On March 5, 2010

Genesis, Burbank, and Fletch

N.T Wright has been one of my favorite Theologians for the past several years, and I’m interested to hear what you think about his comments here on Genesis 1-2. Listen carefully to what he’s saying because he’s not arguing against God creating the world, but rather against a flat reading of the text that turns Genesis into a running argument against Charles Darwin or Enlightenment for that matter. What’s your thoughts on this? Can you see where he’s coming from? What do you think is gained or lost with this kind of reading of these chapters?

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So I flew into Burbank yesterday to speak at a Conference this weekend at the Glendale church of Christ. I flew in early to hang out with my good friend Bryan Schackmann, a preacher buddy working at a Kingdom outpost here. And here is one of the lesser talked about perks of preaching.

Sometimes you get to go to California. For Jesus.

I took a vacation day to come up a day early and spend time hanging out, eating at In and Out Burgers, and seeing the movies stars.

Which is exactly what we did.

Bryan has a church friend who works at Paramount Studios and he got us the campus there for a tour. And I’m not talking about one of those group tours you see on Full House reruns. I mean we walked along with this worker, acting like we owned the place. We got to go check into the studio where I Love Lucy, Cheers, and Frasier was filmed. Today they were setting it up for a Nickelodeon show called True Jackson (which was not nearly as impressive).

But while we were walking along we bumped into Chevy Chase (also Dr. Phil, but that wasn’t as cool as meeting the man also known as Fletch). He was there filming the NBC comedy “Community”  a show Leslie and I sometimes watch, which made it all the more cool.

Walking around in the Paramount Studios was a bit like being in a giant Planet Hollywood. Everything has been in some movie, it’s just not there to sell an entree for $25.

But on another level, and here’s where blogging is cathartic, I’m here to speak at a conference about the Upside Down Kingdom of God. A world where the poor are rich, the weak are powerful, and those on the margins are celebrities. And as soon I flipped out about meeting Fletch (and a little about Dr. Phil) it began to sink in what I was doing. Oh irony thy sting is great.

But on another level, I’m glad that the Spirit brought this to my mind.

It’s easy to make really revolutionary concepts like Jesus reversing cultural values skip over the ones we hold dear without knowing it. But if the Kingdom of God doesn’t make us uncomfortable at times, if Jesus doesn’t challenge our way of life, than maybe we need to wonder what kind of gospel we bought into in the first place.

So if you in the greater Los Angeles area this weekend, come on out to the Glendale church of Christ. Where I’ll be spending the rest of the weekend talking about a mustard-seed Kingdom that is sprouting up in the middle of our various Empires.

(But I’m still kind of glad I met Fletch).

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  • Bryan Schackmann

    Hey man, I’ve really had a blast getting to hang out. You really are one of my favorite people. Reading your post makes me feel guilty for flipping out so much yesterday when I saw Chevy Chase. Thanks for the guilt trip :)

  • Phil

    Man, I hear you, being around those with “status” always gives us a feeling of excitement. What if we had that same excitement while we serve at a Salvation Army? What if we had the same enthusiasm while we toured Skid Row? What if when we think about holding a banquet we thought about inviting those holding cardboard box signs instead of holding oscars or espy’s? Good post man!

    Phil

  • Joe

    Wow, N.T. Wright saying something I fully agree with: this is uncharted territory for me. I really like that take on it, both as a theologian and a scientist. Theologically I would add on to his scheme, that in Jesus the world was created right again, and then Christians have blown it. Again and again and again. I think this sort of view could go a long way to relieving the antagonism between Science and Christianity.

  • http://stormented.com Jonathan Storment

    Bryan, Thanks man. It’s been great hanging out with you. Hope to see you on the web more often. Like on your own blog, hint hint.

    Phil, that is a great way of putting it. I noticed while walking around Burbank in general, I’m on the lookout for people who Jesus was never really drawn to. I’d like to be a part of that banquet.

    Joe, that’s pretty good stuff huh? I love that thought that in Jesus the world was created again. Have you ever thought about preaching?

  • http://dustcoveredtalmid.blogspot.com/ Dan Gill

    Wow, this is like three blogs in one!

    I have no doubt that a post-exile Jew would have seen the parallels between Adam and Eve’s exile and the Babylonian exile. That is an excellent way to see Genesis 1-3. However it says nothing at all about the other views of Genesis 1-3, whether about the literal 6-day creation view, or any other view. Almost all literature, if it’s around long enough, is going to have parallels to other events in history. A different question is how the account was read by those who first saw it. And, depending on when it was actually written, how the story was understood by those who knew the story before it was written down. I like Wright, and he’s one bright fellow, but it seems as if he really sidesteps some issues here.

    There really is no antagonism between science and Christianity. There is antagonism between materialism and Christianity (or any other worldview that postulates something beyond or behind the material). Darwinism and the Enlightenment are actually reactions to such a worldview, not the other way around.

    As for Fletch, Chevy Chase was fun, but he cannot even compare with the Fletch in Gregory McDonald’s books.

    I think your Hollywood tour was exactly the right thing to do before the conference. What better way to point out the difference between the world as it is and the way it should be. And you know what? It’s the world as it now stands that is upside down.

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