Young blogging theologian Chris Tilling describes his “conversion experience” from hardcore fundamentalist after listening to Walter Brueggemann:
As many of my readers know, I used to be a screaming conservative street preaching ‘it’s not religion it’s a relationship’ ethical black and white liberal = evil Catholic bashing Christian pop music listening shine-Jesus-shine singing puritan paperbacks reading borderline-Fundie. While there is much about that background for which I am grateful, I’ll never forget the day I was sitting in a bus (prayerfully) listening to a Brueggemann lecture on the OT portrayal of God.
What a shock it was for my theological world. At that stage I didn’t know too much about Brueggemann expect that he wasn’t on my usual ‘safe’ list. But his dismantling of my assumption that exegesis and systematic theology exist in a straightforward relationship was a world shaking moment from which I never recovered. The Old Testament, I learned, was not a book of settled theology; it was doing theology and generating a variety of testimonies concerning God. Perhaps von Rad had the same effect for an earlier generation, but having listened to Brueggemann I left the bus literally feeling sick; sick, but forever delivered from naive assumptions that had crippled my engagement with the bible and theology. I struggled with what he said, but later I came to very much appreciate the door he opened into a new theological world. So thanks, Walter.
Read it all here. The Episcopal Church is filled with people with similar “conversion” stories. What’s yours?