Dresdon Black, the host, opened the new ThC series The Iron Theologian with "In the history of civilization, people have never seen a theology competition quite like this one." Immediate Neilsen ratings suggest that he was right. Over 200 people began watching the show at 10pm, and inexplicably, by 10:45pm, 250,000 viewers were watching.
Due to the story deadline, we are publishing the transcript straight from the live broadcast.
[After introducing the five iron theologians]
Dresdon Black: Let me introduce Romano Rown, our on-the-floor reporter in Theology Stadium. Romano, will you explain what will happen this evening?
RR: In veritas, Dresdon. First, you will announce the secret doctrine, which will be a surprise to all the iron theologians. Afterward, just to introduce the iron theologians to the audience, all five will have to immediately create at least one intrepretation of the doctrine within one hour. These interpretations will then be presented to our esteemed panel of three judges (judges, in shadow, wave to screen). Finally, a judgment will be rendered and his or her THEOLOGIA WILL REIGN AS APOLOGIA! (Coughs) Sorry, I have to scream that part. It's in the contract.
DB: So... let's crack open some old-fashioned revelation! Today's secret doctrine is (drum roll, the iron theologians look at a tablecloth-covered table avidly; DB sweeps the cloth off to uncover icons of ...) CHRISTOLOGY! The clock is set and now the theologians will begin! (the five run hastily to tables set with books, laptops, pencils, clay, and an icon) Ooh, this will be good. Christology is a rather meaty doctrine, isn't it, Romano?
RR: Ja wohl, Dresdon. It is an essential ingredient to Christian theology and has been the subject of much interpretation already. There is much revelation--through scripture, tradition, the councils--and much interpretation. They will also have to decide whether to focus on atonement, incarnation, Christ as Teacher, the New Adam, the Pure Image, etc....there are many possibilities. But there are also lots of opportunities to fall into heresy, as the patristic period recognized. Heresy results in automatic disqualification from the competition and losing the iron theologian mantle.
DB: Thanks, and off to the floor with you, Romano! Godspeed! Our three judges, who we'd like to recognize as Judge A, B, and C at the moment, are going to provide some play by play commentary as the hour proceeds. Over to you!
A: Thanks, Dresdon. OK, how are our iron theologians starting at their task? We're closest to de Lubac...his nose is deep in a pile of musty books...Ah! Is that Augustine he's devouring?
B: That would be a natural place to start for him, as the eminent Patristics scholar, yes indeed. I doubt he will end there, though.
C. He seems to be scribbling in Greek. (hee hee hee)
A: As long as he translates for us at the end...and Rahner in that corner?
B: He's writing an essay. No shock there, the man doesn't have an unwritten thought, and essay is his standard presentation.
C: Yes, but is it an induction from Thomas Aquinas? Heidegger? Both? (hee hee)
B: I do see Being and Time open.
A: Should be heady stuff! von Balthasar is nearby, and look, Adrienne von Speyr materialized. They seem relaxed.
B: Starting off with a nice chat, it seems.
C: Actually, it seems like they are doing some biblical study to begin with...Romano, can you see what that book is?
RR: Absolutamente, our SuperZoom camera shows us the Gospel of John, Judge C.
A: Nice to see our iron theologians keeping to form...now what is Gustavo Gutierrez doing?
B: Interesting ... his Bible is open to Exodus, tabbed at Luke, and he has asked for a bunch of styrofoam take-out boxes.
A: And is St. Therese ... what? deep breathing?
C: It looks like...she's cleared her table, dusted it, placed an icon of Christ on it, and is now in contemplative prayer. I wonder if she will keep track of the stop clock! (hee hee hee)
DB: Excuse me, judges, but we do need to stop the commentary for a commercial break from our sponsor, Heavenly Delight Ice Cream: where "the Rocky Road to Heaven is paved with good eating." Back in two minutes.
(to be continued)