeping activism of paranoid rage and resentments.

Just here, GKS seems to be bewildered and dazed, way off point and not himself.

We are all in danger of losing our minds trying to process the daily displays of irrational fears fed by the historic wellsprings of racist instincts.

How to interpret? How to understand? How to oppose?

I'd hope that a seminary degree can help, an off day for GKS notwithstanding.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?