Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Prince Philip story

So, I'm at a Franciscan Retreat Center in Malibu for a couple of days. What are the Franciscans doing in Malibu you ask? Well, apparently they arrived well before the movie stars and obtained their present real estate here back when no one could figure out why anyone would want to live so far outside the city on hilly land that is essentially unfarmable.
I'm here for the penultimate gathering of a pastor-theologian group that is nearing the end of its three year, Lilly funded cycle.

Our guest theologian for this gathering will be going here in a few months. This prompted him to tell this story about Prince Phillip who, as you know, has been visiting the U.S.

A colleague of Guest Theologian was at an event at the University of Edinburgh at which Prince Phillip was also present. They were introduced. Prince Phillip, well schooled in the art of polite conversation, asked GT's colleague, "What has brought you here to the University?" "Well, " he replied, " I am a systematic theologian. I'm doing some research here."

"Ah," said the prince. "And what does a systematic theologian do?"
"We try to demonstrate how all the bits and pieces of Christian doctrine hang together."
Moment of silence from Prince P.
Then, "I would have thought the Creeds did that."

Which is either incredibly dense or bloody brilliant.


Presbyterian Gal said...

Oh that Phil....Not just another pretty face.

(still lol'ing)

Kathryn said...

Since nearly everyone this side of the Pond is incredibly rude about Philip, I'm in favour of assuming brilliance. Excellent line :-)

Teri said...

That sounds like brilliance to me.

It always seemed kind of ridiculous to me that we try to fit "christian beliefs/doctrine" into a "system" as that's the antithesis of the mystery we proclaim, right? That God cannot be contained in our systems, but is constantly breaking out into the world?

You go, Philip. ;-)

Quotidian Grace said...

That's a GREAT story!! I must pass it on to my Anglophile husband.

Serena said...

your closing line made me LOL ... and I agree with kathryn and teri that it was a brillient statement that Philip made (or, even a display of common sense???)

SpookyRach said...

Well, hell. I don't get it.

But then, I'm pretty much an unwashed heathen.

Sophia said...


Maybe I can use that line on my Patristics exam tomorrow, when asked to debunk one heresy or another...