Saturday 16 May 2009

A boating accident

Here’s a humorous anecdote from the Auckland Barth conference.

Earlier in the day, I’d been chatting with Paul Molnar about various things: fishing, photography, Maine, New York, pizza, The Godfather. Later I presented my paper, which was full of criticisms of Molnar’s book on the immanent Trinity. There is such an incongruity between my personal affection for Molnar and my feelings about his theology, that at one point I paused mid-sentence and said: “I’m sorry about all this, Paul. I hope you’ll still take me fishing in Maine one day.”

His reply: “Oh, I’ll still take you fishing. You just better hope it’s not like Fredo’s fishing trip!”


Anonymous said...

Ben, it was a pleasure to meet you this weekend. That interaction was truly one of the highlights! All my best.

roger flyer said...

I hope Paul would have the Maine'r grace to get you into some walleyes before he pulled the trigger.

Boy that was a quick and funny one-liner. With a sharp wit like that, he may know more about the immanent Trinity than you think.

Anonymous said...

Actually it's a great encouragement to know that two Christian men can disagree on a nonessential element of theology and remain amiable. There are too many schisms in the church as it is.

John Rasmussen said...

I can't help but chuckle when I imagine the picture captioned: "Two theologians in deep disagreemnet over Rahner's rule of the Trinity"

Ben Myers said...

Roger: "With a sharp wit like that, he may know more about the immanent Trinity than you think." — Yeah I know, that's exactly what I was worried about...

Paul Molnar said...


As always, it really was a great pleasure to see you again and to have a chance to chat even about those many things on which disagree, but also about some things we agree on. I do believe we both consider this an essential issue. And explains why we do spend time trying to convince eachother about why we think the other is mistaken. But it is always done in an amicable way which, I think, leaves room for the other. In my view, as you know, any set of presuppositions which leads to the conclusion (however nuanced--if one can even nuance such a statement) that Jesus makes God to be God has completely collapsed the immanent into the economic Trinity. Talk of an immanent Trinity then simply becomes talk about ourselves using theological jargon. But that has to then mean we are really, at least conceptually, alone with ourselves.

By the way, you forgot to mention that one of my students actually won the argument with you about the immanent Trinity over lunch!!!

Thanks Ben for your wonderful sense of humor.

Fat said...

"Two theologians in deep disagreemnet over Rahner's rule of the Trinity"John - that is brilliant - I nearly lost my coffee.

Sean said...

This was one of the best conferences I've attended on Theology for a while now. Great discussion, great critique, and a great bunch of people.

roger flyer said...

I think the caption to the picture should be: "Damn it, Myers! You come hear to talk or to fish?"

Optional caption:

roger flyer said...

" i mean here.

Antony said...

Great to finally meet you last week Ben. Thanks for your paper, and by the way...I think you were very gracious as was Paul. Its fine for us to disagree, and then sit down over a wonderful dinner and enjoy being friends with many areas of commonality, both theologically and other (fishing, food etc.)
I will be attending Paul's second week of presentation at Laidlaw next week, and I am sure we will not agree on all points :-)I am looking forward to the dialog.
I must admit that it was interesting to see Bruce and Paul engaged in discussion at such close quarters...I think they were very both very restrained and gracious!

Antony G

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