I've been suffering from whiplash on this blog these last six months because I have occasional visitors from so many different directions. My guess is that I have about three types of visitors who really like about a third of what goes on here. I would also guess that they just as vehemently hate the other two thirds!
So here is the "key" to reading posts here and following my comments. I could actually code my posts so you know what posts to skip and which to read. Who am I?
1. An orthodox Christian
I affirm the classic creeds of Christendom. That has implications because of #3 below. I went through a major faith crisis at the end of my seminary days because of #3. In the end, it was postmodern developments that enabled me to put my orthodox Humpty Dumpty head back together again.
That means that my orthodox cooking will look strange to just about everyone. It will look way too Catholic for most Protestants because I have concluded that to have integrity, orthodox faith requires a trajectory oriented sense of revelation rather than a backward looking one. Protestantism is backward looking in its very foundations--it says revelation is something we find by peeling back time rather than looking where God is headed.
But it is not Catholic either because I accept the reforming function of backward looking.
2. A Wesleyan evangelical
I teach at a Wesleyan evangelical confessional college and am ordained a minister in The Wesleyan Church. There is no such thing as unperspectivized truth, and it is completely appropriate for me to relate truth to the community to which I belong. Obviously I would not belong to this community if I did not fundamentally agree with its identity. At the same time, any thinking person will always have "lover's quarrels" with their communities.
So some posts will seem very peculiar or even downright annoying to those of you from other traditions. I don't mean to be persnickitty, but some posts are "in house."
3. New Testament scholar
One of the residuals of my faith crisis is that I get really irritated when people "cook the books" or skew the evidence, especially historical evidence, to jive with their theological conclusions. Because I have adopted a trajectory approach to revelation, I am able to let the evidence lie where it lies without worrying about whether it connects precisely to Christian faith.
People like Tom Wright and Ben Witherington have applied their great intellect to making the connections as close as possible. I think as a result they sometimes open themselves up to the charge of special pleading. No one is objective, but may I rarely be accused of this.
So this is my "apology" for a blog that must seem very strange from time to time. In short, I refuse to fit into any neat stereotype. No existing label fits.