About Me

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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

New Getty Christmas CD

It's really good. I've got it. Recommended.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Reading the Bible Again . . . for the First Time

Here is Matthew 25:14–30 put into a more modern setting by Brian Logan of The Church of the Servant King in Eugene. He adds that this is in a pretty rough state and he's happy to receive any suggestions for improvement. But I think it is very interesting. It certainly made me think.

A Transposition:
25:14 "For it is as if a mafia boss, going back to the old country,
summoned his henchmen and entrusted his crime syndicate to them;

25:15 to Joey, he gave the meth, heroin, and prostitution businesses,
to Anton the extortion & protection racket, to Pauli his loan shark
business, to each according to his ability. Then he went off to Italy.

25:16 Joey, the one who had received the meth, heroin, and
prostitution businesses sent off at once his dealers and pimps, and
made 1.5 million dollars.

25:17 In the same way, Anton, the one who had the extortion &
protection rackets made a half mil.

25:18 But Pauli, the one who had received the loan shark business was
afraid to break any legs and so, loaned out no money and holed up with
his brother, Louie.

25:19 After a nice, long vacation in Sicily, the mob boss came to
settle up with his henchmen.

25:20 Then Joey, the one who had received the meth, heroin, and
prostitution businesses came forward, bringing two suitcases full of
dough, saying, 'Tony, you handed over to me the meth, heroin, and
prostitution businesses; see, I have made you 1500 grand and some
change.'

25:21 The mob boss said to him, 'you've done well, good and
trustworthy paisan; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will
make you my right hand man; Come with me to Atlantic City for some
wine, women and song.'

25:22 And Anton, the one with the extortion and protection rackets
also came forward, saying, 'Boss, you handed over to me these two
businesses; see, I have made you 500 grand.'

25:23 The mob boss said to him, 'You've done good, as well. You have
been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of the
lower Eastside; And you, come with me to Atlantic City, as well

25:24 Then Pauli, the one who was given the loan shark business also
came forward, saying, 'Boss, I knew that you were a harsh man,
breaking legs and busting chops;

25:25 so I was afraid, and I went to my brother, Louie's, with the
cash and didn't spend a dime. Here's your 250 grand in full.'

25:26 But mob boss replied, 'You stupid idiot! You knew, did you, that
I bust chops and break legs?

25:27 Then you ought to have invested my money in an annuity with a
guaranteed return for these five years while I've been in Sicily, and
on my return I wouldn't only be holding these 250 g's, but 100 grand
in interest.

25:28 So take this loan shark business from him, and give it to Joey,
the one with the meth, heroin, and prostitution businesses.

25:29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will
have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they
have will be taken away.

25:30 As for this worthless idiot, he's not one of us; break his legs,
bust his chops and throw him into the river to drown.

Of course, you need to get the accent right. I can hear it in my head but I cannot get it to come out of my mouth.

Anyway, Brian's point is that first century readers would have seen the characters in Jesus' parable as unsavory types who exploit the vulnerable peasants rather than as positive characters. He is aiming to recapture that sense for us.

I have not looked into this parable myself so I am not committing myself to this take on it but it is certainly thought-provoking.

I wonder what you think.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Universalism in the USA

I have just been in the USA (West Coast) for a couple of weeks. I was in the Wipf and Stock offices in Eugene and then at ETS and AAR/SBL in San Francisco. It was exhausting but brilliant.

A few people have asked about some universalism stuff wot I was doing in the USA so here are my quick thoughts:

What struck me on this visit was how open (or, at least, non-hostile) many theologians appear to be towards evangelical universalism. I was not expecting as much of that as I found. Indeed, my impression from various conversations was that there is a lot of sympathy with the view even if many do not feel that they can go there yet. Even some pretty conservative theologians expressed real interest and cautious openness. And those that were against it were not calling me a heretic but simply mistaken.

I did a couple of filmed interviews on universalism (one for a documentary called Hellbound, due out in Dec 2012, and one for an online mini-doc for Christian student types). I was also on a panel discussion on universalism at ETS for over three hours. The topic under discussion was evangelicals and universalism. Here is what struck me — not a single person was aggressive or hostile. The disucssion, though not well attended, was all very gracious and a genuine and open discussion. It was ETS that instigated the discussion and invited me to participate. I thought that was brave and generous of them. My fellow panelists were superb.

One of the great delights was to have Edward Fudge there. He is such a lovely man and though he defends a view quite different from my own (his book, The Fire that Consumes, is the best defence of annihilationism) we get on like brothers in arms. He is a longtime hero of mine.

And, inevitably in the countless conversations I had the topic was brought up regularly (not usually by me) — clearly many people are thinking about it.

Of course, there are many who would resist any kinds of universalism and I don't mind that. But my impression was that there are many more open to the possibility of Christian universalism than was the case even ten years back. And that is not because Christians have gone all liberal but because the case has clear Christian theological merits. The reason that it is hard to kill universalism for good is that it arises from theological reflection on the gospel itself and so even when it is killed off temporarily it so easily rises again.

Anyway, I was not in the USA to do universalist stuff so these are reflections on stuff that happened on the side while I was there. The vast bulk of the time I was discussing book proposals with potential authors and hanging out with my wonderful colleagues at Wipf and Stock.

Sunday, 13 November 2011