At Times Like This, Only Radiohead Will Do

So I am not at the Tom Wright lecture at the moment. It is harder for me to imagine than for you, I can assure you. I was already having a bad day before a series of traffic accidents meant the journey from Leixlip to Heuston Station took two and a half hours. Since the lecture had already begun before my delightful car battled through the crowds of other atheological cars to reach the quays, I decided to give up and turn for home. Sickeningly, I got back to Maynooth via the back roads in just under 30 minutes.

So while Tom Wright was “waffling, irrelevant and obscure as usual” (quotes a jokingDr. Patrick Mitchel of the Irish Bible Institute in a text message!) I was putting books on my office shelves. That took a lot of energy so now I am listening to a morbid mix of Thom Yorke, Radiohead and Gillian Welch while writing this and playing Football Manager. The fact that I am drinking beer alone should round this picture of patheticness off nicely. Also, I spilt some beer on my tshirt. How did I end up wallowing in my own pestulance like this.

I am so miserable, I am even making words up now.

I got into a less than excellent conversation with a congregation member about Genesis 1 today. She is a lovely woman who I dearly love and it broke my heart to see her face when I told her that I believed the universe was 14 billion years old, Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago and humans cropped up sometime about 100,000 years ago, give or take 50,000 years. But I also believe the Bible! It was over lunch, which was doubly traumatic because it was all so pleasant before the unpleasantness. It is this part of church work that probably most makes me want to hide away in academia some day in the future when I might be qualified to do that. This part being the part where you accidentaly scare people by just talking about you know, stuff.

The literal reading of Scripture is probably the biggest chip on my chip-laden shoulders. Since I had meant to write five posts about Tom Wright this week (before workload and hypocrisy took over) I feel like sharing with you a killer point he repeatedly makes. In 1,000 years some history post-grad will happen upon newspaper clippings and news segments about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Distant from events and without any context, he or she may be more than able to mis-interpret these messages. When he reads that this was “literally an earth-shattering event” and that it “rocked the whole continent” he may conclude that the Wall fell because of an earthquake. The problem is two-fold; firstly all meaning is defined by context and secondly the use of the word “literal” has many different meanings, all of them metaphorical.

For example, I learnt the word literal in April 1989 when Ireland beat USSR 1-0 at Landsdowne Road. Early in the first half Steve Staunton scored a beautiful free kick and my brother said that Stan the Man “literally fired the ball into the top of the net”. He did not mean that Steve Staunton rolled a canon onto the field and loaded the Adidas Mundial into it before aiming it at the top right corner. In the same way, to say that my boss is literally as bad as Adolf Hitler or that I literally wanted the earth to swallow me up is not to mean that my boss has a moustache or that I wanted a bogburst to take place under my feet.

Tom Wright, people. He never waffles. He is never irrelevant. And nothing stays obscure once he starts writing.

Mr. Williamson has a big brainy site (this is the kind of site that makes Zoomtard seem infantile!) and he has a great post just laying out the very real potential for Dubya to make more stupid evil decisions in relation to Iran. What he doesn’t realise is that Iran’s position on the Jews has changed recently. Malcolm Gladwell, in a slight tangent, has a great post on how we might develop a hierarchy of racism.

Your Correspondent, Exploring himself…and Asia

2 Responses to “At Times Like This, Only Radiohead Will Do”

  1. Peebles says:

    I feel your pain!!

    If it’s any compensation, when Brian McLaren was in town I was so giddy I drove my 1989 Polo into a railing in church car park. and it still has two-tone paintwork. I should have seen it emerging from the wall.

    And, hey, thanks for the link!

  2. zoomtard says:

    Emerging. Brian McLaren. Ha!

    An invoice is in the post for the link, Mr. Williamson.