Monday, March 12, 2012

Why I'm into Carl Trueman and not you, O teacher of Christian Thought

It really has nothing to do with your theology. You think good stuff.

It really has nothing to do with your intelligence. I know that you are smart too.

I do prefer an English accent, but it's not that.

Here's what it comes down too. Carl Trueman is on youtube and you are not. I type Carl Tru... into the search box and youtube autocompletes the rest. I type your name, and somebody else comes up.

A few things.

1. Carl Trueman actually wants me, the average pewsitter, to get into ancient theologians. He talks about them in a way that engages me. He tells me their dates, where they lived, what the world was like and he reads me stuff that they wrote. I'm drawn in. I think 'Wow, Chrysostom lived in a world so different to mine and yet strangely the same. I need to read him.' So I do read him.

I have no doubt that you do this kind of thing for the students that you teach, but you don't teach anyone outside your lecture theatre. This is a shame. I'd like to learn from you, but I can't.

2. Carl Trueman relates his understanding of history to other stuff. Like politics. This is cool. You should do it. Don't come down on one side or the other, but tell us why the parties think what they think. Tell us why Christians have sided with one side or another over history, and tell us the stuff that we are too embedded in our own culture to see.

3. You guys have so much to offer the church. A few throw-away comments from a church historian friend have been a great source of perspective and encouragement to us in our ministry... but they are just that: a few throw away comments. We need more. We're hungry for it - probably hungrier than the students who sit in front of you facebooking while you lecture.

4. Carl Trueman has an easy manner in front of the camera because he's done it lots. He speaks like he believes in the medium and it's just normal, not all 'O look, we're sitting here in front of the video camera. Wowwee! A video camera!' The background matters - choose your location carefully. The colours you wear matters too. You'll need advice on this. Why not start with some scripted things, maybe something that comes up in your lectures, then move onto more spontaneous stuff. I reckon it's a mistake for you to interview each other. You (and us) are too conscious of your colleague.  Find a more neutral person to host the session.

You guys are doing great stuff, but why is it not on youtube? Really. Why?

I want to be into you, but you make it so hard.


  1. He was very good at New Word Alive last year, and his book 'Republocrat' is highly recommended.