Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A New Direction in Conversations with Bob

Conversations with Bob is going to move into a new direction.

Bob Campbell and I have been talking about a number of theological concerns. You can check to the right of this blog to read our conversation. The earliest posts are at the top.

Now, we are going to converse about more personal concerns--our stories of life and faith.When I was in seminary (Princeton, from 1989-92), I found it both fascinating and frustrating. Fascinating in that I was introduced to so many new ideas and people, yet frustrating in that I knew most of my classmates on a superficial level. I knew who they were "theologically" but not personally.

We would have class in the large lecture hall twice a week and then meet for what were called precepts on Fridays. At the precepts we would be in small groups with one of the professors or a Ph. D. candidate. In these gatherings we would discuss the topics introduced in the lectures and present short papers. We were all quite passionate about our theological views. Yet, I wanted to know the stories behind the views. How did they come to be a fan of Karl Barth as opposed to Paul Tillich or Rosemary Radford Reuther? I was missing the stories of faith and life.

Bob and I are going to engage in these personal stories. What have been our stories of life and of faith? It is a vulnerable exercise, especially on the internet. For some it may seem silly, emotional, or maudlin. I think however, our personal stories reveal why we think we are who we are. I wish to speak about my family of origin, my childhood, adolescence, young adult life, seminary, career, and family (yet remaining respectful of my family's privacy). For me life and faith are intermingled. I cannot separate them except artificially. Bob may have different categories. But we are each going to begin with our stories, 500-750 words per post.

We are only going to comment on each other's story (and you are welcome to comment as well) in the comment section. We clergy types tend to speak a lot about theology but not so much about faith. It will be a stretch, perhaps, but we think it is worth it. Bob's introduction next time.

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