Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Two views on theologians, by musicians:

First, Johnny Cash in The Man Who Couldn't Cry:

The man who couldn’t cry experiences the extremes of suffering – from viewing “napalmed babies,” to losing his wife, to losing his arm in Vietnam. He ends up in jail, where he is abused, and still not a tear. Finally, ‘experts’ are called in to examine him:

Doctors were called in, scientists, too

Theologians were last and practically least

They all agreed sure enough; this was sure no cream puff

But in fact an insensitive beast

So, he is shipped off to an insane asylum, and he finally learns to cry. In fact, he dies of dehydration from crying. In heaven, everything he lost is restored, and the theologians? In heaven,

The theologians were finally found out.

Wilco has a song called Theologians. It begins:


They don't know nothing

About my soul

About my soul

I'm an ocean

An abyss in motion

Slow motion

Slow motion

They seem to be talking about theologians of glory. Pretending to knowledge of invisible things, calling evil good and good evil, judging the souls of others from a supposedly superior position. The intellectual supporters of Christendom, they are as impotent as Christendom is dying - or dead.


  1. blogger seems to be having fits today.

    I'd like to refer you to a post called Heart To Heart (May 3) and another called Feelings are not up for Debate. (may 8) at http;//newlifeemerging.blogspot.com

    from an (almost)IRer, which you should understand, since you are on the Divide.

  2. p. softly, Thanks for the referrals.
    In my own experience, though I have good (intellectual) reasons for why I believe what I believe, in a sense those reasons are secondary to the deeper reasons, of which 'reason,' the conscious mind, may be unaware. Perhaps those deeper reasons are relational. For example, I became Lutheran in my 20s for a variety of reasons, some of them rational. But deeper than reason, I formed meaningful relationships with Lutheran Christians at seminary and joined a Lutheran church whose members had reached out to my wife and me. It wasn't that a Lutheran gave me a knock-down argument for Lutheran Christianity, but, with the relational basis with Lutherans in place, the Lutheran understanding of our relationship with God fit (and challenged) my experience of God and illuminated the gospel of Jesus Christ in Scripture. In the context of my life and relationships, from my perspective, the Lutheran tradition cohered with and corresponded to divine and human reality.
    I was a Ranger on the Divide for 6 years, but have now gone West a couple hundred miles.

  3. Oh, I didn't know you moved. I see that a new church building is taking place. We want to add on to our building, mega $$$ these days, but our building is tired out. I'm about 29 miles up the road from Thunderbird....you get the picture....and know which town I'm talking about. We are delighted with the current pastor, a rookie, and still very good friends with the pastor that you may remember. I am very good friends with the AIM at OSLC.

    We've been here 29 years, so I've seen how the church is the people of God and the pastors come and go at God's choosing.

    Thanks for replying. I started looking at Lutheran Blogs about 6 months ago. Also some other Christian ones, but one can only read so much, so I'm sticking mostly to the Lutheran blogs that are spiritual and friendly. Unfortunately, I've found out that some of those of a certain branch of the Lutherans aren't open to much in the way of spiritual discussion, expressing of opinions, especially women expressing opinions, even asking questions, and I was even told that it is hearesy to say that I've had an experience of God, outside of the scriptures or communion.

    Well, I do have opinions, which is why I started my own blog.

    If you haven't found it yet, this might interest you. This was just started by some Lutherans two months ago. It has a topic that Lutherans of good will can write about.

  4. I'm not sure that I made it clear that the referrals are not my blogs. I'm at http://proclaimingsoftly.blogspot.com/

  5. Thanks for the comment - my family and I enjoyed the Lutheran camp in your area - as well as the little movie theatre in town.
    I know what you mean about some Lutheran blogs. Some seem to think it a badge of honor to 'fight heresy' fiercely (what they see as heresy), with words they'd never use in face to face conversation with a stranger. There is a certain narrow Lutheranism, which sticks to our Lutheran confessions, but in a very un-Lutheran way. Luther was always fresh, contemporary, never a slave even to what he himself had written. It seems very un-Lutheran to be a fundamentalist with his writings.

  6. You put that well. I've wondered, and maybe judging too superficially, if some people put the Lutheran Confessions, Luther's writings, and the Bible on pedestals of the same height. I do admire the writings of Luther, but I don't think they are meant to be quoted equally with the Bible.

    I wish you well in your new calling. Perhaps you are "attached" to a different camp now?

  7. Thank you. Please greet that AIM at OSLC for me when you see her. Yes, in fact, I am now on the board at our local Lutheran camp, and getting more involved here than I was able to on the IR.
    For Lutherans, the Lutheran Confessions (the Book of Concord) is the most important lens through which we read the Bible, a classic summary of the Lutheran understanding of what the Bible means. But it is not the Bible, and it is no substitute for it. What the Book of Concord does do is point to the center of the Bible - Jesus Christ. It relentlessly lifts up the good news, grace, faith, and the word of God, all centered in Christ. The Book of Concord is like John the Baptist, pointing to Jesus. But it is not perfect, not God-breathed.

  8. I'm a cradle Lutheran, actually baptized in the WELS church, came from a year round Sunday School as a child, a confirmation class that memorized the whole catechism (but never opened the Bible), went to a Lutheran College where I took the required religion classes (probably more than they require these days), I've been active in my church, joined, etc. by transfer, been the superintendent, president, preached, lectored, etc. etc. and go to weekly Bible Study, but the Confessions are only something I've only "heard" about. And more so on THOSE blogs. So is it true that our branch of Lutheranism (I was old ALC, ALC, and now ELCA) just isn't into the confessions? A friend, from broader denominational background was very active in the church here, but when he looked into joining, he looked at all that we supposedly stand for and declined to join, because the constitution, etc. says that you are to adhere to other things. This was quite awhile ago, but I presume he may have meant the confessions.