Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Scott Bailey, creator of the blog "Scotteriology" (Click the title to visit his site). We had a great interview, which you can read below. Be sure to bookmark his site and visit frequently. Thanks again to Scott of taking the time to chat.
Michael: Scott, first of all, thanks for taking the time to interview.
Scott: It is my pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to interview me.
Michael: Well, let me begin by asking you to, if you would, say just a little bit about yourself. For example, where you are currently living, what type of ministry or ministries you may be involved in, etc.
Scott: I live in Edmonton Alberta Canada. I grew up a pastor's kid and have been actively involved in the church my entire life in many different facets. I think I have pretty much done everything except lead worship. Right now I am pretty much focusing on my studies.
Michael: What exactly are you studying?
Scott: My major is Religion and Theology with a focus on biblical studies, and my minor is Biblical Languages.
Michael: What’s your favorite Greek word?
Scott: Agathos... that's my user name that I post under on my Blog.
Michael: Any story behind that term?
Scott: It means "good" or "useful." It characterizes the direction I think I am heading in my journey.
Michael: Tell us about the name of your blog. How did you come up with “Scotteriology”?
Scott: Well, as you guessed it is a play on the word "Soteriology." I just thought it was a little theological, a little different, and a little funny. Kinda like me!
Michael: When, why and how did you begin blogging and what have been some of the benefits of it?
Scott: I began blogging about 6 months ago. I had been a frequent reader of many blogs such as Codex, Chrisendom and Jim West. I thought it would just be fun to try and a good place to accumulate some things on the web. One of the main benefits of blogging is that it gives me the opportunity to meet like-minded people that I probably would not have run into in any other situation. Also, I think it is also very good practice to find your “voice.” And I get to write things I would not get to in school.
Michael: I’ve noticed that you blog frequently about issues concerning Church, Christ and culture. In a “big picture” type of way, what is your assessment of our current culture and where do you see it heading?
Scott: Well I don't think our current culture is a reflection of the kingdom of God that Jesus frequently talked about. I seriously doubt it is going to spontaneously regenerate itself so I can only surmise that things will get worse and not better. I think it is difficult to broadly paint "culture" with one brush. It is very diverse. There are liberal aspects and there are conservative aspects, but on the whole it appears that in many ways we are becoming more liberal. I certainly am not the biggest fan of culture determining theology.
Michael: So, from your vantage point, then, what is the one area that the Church of the West needs to improve on more than any other?
Scott: Putting Christ back into X-tianity. It doesn't matter how relevant, missional, conservative or traditional you are, without Christ, it is just empty religion.
Michael: Why do you suppose Christ has been so removed from Christianity?
Scott: There are so many reasons, and obviously we can't cover them all in this type of format, but I think it is a natural weakness of humans to move from revelation to regulation, and to start putting our trust in tangible manmade things.
Michael: That is an interesting statement. So, you sort of see idolatry (in a variety of forms) as the root of the removal?
Scott: No, I don't think that I would use the word idolatry, but I do think there can be an unhealthy overemphasis on people and their actions. "If we just do things this way then everything will be all right." I think that sometimes we get a little too excited for how we are doing things and forget to focus on the source. The “Prosperity Message” would be a good example of this. There, it's not about Christ but rather it's about you, or worse yet, the pastor and "his anointing."
Michael: We’ve been talking a bit about ecclesiology (e.g. the study of the Church, for those who may not be familiar with the term), let’s talk for a moment about theology and theologians. As far as theology goes, what would you say is the main issue that you are thinking on more these days than any other? Why is that?
Scott: I have been very focused on the corporate nature of the writings of both the OT and NT. When I first started my studies I had the typical western individualistic worldview when I read my Bible. Bringing some of these concepts to our western audience I think will be quite a challenge.
Michael: Absolutely. So, have you been leaning towards a corporate understanding of salvation? For example, would you say that Christ did not die for “me” alone, but for the “Church” as a whole? To put it differently, “It is not for ‘me’ that He will return but for the Church.”
Scott: I would say that would have probably been the understanding of the men who wrote the Bible. But again, the real challenge is how far that type of thinking is from our own culture
Michael: I agree. For sure. I agree with Bruce Malina's dictum: "If, when we read the Bible, it makes perfect sense to us, we're either misunderstanding and/or misinterpreting."
Scott: Yes, that's very good. I was given a series of books to read by my professor in a summer study last year on the social context of the NT world. Malina's was quite good.
Michael: Well, let me ask you this: What theologian or author (famous or not) has influenced you the most in your Christian thought and walk?
Scott: Wow. There are so many. I would like to write something really cool and academic sounding to show how smart I am, but I think that I would have to say Philip Yancey. Not that he is the greatest writer or the most theologically astute, but in the honest way that he looks not only into tradition but also into himself as well with humility and openness, it causes me to feel very “at peace.” This is the sort of disposition I have adopted. For example, sometimes, when I am just being smart and arguing theology, I may say the right thing theologically about Christ but I certainly don't reflect Him if I am just arrogantly beating someone down to my point.
Michael: You mentioned above that you grew up in the Church. If I’m correct, another aspect of your background is that you were a professional hockey player. Care to say a bit about that?
Scott: Sure. I played pro hockey for a number of years, and I think it gave me the opportunity to see life in a unique way. I traveled all over the world and got to meet people from many different cultures. Hockey is also a different sport and I think I learned some lessons about people that come in handy in my present endeavors. It is no longer something I do, but it is part of what made me what I am. And I got to play in the NHL, which was pretty darned cool!
Michael: Were you a goalie?
Scott: Yes I was a goalie. Which may explain some of the things I write on my blog. Years of 100 MPH slapshots of the head will change a man.
Michael: Haha. Did you have a favorite rival? Ever play against a childhood icon?
Scott: No rival except the limitations of my own ability. I got to play against many of my favorite goalies from when I was growing up such as Grant Fuhr and Ron Hextall. Also, I was scored on by Gretzky, Lemieux, and Messier (amongst many others). And I played with Hofers Bourque and Neely, which also was fun.
Michael: Wow. Those are some unforgettable memories (even if as a goalie, your head knocks have left you prone to memory loss). Well, let me ask you a final question, Scott. If you could only have one book, besides or in addition to the Bible, what would it be and why?
Scott: You're killing me with these selections. I love all my books!
Michael: Sorry. :)
Scott: I think I would have to go with my "Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics." Of course, that is cheating a little but I would get some theology and some darned good writing, which is a pretty good combo. Either that or Left Behind! They are pretty close in quality.
Michael: I’m rolling here. You know how much of a Left Behind fan I am.
Scott: Yeah, they have a link to your articles off of their site
Scott: No, I'm just kidding. I seriously doubt that those of that worldview are seriously interested in debating a rational person.
Michael: Hahaha. What a good segue for “leaving," what do you say we “end” there friend? Well, Scott, thank you so much for interviewing; it has been fun. God bless you in your studies and ministries my brother.
Scott: The same to you Michael. Thank you and be good.