View Full Version : Edmonton prof uses Marilyn Manson lyrics to explore Christian scholarship

05-11-2012, 08:22 PM
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/Edmonton%20prof%20uses%20Marilyn%20Manson%20lyrics %20to%20explore%20Christian%20scholarship/6606766/story.html

EDMONTON - When Bill Anderson blares Marilyn Manson, he hears an echo of the Old Testament prophets.

So when the 51-year-old Concordia University College professor presented a scholarly paper on Amos 2:1-3 last Friday, he interspersed it with Manson’s mOBSCENE music video from YouTube.

It might appear odd to juxtapose an admittedly bizarre biblical passage — which denounces one nation’s leader for descrating the remains of another — with Manson’s chants to “be obscene, be be obscene.” But Anderson insists there’s overlap in their respective messages: avoid herd mentality, reject mediocrity, and strive for substance.

“It just sticks out like a sore thumb, it’s just weird. Why would the one true God of Israel care about the king of Moab burning the king of Edom’s bones?” Anderson asked. “This is the stuff I learned from Marilyn Manson: I’m not prepared to compromise my Christian faith or my scholarship to fit in.”

Anderson has been developing this theological argument for two decades, since he undertook PhD studies in Old Testament in Scotland. And as head of Concordia’s new Canadian Centre for Scholarship and the Christian Faith, he finally had the chance to test it out at last week’s first annual conference on the theme of “The Humanities and the Christian Faith.”

The two-day conference featured a “smorgasbord” approach to a broad array of topics such as post-colonial theory, the fiction of Margaret Atwood, and funeral liturgies, with the bulk of presenters from Concordia and two institutions on the opposite side of the North Saskatchewan River, King’s University College or Newman Theological College. The keynote slot belonged to David Lyle Jeffrey, Canadian polyglot and longtime University of Ottawa medievalist currently teaching at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

The impetus for the new centre, Anderson insists, was to engage various intellectual disciplines from an explicitly Christian perspective. The basic idea came from the Centre for Literature, Theology, and the Arts at the University of Glasgow, where Anderson completed his PhD dissertation on Ecclesiastes in the mid-’90s, which he compares to the Korn song Got the Life that “said in four minutes what it took me five years to say.”

Subsequent conferences will explore Christianity and the social sciences, creative and performing arts, the sciences, and business. For the first three years, funding to cover conference costs comes from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council. After that, it’s up to the centre to locate funding.

An ordained Lutheran minister, Anderson converted to Christianity more than three decades ago after a messy breakup, listening to Deep Purple’s Our Lady, and watching Friday the 13th. He remains a pop culture junkie, performing standup comedy, watching LA Ink, and launching into hilarious impromptu speeches about Canadians’ cellphone fetish or the cult of Oprah Winfrey. He brings heavy metal to the two main courses he teaches: ancient near eastern religion and religion and pop culture, two classes that deal with monotheism, pluralism, and idolatry.

While he estimates three quarters of Concordia’s student body are not religious, Anderson says there are plenty of places for inter-religious dialogue, such as the University of Alberta Augustana’s Chester Ronning Centre.

But few places explicitly explore Christian approaches to scholarship, which can mean butting up and learning from opposing ideologies while refusing to relinquish the unique perspective a faith can bring. It’s a lesson he tries to instill in his students.

“We’re hopelessly confused about tolerance and pluralism,” Anderson said. “Tolerance doesn’t mean agreement or acceptance, it means agreeing to disagree.”

Whisky And Speed
05-11-2012, 08:56 PM
OMG, what a cool and open minded christian.

Marilyn, God loves you.

Sticky Killer Jones
05-26-2012, 03:11 AM
This guy sounds like the sort of teacher, religious or not, that I wish I had more of in school. He seems like the cool type to actually keep students awake by actually hypnotizing them with knowledge and will let us play Slayer on the radio in class.

05-28-2012, 01:29 AM
the fuck?

A Better Messiah
05-31-2012, 07:46 AM
I'm cool with this guy.

05-31-2012, 08:25 AM
Much <3 for this guy : )