Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bishop Wright visits Stephen Colbert

My friend and colleague Bishop Wright has boldly gone where angels fear to tred--- onto the Comedy Central Show-- The Stephen Colbert Report--- You'll enjoy this one, and notice the reaction of the crowd.

or try this---

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30p / 10:30cStephen tells Bishop N.T. Wright his idea of heaven is getting a harp, drinking a mint julep and asking Ronald Reagan questions.


Bishop N.T. Wright, author of "Surprised by Hope," challenges Stephen to think differently about life after death.


Bishop N.T. Wright challenges Stephen to think differently about life after death.

Bishop N.T. Wright, author of "Surprised by Hope," challenges Stephen to think differently about life after death.


Leslie said...

N.T. Wright's work on resurrection and the afterlife and all has been a very meaningful and important study for me over the last year, and I have greatly benefited from his work on it.

I actually taught on this subject at a congregation one time, and for some reason they seemed strangely opposed to it. It was not anticipated at all - perhaps it was my own failure to explain the thought properly (that's a good possibility). It almost seemed to me as though they didn't want to have heaven in any way described to them - as though suggesting what it was like was almost heretical. As soon as we talked about there being a "new earth" several got bothered. As I said, I found it very odd, but again, it may have been my own failures. I have personally taken great comfort as I've reread the scriptures and understood more about what God has prepared for us.

Peter Gurry said...

What is that wooden book-cradle device on Wright's desk in that picture? That looks amazing.

Sarah Lewie said...

Dr. Witherington,
I've read your blog for some time now and am often amazed by the things you post. But today was the jackpot. Today was the trifecta of things I love: NT Wright, this blog and Stephen T. Colbert. Thank you. =)

Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Ben Witherington said...

That's just an old fashioned, even Medieval Bible holder.


III said...

I echo Sarah: trifecta.

And "win" for Dr. Wright: instead of just checking out his book from the library, I'm thinking about actually buying it.

Dr. Witherington, you're next! ;)

Anonymous said...

I dig the pin stripes and the liturgical bling.

Derrick said...

I don't necessarily think that it was you. From what I've noticed, it appears that a lot of the discomfort that people have with the idea stems from a couple of different sources.
First is the fact that ever since the Enlightenment the focus as been on Immortality of the Soul. A lot of more liberal minded theology replaced the notion of the Resurrection with either that or dropped the talk of an afterlife at all. Our culture has kind of picked up on this, and in the process developed a kind of dualistic picture of the afterlife.
Secondly, in the Evangelical realm, most people in the pews don't trust what they take to be a radical theological innovation, and they haven't really been taught about the Resurrection of the Dead. (To harp on a emergent church theme, what they've heard over and over again from the pulpit is usually the salvation of SOULS; it doesn't help that certain passages, i.e. I Cor 15 in the major English translations have helped give people this impression). Because of this, they tend to take this rather traditional, orthodox opinion as something to be viewed suspiciously.

Hayne Begley said...

That was quite amazing, I am a huge fan of Bishop Wright, especially after reading "resurrection and the Son of God," it almost made my head explode.

Dr. Withering this blog, single handedly, has made me consider Asbury.

Raffi Shahinian said...

Loved the interview. "A dogma a hole." Now that's just plain funny!

Speaking of the good bishop, I've posted something regarding a particular theological/eschatological issue pertaining to Wright HERE. Thought you or your readers might find it interesting.

Grace and Peace,
Raffi Shahinian
Parables of a Prodigal World

Ben Witherington said...

Well Hayne, COME ON DOWN. We'd be happy to have you.


Marc Axelrod said...

The Bishop held his own. Nice job!

LanternBright said...

I saw a YouTube of this the other day, and loved it! The more I see and hear of Bishop Wright, the more appropriate I think the recent comparisons of him to C.S. Lewis really are. I'm currently reading The New Testament and the People of God, and I LOVE it!

normajean said...

The Bishop was over their heads! LOL

Ben Witherington said...

I've seen Tom in a lot of different situations, and it was clear he was having to react fast to the non-stop barrage of Colbert. Colbert is in fact a Roman Catholic Sunday School teacher, and I would love to be in his class sometime, and he knows a good deal more theology than he is letting on, so I thought this was a fun exchange. I loved the Colbert line about Hilary Clinton 'hoping for a surprise', and then there was his one telling remark that he felt that way often these days also.

I do think that Tom did not manage to make clear the connection between believing in a new heaven and a new earth, and caring about the poor and the earth now. Colbert's rebuttal saying "well couldn't Jesus just clean that all up in an afternoon when he comes back" produced no adequate rejoinder from Tom. I would call this little debate about even, but I could have gladly listened to another 15 minutes of their repartee.


Ben Witherington said...

P.S. My wife tells me the good bishop has his facts all wrong when it comes to the population when Jesus' raises the dead. You could not fit them all on the aisle of Mann if you are talking everybody from all time on earth at once.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, he has a wonderful gift, but I think you do as well! Not meant to be flattery: all praise to God of course.

normajean said...

Yes, that was an interesting comment about human population. I've never pondered it before.

Terry Hamblin said...

The good bishop chose the wrong unit of measurement - the usual one is the Isle of Wight, and it is the population of China that supposedly fits there (though they have to sleep standing up).

I began my Christian education in 1 Thessalonians so this 'new' observation is hardly news to me, but it is refreshing to hear it preached. It's a pity they were so constrained by time. Colbert is not the ingenue he pretends to be and I too was waiting for an answer to the implied point by Colbert - how is feeding the hungry etc an example of the new heaven and earth? Are we to be missionaries to Hell - the only place there will be hunger? The attitude of service that we need to do that may well be what exemplifies the attitude of the new creation, but the practice of looking after the poor seems a little out of place.