Thursday, March 19, 2009

One of the Worst Analogies Ever

For Christmas, my father-in-law got me half an iPod. After ponying up for the other half, I discovered the wonderful world of podcasts. Veritas Forum's and William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith podcasts are at the top of my list but, thanks to a friend's recommendation, I've discovered the oddly captivating personality of Maxie Burch. Burch is the Associate Pastor for Faith Development at North Phoenix Baptist Church. Holding a PhD in history, he does a lot of teaching at NPBC on Church history and historical theology. He's got about 30 lectures or so on iTunes and I'm slowly working my way through them. He's passionate and brings new perspectives to some old theological questions. And while I reject some of his presuppositions, his take on certain details and some of his conclusions, I welcome his attempts to bring theology to the local Church and to get all believers thinking deeply about their faith and about the God of their faith.

But today he went too far. I was listening to his introductory lecture (because I haven't been doing so in order) when he gave the wise admonition that we should read theology broadly while, at the same time, being discerning about what we appropriate into our own belief systems. I wholeheartedly endorse such an approach to theology but I absolutely reject his analogy:

"Here's my rule of thumb for theology. You do theology like you eat fish. You eat the meat and spit out the bones. Part of the reason for a course like this is, in your own heart and mind, trying to identify for you what the bones are. But it's not a good rule of thumb to never eat for fear that there are bones. There's a lot of good stuff out there to eat, it's just a matter of figuring out how to manage the bones."

Absolutely disgusting! If I did theology like I eat fish, I'd be out of a job. I agree that it's not a good rule of thumb to never eat fish for fear that there are bones. But it is a good rule of thumb to never eat fish since fish are gross. I get his point, of course, but wow, he certainly achieved the opposite objective with me than I'm sure he was intending. Thanks for the advice, Maxie, but, next time, pick a more tasty analogy.

5 comments:

Trader Joel said...

So you're saying that you would not have eaten with Jesus on the beach in John 21...sad...

eric O said...

Yeah, I would've done a lot of fasting if I was a disciple. I'm so glad that God placed me in the 20th/21st centuries and not in 1st century Palestine. People say that we better learn to like fish because that's what Jesus ate and so that's what we'll eat in Heaven. Oh man, I hope not!

Trader Joel said...

Well, do you like lamb?

Trader Joel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric O said...

Not especially, but I'd eat a ton before I'd eat any fish. This sure isn't sounding too good. I promise I'm not an antisemite. Also, I'm sure my resurrected body will have sanctified taste buds and I'll like fish and lamb if I'm supposed to.