I had held off Reposting/Linking this article from my personal blog over here, as I wasn’t sure that it fit the conversation at that moment.  In light of a number of conversations and having to point others (and myself) back to the underlying message, it seemed like it made sense to add to our conversation.  My apologies if you a) have already read it, or; b) could care less.

All Hail to Old Purdue![Let it be noted that I am a Purdue grad and fan through and through, so if you're at all annoyed by this particular posting, chances are you're somehow affiliated with some school located in the backwoods of southern Indiana, most likely one noted for its excessive drinking and partying. If you happened to have graduated from that school, you have my advanced apologies for writing above a first-grade level in this article...]

On Purdue University’s campus currently resides an ‘Old Oaken Bucket’ in a glass display case. This bucket has a storied history in the football rivalry between Purdue and its arch-nemesis, [name removed 'for the sake of the children']. This bucket has a long chain of “P” (54 for Purdue), “I” (25 for the other school) and “IP” (for three kissing-your-sister ties) bronze links attached to it. Each link represents a win from the respecive school, or in the case of “IP”, a tie.

Each year after the Purdue vs. (deleted) game, the bucket is returned to the school of the winning team, and another link is added to the chain. This is all of the ‘official’ business surrounding the bucket.

However, there is one more ritual performed on this trophy: The winning school positions the chain in such a way as to put most of the opposing school’s links (most often that other non-Purdue school) inside the bucket, so that mostly those of the glorious winning school (most often Purdue, unless blind/paid-off officials or some other unfair playing condition existed at gametime) are displayed for the world to see.

As we approach the college football season, with anticipation of adding another “P” to the chain, I was thinking about this trophy on the way to work last Friday morning and how it relates to theology. How often do we find our interpretations of passages in the Bible which may appear to conflict with other passages, and so we find a way to “hide” or “reinterpret” those troublesome passages, much the same way as rival schools hiding letters in an Old Oaken Bucket? I think about topics like baptism, predestination/free-wiill, and a number of others which have proven divisive over the years because we are so married to our systematic theologie or selective intrepretations that we are forced to hide or ignore any apparent discrepancy, because the ’system’ wouldn’t be neat and tidy if we accepted that we might not have it all right, or that knowing exactly how God works just might not be possible, and that some level of “mystery” truly exists.

While school rivalries might be fun and engaging, similar fights over theology are anything but. Maybe it’s time to lay the theological chains out and accept them for what they are, rather than hiding them like those pesky ‘I’ links buried in an Old Oaken Bucket.

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 14th, 2007 at 11:27 am and is filed under Christian Living, Linked Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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One Comment(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 14th, 2007 at 11:33 am

More levels of mystery exist than we are willing to admit…or…they don’t. The deep and unsettling doctrinal differences between Calvin, Luther, Edwards, Wesley, Moody, and all the usual suspects would be very revealing if laid side by side, and yet God used them all.

Those poor men, it’s a shame they couldn’t have the treasury of our boundless Biblical knowledge! (humor day)