Here I am, sitting in the Day Missions Reading Room at the Yale Divinity School Library. I used to think the name referred to this being the room where one would read during the day, but I have since been informed that some couple who had a huge library about Christian missions was named Day, and so the room was named in honor of them and the huge collection of books they donated to Yale. I have spent nearly the whole day here and have very little to show for it except a higher word IQ in the Facebook game “Scramble,” a few graded assignments logged online for my students, and a couple of bills paid online.
Why am I telling you this when I have two big, fat papers to write? Because I have two big, fat papers to write, that’s why! Here: I’ll even take another picture of the room so you can see how it’s a two-story room with little individual study areas on both floors. Aren’t those carved wooden columns lovely?
Of course, this has nothing to do with my exegesis paper on Matthew 16:13-20, the famous pericope that ends with “Whatsoever you bind on earth, I will bind in heaven. Whatsoever you loose on earth, I will loose in heaven.” Those are extremely puzzling words, to say the least, which is why I thought it was such a great idea two months ago to choose this passage to explicate. Now I am not so sure. I’ve had a hallway discussion of my interpretation with one of the exchange students from Westcott House, Cambridge University, England. She thought my interpretation was fine. But you can never tell with the English. They are so polite.
In addition, I am writing a 25-page paper challenge to Friedrich Schleiermacher’s doctrine of salvation, challenging his claim that all professed Christians are saved, and no one else is, but they eventually all will be as soon as they become Christian because the saved Christian souls in heaven won’t experience heavenly bliss if they are aware of unsaved souls out there. I have written three pages on that.
But first, I’m going to get a birthday present for another friend from Westcott House, Cambridge, England, because today is her fortieth birthday. And then I’m going to return some of my students’ assignments tonight. So Schleiermacher and Matthew will have to wait.
I leave you with this joke, told by a Roman Catholic professor of mine, who said we could repeat it only if we were Roman Catholics. As a former one, I feel semi-qualified:
The Trinity wanted to go on a trip and discussed possible locations. The Father said, “How about Jerusalem?”
The Son said, “No, I have bad memories of that place. How about America?”
“No,” the Father said. “They call me ‘Mother’ there. How about Rome?”
The Holy Spirit said, “What a wonderful idea! I’ve never been there!”