Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why I Heart the Jesus Seminar

When I post on the Jesus Seminar, I tend to raise the ire of some commenters. I don't intend that, but I regard it as an added bonus. One blogger said that I was a Jesus Seminar Fanboy. True enough. I am an associate member and a member of their fan club. Folks may think it odd that scholars would have a fan club. I think it is swell. Some people are fans of NASCAR and enjoy watching grown men (and women) turn left around a racetrack. Others are fans of Westar and enjoy watching grown men (and women) vote left around a table.

Why do I heart them? Let me count the ways:

  1. They are a swell group of folks. All around, nice people.
  2. They publish books that I can read.
  3. They are interested in topics that interest me: the historical Jesus, Christian origins, and so forth.
  4. They go around the country two by two as the Lord has instructed them to preach the gospel of higher criticism. I am pleased to have so far hosted three such events, known as Jesus Seminars on the Road.
  5. They hold their Spring and Fall gatherings at the Flamingo.


  1. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, is that all you ministers think and or blog about?

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  3. No, Monkey. I can attest to the fact that John thinks about other things besides the Flamingo.

  4. So the queston is: Are you a fan of the Jesus Seminar because they agree with what you believe, because you have added to your progressive views because of their thoughts or some of both?

    Just wondering.

  5. I don't know about John, I am typically a fan of those who agree with me. Except Louis Farrakhan, of course. I'm just sayin', in case I want to run for office some day.

    I also tend to like folks who say things that open my eyes a little more. Anyone else like that kind of stuff, or is it just me, here?

  6. Hey Viola,

    That is a good question. If I had to give one reason why I appreciate the Jesus Seminar it would point 2 that I made in my post. They have made higher criticism accessible to the public. I learned higher criticism in a PCUSA seminary. It isn't as though they invented it.

    They are an educational group as much as a scholarly group. I wish that all scholars would write in such a way that is accessible to non-professionals. Many are now doing so even though they are not with the seminar and even though they disagree with some of the particulars of the Jesus Seminar.

    I have been to several of their Fall and Spring gatherings. It is refreshing to see scholars sitting around a table debating issues in public. You can interact with them, ask questions, even get to vote.

    The point is to get people to think on their own.

    I am a fan because of the educational element. They have been a helpful resource for me as a minister to bring higher criticism to people in my congregations.

  7. By the way, Viola, you live in the neighborhood. You would get a kick out of their Fall gathering. Mr. Historical Jesus himself, Dominic Crossan, is one of the presenters next week.

  8. Count me among the Jesus Seminar fan club membership! And you keep right on blogging about them: I love you for it.