You Know N.T. Wright, Right?
Last week Jason and I recorded the pilot episode of Crackers & Grape Juice, our new podcast venture that seeks to talk about theology without cumbersome theological language. I'm not sure if we succeeded or not but it was a lot of fun. On Friday, just a few days from now Jason, Morgan, and I will be speaking with N.T. Wright. A retired Anglican bishop, N.T. Wright is arguably the most influential theologian today. He is a fellow in the Royal Society of Edinburgh, was honored with honorary doctorates from Durham University and the University of Andrew, and has written countless books. He is a man who really needs no introduction.
In May 2013 I did my first "real sermon". I say real because it wasn't terrible and there was actually some substance to it. I relied heavily on Wright's work on covenant and justification.
A few months later I was leading a group of high school students in a conversation about death. While Jason was supposed to be there (he was late which is no surprise to anyone who has ever seen him speeding past the church as the sunrise Easter service began) I ended up leading a conversation that went into the weeds quickly and never really recovered. The following week I leaned on N.T. Wright to steer the conversation where it needed to go, explaining how many Christians believe that the soul remains in a state of rest after death.
The first (and only) time I preached on Easter N.T. Wright saved me from sounding like a bumbling buffoon:
NT Wright, the Arch Bishop of Durham said, “Easter has burst into our world, the world of space, time and matter, the world of real history and real people and real life”. Easter is the catapult that thrusted hope and grace into our lives, into the lives of those who did not want it, and into the lives of those who wish to ignore it. If that is the case, if today is the catapult, what are we to make of it? How are we to respond?
We can respond faithfully, just like Mary and Mary from our scripture reading, dropping to our knees and worshiping at the feet of Christ. Or we can respond like Thomas, doubting that death can be raised from the dead to the point that we feel we need to place our fingers in the holes in Christ’s hands.
Has N.T. Wright saved you in the pulpit or Sunday School room? For me, his work was instrumental to my success in Kendall Soulen's systematic theology class. The students I work with at church even know who he is and have asked that we use more of his videos from The Work of the People.
I have a nervous excitement as Friday approaches. Nervous that I am no where prepared to have a theological conversation with such a brilliant man and excited because it's N.T. Wright.
What would you ask him? Which of his books has been most influential in your faith journey? What has he written or said that confused the crap out of you?