Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Yeah, I guess I sorta like N.T. Wright...

Right now... over in Manchester, at the College where I lived and studied, one of my favourites New Testament scholars, The Rt. Rev. "Tom" Wright, is giving the annual Didbury Lectures. For those of you who don't know who this guy is that I've got a link to, he is more than just an ivory tower academic. He is a truly pastoral Bishop (for the Church of England's Diocese of Durham), and a serious public intellectual on a whole host of issues. He also likes the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, which just fits in with his overall excellence. I was going to say "awesomeness," but that would be taking it too far.

Nevertheless, Wright's whole theological approach is one that I value a great deal as it offers this sort of breathtaking vista of God's whole, unfolding economy with Creation. It is this precisely this cosmic perspective that seems so true to me. While I don't agree with every word Wright says, I agree profoundly that God is not just involved in an individualistic or disconnected way with you and/or me, but is rather intimately involved not only with all of us, but with the whole of His creation as well. In that way, it reminds me some other things I've heard about a Christian approach to ecology from Patriarch Bartholomew and what I look forward to reading in Dr. Wee Chong Tan's book. And all of that directly relates to both the Creation and Incarnation, and, in some mysterious way that I have not yet nor perhaps will ever understand - the Resurrection. For St. John Chrysostom says in his Paschal sermon that the whole universe has been founded upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ! I may have to attempt Torrance's Space, Time, and Incarnation and Space, Time, and Resurrection to begin that journey. Others, with more of a physics background, would no doubt be better prepared!

For those of you who know my appreciation for Bishop Wright's scholarship - my painstakingly transcribing 100s of hours of his taped lectures and my treasuring of the letter he once wrote to me (c'mon don't we all do that!?) - you get the idea. Clark Pinnock delivered the Most Moved Mover as his Didsbury lectures when I was over there, and they were excellent, but I'd love to have experienced Wright doing the Didsbury Lectures and just being around the College. (Okay, feel free to accuse me of extreme theological nerdiness or idolatry now).

I am just imagining all the excitement that must be going on right now around the College, and it brings back a lot of good memories. One good thing is that these lectures are always published, so I'll look forward to getting the book. Wright's topic is "Life After Life After Death," which sounds intriguing, but I want to hear more. His last major book, The Resurrection of the Son of God was an epic treatment of the whole Biblical understanding of life, death, heaven, hell, and - of course - resurrection. So I sit here on my lunch hour in the Old St. Stephen's building in Edmonton (it's now Government Offices), where I work (and where G.B. Caird, Wright's mentor began his career), and pray for more servants of God like N.T. Wright to come along. Any Manchester folks... let me know how it's going... I'd love to get the full story.


Blogger kimberley said...

Matt, i'm not sure if i told you...when i was over at All Saints a couple of weeks ago, we watched one of his Regent Lectures, after Vespers. After my initial near post-traumatic seizure, (stemming from those weeks on end of you subjecting jill and i to to 7 second intervals of his voice, while you delightedly clacked away with your transcription fiesta!), i settled in to quite enjoy him.

I remarked that rather than setting a small tot in front of the TV playing "Baby Einstein", NT would be a good alternative, due to his unbelieveable sentence structure abilities.

Anyway... i hope Deidre or your other friends over there are able to fill you in.


3:33 PM  
Blogger kimberley said...

hey matthew, victoria has you and krista labelled on her site as 'mr and mrs. francis'.

the francises.
it's nice.

3:54 PM  
Blogger pasivirta said...

hey matthew, I can't find Kim's site anymore...and your post has me confused(her comments spot)

6:50 PM  
Blogger Gabe said...

yes it confused me also

8:37 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Okay everyone... Kim's new site

We just copied in the stuff from the one that she was blocked out of.

I switched the link in my links to the new one.

Hope that helps. She'll start posting soon probably, and then you'll see which is which.

Peace, Brothers!

10:19 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Deirdre has a great update on NT Wright's talks posted over here at Hope For Solitude.

7:40 AM  
Blogger biss said...

Hmmm...I must have read Wright when I wasn't smart enough yet (it was "The New Millenium" and after we were already in it). I'll have to give him another try.
Hey, do you guys have any clout? Phil and I really want to go to the retreat, but our honeymoon got in the way of registering on time. Can you help get us in?
...we have a wedding invition for you...(read that in a sheepish yet hopeful tone)

10:54 AM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Hi Biss!

Thanks for dropping by! No need for sheepishness. : ) I'm not too sure if there's room left for the retreat, but there might be...

The best thing would be to email Anna S. who is coordinating it all[] and see if there's a possibillity of getting in. Having a honeymoon sounds like a pretty legit excuse to not register in time for a retreat on marriage, eh? That'd be great if you and Phil could make it!

The one thing at this point that might be an issue is accomodation as I've heard that St. John's is pretty full. That said, I am sure that there would be some folks from St. Herman's here that would be happy to host a nice Orthodox couple like you guys. (Krista and I would do it normally, but our place is already booked). We've got some awesomely hospitable families.

Feel free to call us, Kim has our phone number. If for some reason you can't come, we're checking into video-taping Fr.John's talks.

Peace, and we'll be in touch!

12:09 PM  
Blogger biss said...

Thanks! I believe we will be there!

1:14 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Here's some vintage Wright:

"I propose that, when faced with the historical problem of the resurrection of Jesus and the rise of Christianity, the only way forward is to grasp the nettle, to recognize that history drives us to the borders of language, of philosophy, of theology, and of history itself, and to point out as best we can that the only explanation that will fit all the evidence available is that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed bodily raised from the dead on Easter morning...

"But if at this moment of history, when the Western world faces the crisis of postmodernity, we are to rule out all such questions and retreat either into the barren wastelands of modernity or to the sterile quicksands of postmodernity, we are indeed of all people the most to be pitied."

3:26 PM  

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