Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Homebrewed Christianity: Geek is the New Quintessential

Bo Sanders and Tripp Fuller of Homebrewed Christianity may be happy to know that I most frequently listen to their podcasts while crossing the portion of southern Missouri between Kansas City and Joplin. I strap on my old school Koss Porta Pros and join my tribe. The podcast is eminently suited to long road-trips. 50-60 minutes of ear-candy for theologians of all stripes.

Here's a link to their web site and a blog that features the podcasts: http://homebrewedchristianity.com/2014/12/21/the-birth-of-god-and-a-new-jc-part-2-keller-aar/

Let me back up. Some readers may be asking: Is there actually a podcast out there for theology geeks? Well, there are probably many. But my favorite is Homebrewed Christianity. There's a lot to like. They host fantastic theologians as guests. They show up at spectacular events. They take their stuff seriously.

I could hardly believe my good fortune today, then, to listen to the episode they recorded live at AAR/SBL right before Advent. It starts out with Jack Caputo reviewing Catherine Keller's new book. Yes, that's right. If you follow this blog, you know these are two theologians I read closely. I read Caputo's The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion) with a group earlier this year, and am in the process of reviewing Keller's new book for Word & World.

Then they tossed John Cobb into the mix. Like, where did he come from?! Cobb is kind of a like a demigod of theology. I wasn't quite sure how his voice would float with the other two, but this is how it went down.

Caputo went off riffing on Nicholas of Cusa and how he reads Cusa differently as a Catholic with Thomistic origins in comparison to Keller who reads Cusa, well, differently. This went on for a while, and then Keller was allowed to respond. Keller comes in with guns blazing. She's like a theological rapper. She plays with language the way kids play with blocks. So she offers a riposte to Caputo that boxes him in somewhat, but appropriately.

At this point Cobb enters the fray. And he nails it. He is the voice of sanity between two boxers about to take off their gloves. Cobb says at one point, "You might not like metaphysics, but there it is, you've always got one underneath there somewhere."

Cobb and Keller take a couple of more friendly jabs at each other, and then wrap up the discussion.

This is when things get even more interesting. After Bo Sanders says a few geek appropriate things fawning over Jack Caputo (JC), John Cobb (JC), "Just" Catherine (JC), and comparing them in some oblique ways to Jesus Christ (geeks always worship those they study), he then invites Tony Jones to speak up. Apparently Fortress Press has been preparing a new theological series in partnership with the Homebrewed folks, and they're calling it Theology for the People.

Because apparently most other theology is not for the people? Wait, what?



Okay, kind of a joke.

There are any number of things I love about all of this. I love that there exists a popular podcast that brings theologians I love into the ring to box. I love that my denomination's publishing house sponsors their events. I love that the podcast reawakened my interest in John Cobb. Some time long ago in seminary I had been warned away from Cobb for some reason. Clearly I need to return to him.

I love hearing Catherine Keller and John Caputo debate. I have been debating the content of their two most recent works in my own mind and heart, so it was clarifying to hear them prod each other with their own pet insights.

I loved learning that theologians, even professional ones, are prone to hyperbole in the heat of the moment.

I love that there was a crowd there, and people cheered, sometimes jeered, about theology.

I love that I have a tribe.

I love that this tribe loves books, and thinks they matter.

I love that they might be more convinced of this than is good or prudent.

Sometimes you just have to geek out.

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