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Monday, 25 June 2007

Out of the closet: a meme

Peter Leithart lists a series of theological “confessions” – so I thought I’d do the same. If you’re easily shocked, you might want to skip this.... Then again, perhaps we should make a meme of it – the “out of the closet meme.” To participate in this meme, just post a list of intellectual confessions. Here are some of mine:

I confess: one of the great turning-points in my life was reading Pannenberg’s christology (Jesus – God and Man).

I confess: no theologian makes me feel more comfortable, more at home, than Rudolf Bultmann.

I confess:
I tend to read Karl Barth through the metaphysical lens of Robert Jenson’s theology.

I confess: until I read John Webster’s Confessing God, I was convinced that theology should rid itself completely of the doctrine of God’s “attributes.”

I confess: I get inordinate pleasure from reading Plato and Hegel and Marx.

I confess: I sometimes wonder whether Schillebeeckx – rather than Rahner or Balthasar – might have been the greatest 20th-century Catholic theologian.

I confess: though I’ve tried and tried again, I’ve never managed to find Colin Gunton’s theology exciting.

I confess: I think David Bentley Hart’s The Beauty of the Infinite is one of the best things I’ve ever read.

I confess: I sometimes wish that I had pursued historical Jesus studies instead of theology.

I confess: I think Bruce McCormack’s interpretation of election and triunity is one of the most important theological proposals of recent years.

I confess: I always believed that the sermon was more important than the sacrament, until I had young children – at that point, it became impossible to concentrate properly on the sermon, and so my eucharistic theology became much “higher.”

I confess: although it’s fashionable to say bad things about Augustine, I think he was the best theologian ever to walk the face of the earth.


Apolonio said...


Out of the blue comment...A scholar told me to watch out for a Barth/Heidegger connection (positive or negative, I forgot). It has to do something with Bultmann and Heidegger writing together or something. I forgot. I know this is vague (maybe even a weird post) but do you have any insights?

Anonymous said...

I confess: I didn't understand a word of David Bentley Hart's 'The Beauty of the Infinite'!

D.W. Congdon said...

This is a great meme idea. I hope to post my own sometime soon.

Anonymous said...

Your last confession makes me very happy.

Matthew said...

"although it’s fashionable to say bad things about Augustine..."

Wow, I'm fashionable? Awesome.

Halden said...

Mine is here.

Good idea, Ben.

DiscuZion said...

I concur. Your last post makes me very happy indeed.

One of Freedom said...

I never made that connection between sacraments vs. sermon, but you might be on to something. Since kids came along I am all over the sacraments and less about the sermonizing. The funny thing is I'm the preacher. :-)

Deep Furrows said...

Mine is here
I confess: I used bullets instead of repeating "I confess." ~Fred

d. w. horstkoetter said...

Here is mine.


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Hmm. I'll have to think about this--confession requires introspection.

::aaron g:: said...

My Confessions are here.

D.W. Congdon said...

Here are my confessions.

jbh said...

I confess: I get all of my Heidegger second hand.

Ben Myers said...

Hi Apolonio: I confess, I don't know the answer to your question! Certainly Barth and Heidegger had one thing in common: Bultmann. Bultmann was a close friend of both, and he was deeply influenced by both of them. He was always trying to bring Barth and Heidegger together for a discussion, but Barth simply wasn't interested. (Like JBH, Barth got his Heidegger second-hand: he didn't really feel interested enough to read Heidegger for himself, much less to meet with him.)

michael jensen said...

Time for the Augustine revival, I say...

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

My confessions are here:


Anonymous said...

Much of this is boasting, not confessing - 'I confess that I spend 3 hours a day helping starving children ' ?

jbh said...


That makes me feel better.

Deep Furrows said...

As for the boasting vs. confessing ambiguity that Anon noticed, there was a commentator at Homilia of a Budding NT scholar who posted this polyvalent definition.

(1) a formal statement admitting to a crime, a reluctant acknowledgment
(2) a formal admission of one's sin privately to a priest
(3) (also confession of faith) a statement setting out essential religious doctrine.
* the religious body or Church sharing a confession of faith.
Concise Oxford English Dictionary 11e

I think there's a smattering of all of these in these memes. If I boast, let me boast of Christ...

Christopher said...

I confess, I am jealous of others' erudition, but nevertheless, here are mine

Ben Myers said...

Thanks, Anon., for raising the point about boasting. I think the real task here is to enhance one's boasting by adding just a pinch of guilt -- so you wouldn't say "I confess that I spend three hours a day helping starving children", but rather: "while I'm spending my three hours a day helping starving children, I sometimes catch myself daydreaming about the football."


Alex said...

Great idea for a meme Ben! I actually got some things off my chest I've been thinking about for a while. But it was really good to finally articulate them.

Mike L. said...

This is a really good meme. Thanks for getting it going. Here is my list:

Progression Of Faith

Third Mill Catholic said...

Just posted my own theological confessions on my blog. Great idea, Ben!

Richard said...

Just posted my comment here:


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