Showing posts from January, 2024

Fear of Forgiveness

This last Sunday the story of Jonah appeared in the lectionary readings. Specifically, it was John 3:1-10, which is the part of the story where the Ninevites express their belief in God. More importantly, they expressed that belief in a performed way. In my PhD I drew upon theo-dramatic theology (Hans Urs von Balthasar and others) and performance theory (Richard Schechner and others). In this part of the story, the Ninevites are warned about their behaviour and respond by seeking forgiveness. Actually, they want God to change God's mind.  In classical theism God doesn't change. It's one of the defining characteristics of the divine nature. Here, though, the King of the Ninevites expresses something that seems to contradict that kind of theology; "Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish" (3:9).  To seek this change they perform what we would call, in performance theory, an "offer." In impr

An end and a beginning...

At about 4:30pm on New Year's Eve (2023), I submitted my PhD thesis. It was a quiet moment, with my wife by my side. It was a simple moment, with only an email disappearing off my screen to confirm the disappearance of year's of work into the hands of the examiners - no printed and bound copies, no physical copies of any kind. Just a PDF attached to an email. Gone.  It was the end of years of work, struggle, and wrestling. Throughout my candidature, I encountered many doubts and fears. Was my idea good enough? Was I being heretical? Was my idea new enough? Could I do this? Then there was the inevitable imposter's syndrome and writer's block. Wow, did I struggle with these two. There were too many times to count when I sat at my computer with barely more than a paragraph added to a document because I couldn't get the ideas out of my head and onto the page. This, of course, fed the idea that someone was going to figure out that I really didn't know what I was doin