What makes this night different from all the rest?


The planets have aligned, my friends. This is like, like, ...

I can't think of anything to compare it to, actually. This may be unlike anything in the history of the world --

This is BIG.

This is HUGE.


This is ... it's ... it's ...


Really. I mean it.

(And I have Jeff to thank for bringing it to my attention yesterday, so that I have enjoyed 26 delicious hours of anticipation. I've actually been meaning to mention here for some time what an incredibly fantastic blog Jeff has. He posts really insightful links and posts from a wide variety of sources and disciplines to help us think about what contributes to human flourishing in the world at large and in the academic life in particular. The blog is in anticipation of the IVCF
triennial conference for graduate students, faculty, and professionals in December, but I'm rather hoping he keeps it up after that. You should read his blog. And register for the conference. And give him money.)

But back to my obsession over tonight's programing:

Why is the very idea of N.T. Wright on the Colbert Report reducing me to incoherent babbling? This is one of those things where two different parts of your life that you didn't think had anything at all to do with each other suddenly collide.

Tom Wright is a properly British theologian and churchman who writes long books and makes wise and carefully-considered statements on serious issues. Stephen Colbert (in character) is a rabidly patriotic American comedian and satirist who appears on cable TV and the internet and makes ridiculous pronouncements about ridiculous issues.

I adore them both. If you were to ask me to come up with a guest list for one of those hypothetical dinner parties where you can invite any three or eight or x number of living celebrities to dine with you, I'm having a hard time thinking of anyone who would top these two guys on my list.

I expect that the population of people who are quite as excited as I am about this television event is quite small. But I bet it's greater than one. Colbert has a lot of fans. So does Wright. I'm thinking I'm not the only member of my generation who thinks that the Colbert Report is about the best American media venue going and that Wright is one of the top people we would want to hear in the American media.

Trolling the internet last night for confirmation of this purported scheduled interview, I ran across a couple of Wright fans who expressed concern that the bishop doesn't know what he's getting himself into with this show.


Yes, yes, granted: the Bishop of Durham has more important things to do with his time than keep track of American pop culture phenomena. But I am supremely confident that this will not be a problem, for the following reasons:

  • Somebody other than Tom Wright is managing his book tour. It's that person's job to know a little something about American pop culture.
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury is a big fan of The Simpsons. I'm not saying that Wright actually follows the Colbert Report, but stranger things have happened.
  • It is not humanly possible to make Tom Wright look stupid.
  • Stephen Colbert is a nice guy, even when he's playing an attack-dog pundit on TV.
  • Besides, I'm pretty sure that the Bishop of Durham has a time-turner. It's the only logical explanation for his prolific book production schedule. And if he does, he's got plenty of time to catch up on Comedy Central, too.
Basically, I'm expecting something like this scenario: Stephen will lay into Tom for attacking the idea of heaven. Tom will remind Stephen of the eschatological statements in the creeds: "I believe in the resurrection of the dead," and give a coherent thumb-nail summary of the not-really-all-that-subtle distinction between resurrection of the body and immortality of the soul. Stephen will make himself look silly by asking some over-the-top yet metaphysically relevant questions about the nuts and bolts of bodily resurrection.

Bonus points if Stephen actually recites the creed, if any medieval theologians or specific biblical passages enter the conversation, or if cannibalism comes up.

Boy, this is going to be fun...


Steven Carr said...

I wonder if Wright told Colbert that Paul wanted to be rescued from his body, or that Paul insisted that Jesus became a spirit.

I wonder if Wright told Colbert that very early converts to Christianity scoffed at the whole idea of God choosing to raise a corpse.

There is a discussion forum about wright at Wright where his arguments for the resurrection get well trashed.

Jake said...

...and I thought I was excited!

I have a transcript of the interview on my website if you're interested. ;)


Rachel said...

I have no idea who Steven Carr is, but a quick look at his blog seems to indicate that he enjoys arguing against Christianity. He is, of course, free to do this. But I'm not particularly interested -- all the less having seen some of the dismissive mischaracterizations and uncharitable impugning of motives of those with whom Carr disagrees.

I believe that his statements refer to Romans 7:24, 1 Cor. 15:45, and 1 Cor 15:12, respectively.

Athena said...

I think the real treat was that N.T. Wright and Cookie Monster were both guests on the same night. Very incarnational.

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