Whole Counsel of God

After being told by many (that is, two) people that I should start to keep a record of the interesting events that happen on my shift, I thought it might provide a useful break from book reviews. Especially because I am nine or ten books behind and show no particular ability to catching up. Still, I’m counting this as payment for reading Richard Gamble’s Whole Counsel of God ā€“ a peculiar Biblical theology. We’ll see if I get around to talking about it.

First, you need to realize that working a night shift at this motel is hours of boredom, marked by minutes of work. I work 11-7, when the vast majority of our guests sleep during the vast majority of my shift. At best, I may see two hours of intermittent activity in the beginning, and two hours of intermittent activity in the end. The other four hours? Usually spent reading, or wiled away on Facebook, or spent productively in prayer (the last far too infrequently). I have been reading recently about a monk’s life of studied leisure, and this job seems to almost provide the same sort of scope for disciplined meditation and prayer. Now I just need to develop the spiritual, mental and emotional habits to support it (which will be harder).

So, bearing in mind the usual slackness of my time at work, I have had two amusing incidents over the last week.

On Thursday night, someone ran into the building. I didn’t hear it at the time, but right as my shift started (while, thankfully, there were two people at the desk) someone came down to report that a white truck had backed into the building, and left a giant crack in the wall. He was a native French speaker, and had just woken up, so details were difficult to understand. I went outside and yes ā€“ a fist-sized hole in the wall. He didn’t remember much about the truck, unfortunately, so I apologized that his sleep had been disturbed and thanked him for reporting the crash. The truck driver, naturally, had sped off.

This is where my detective skills come into play. The driver of the truck almost certainly was staying at the hotel, or else why be in our parking lot at 11? So, all that I needed to do was to sneak outside in the middle of the night (I chose 4 AM, because, well, nothing was happening) and find a white truck that wasn’t there before.


A white truck, with South Carolina plates, was in the lot. But, that wasn’t enough for me ā€“ using our advanced registration system (and my brilliant deductive reasoning) I found the only guest staying with us that night from South Carolina. J’accuse!

Sadly, I had to leave too early the next day to see if they caught the culprit or not. I like to think they did, and made him pay for his heinous deeds (or at least pay for the repairs), but they probably didn’t. At best, it was a mere circumstantial case. I need to work on my detecting skills to better pin-point the true criminals. Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt should be my goal.

Or, failing that, staying awake until my shift finishes should be my goal. And that, at least, is slightly more reasonable.

The other amusing incident? Not really worth telling. I caught a bat, in the midst of a screaming family that claimed they don’t have bats in Montana (really? No bats?). I felt sorry for them, but I was happy I had something exciting to do.

And see? I got to 500 words without telling you a thing about The Whole Counsel of God. If you’re curious, Dad, just ask.


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A comms professional in DC, I hope to not lose my soul and keep thinking about interesting books here.

4 thoughts on “Whole Counsel of God”

  1. Two things – First, is the story-telling a ploy to get Mum to read your blog? I’ll tell her you left a couple of stories about your work but you know she is one of the two who told you to write them down and you have already told her those two stories.

    2nd, Okay, tell me about the book. That’s why I look here regularly. Mum keeps me posted on the stories. šŸ™‚

  2. Hey, like I said, not a lot interesting happens. I tell the stories I’ve got, rather than making stuff up (which would also be fun. Hmmmm.)
    On the book – it wasn’t bad, as a survey of the Biblical Theology of the Old Testament goes. I thought he didn’t say some things quite right (which, at this time in the morning, escape me), but over all it was pretty good.
    I was amazed that he didn’t mention post-liberalism, particularly because his definition of Biblical Theology fits so well in line with what they seem to be arguing for. Both want to read the Bible on its own terms, and be formed in connection with it. And yet Gamble doesn’t seem to be in dialogue with them at all.
    The other strange thing was the style of the book itself. It jittered between an academic prolegomena to a sermonic telling of the stories of the Old Testament, and drawing conclusions from those stories. The prolegomena wasn’t bad, though I thought some of the sermonic stuff was weak, but most of all I couldn’t understand how these two dramatically different styles were part of the same book.

    1. Not having read the book, I wonder if the issue isn’t editing more than writing. Perhaps he needed someone to help him tie the two parts together better. I suspect that the idea isn’t bad but the execution suffered.

      I wonder if the lack of interaction with post-liberalism isn’t because we don’t take it seriously enough?

      1. That is a good point – it does read more like an editing problem than anything else. Also, I imagine that it would be difficult to tie it together more without making the book even longer than it already is. (That’s something I’m wondering about volume 3 – it sounds like it’s going to be a complete history of hermeneutics and theology, which’ll be interesting, although difficult to fit in.)

        Re: postliberalism – that might be it. Still, I find it strange just because from what I’ve heard, it really is one of the most influential theological movements on the broader landscape. Maybe it is just that they like Barth and the neo-orthodox a little too much for the taste of conservative reformed folks.

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