Christianity Today: Bishop New Testament Wrong, you have decided to retire early from being Bishop of the North East.
NT Wrong: That I have, yes, most regrettably. I have a better offer even further up north. Come on, I haven't much time.
Christianity Today: Let's examine the reasons. As a result of your many trips to the USA, you are known there as a book seller, but one wonders if you have discovered something in your research where the Jewish Jesus does not quite relate to the doctrine about which you are a somewhat passionate defender.
NT Wrong: Not at all, but I will be freer to do one thing at once rather than two. And I shall be travelling up there very soon.
Christianity Today: What one thing?
NT Wrong: Write.
Christianity Today: Wrong; Bishop Wrong you will still be. I mean a scholar like, for example, May of Acorn accuses you of wrong motivation: whereas she just follows the text, you are an apologist - you make the text come to a conclusion you wish to see before you get it.
NT Wrong: I think I've heard of her: she's a Gnostic isn't she?
Christianity Today: No, she looks at the various Nag Hammadi Gospels but also includes the canonical. She just follows the texts, like a social anthropologist through time.
NT Wrong: I am a leading objective, doctrinal, textual, modernist, postmodernist, so that no one has a neutral position. Like I say to the American Church, you are either for us or against us. I shall continue to write to match the Jewish last days world to the community after Jesus and Christian doctrine hundreds of years later. My work carries quite a punch in the academic community: I am a big name to be put on the academic staff.
Christianity Today: Let me try another reason, then. You were not going to become the Archbishop of Anglicanism. So you may as well retire early. A Bishop Jones James has beaten you to it, hasn't he, via his recent Kinnock speech.
NT Wrong: What Kinnock speech? Collecting redundancy notices in Liverpool from taxis?
Christianity Today: Where he comes out of the evangelical camp to give a more inclusive view of the gay issue, like a Kinnock, something you cannot do given your own Church politics allegiances. I mean, who can replace Rowanov Williamsyevich Treetri when his Covenant falls apart and the Communion divides and someone needs to be in this one but reach out?
NT Wrong: You don't want me to get angry with you, do you?
Christianity Today: Not really.
NT Wrong: I have no such ambitions that you seem to dream up for me, other than to be what I am, which is an international scholar so widely recognised that I became a bishop in a diocese that appoints academics. For your information, laddie, I have had plenty of influence with the current Archbishop. I knew what he was thinking. He is a good friend of mine. Often, let's be clear, I was the hand working the puppet.
Christianity Today: You once said he was sending out letters in taking action against The Episcopal Church regarding the Lambeth Conference I think. He didn't.
NT Wrong: I overheard things that didn't come about. I was there. I was at the centre.
Christianity Today: He doesn't seem to regard you as the friend you regard him, after all you haven't exactly helped his approach.
NT Wrong: I felt that as a friend he needed a kick up the backside. I don't like the tone of your questions.
Christianity Today: Have you neglected your diocese? After all, you seem more concerned with trips to America to sell your books.
NT Wrong: Are you deliberately trying to be an obnoxious git? International Anglicanism is very important when you are trying to build a worldwide fellowship of believers that agree with me.
Christianity Today: I suggest that with the Global South making plans to set up their own structures, or have a different Covenant from the one the Archbishop is selling - Primates instead of the Standing Committee - that you are bottling out. You see there is nowhere else to go with this. The game is up. You are out of here.
NT Wrong: If I wasn't a bishop I'd be thinking of thumping you.
Christianity Today: Are you going to be joining Bishop Nasser Alley Cat in representing Christians under pressure, such as, in your case, those seeking an Anglican Covenant of the Primates?
NT Wrong: I am going further north, not south. I will be in my study and teaching some students who can learn great things at my lap.
Christianity Today: A centre where a once Catholic priest turned Scottish militant reformer and influenced the aristocrats.
NT Wrong: A place of academic study for serious people like me.
Christianity Today: Do you think Durham might have a more liberal scholar as bishop again?
NT Wrong: Their days are over - long gone. They produced our most depressing years of theology. They conked out in 1978. Anyway, who is there?
Christianity Today: Well, they are still around, say Professor Animal Lindsey for example?
NT Wrong: I think we might refer to the good Bishop Peter Brough Troosers regarding any such theologies that he says are on the periphery. Like he says, I tackle the main issues, the biblical issues; the Church has changed since the days of Robinson and the barley water of whether God exists or not and that sort of utter rubbish. I have given this diocese the sort of ballast that the retired chap Bishop Ear now in Yorkshire never offered in his crazy doubting. You didn't get that from me. Have you any more ridiculous questions?
Christianity Today: Do you think you might disappear from view?
NT Wrong: You come up further north and I'll close my study door and trap your hand.
Christianity Today: Do you think, regarding your later pronouncements on Anglicanism, as an active bishop, that you became something of a laughing stock? Ouch! That wasn't very pleasant.
NT Wrong: My hand slipped.
Christianity Today: Your pen hurt me.
NT Wrong: Correct. Hermeneutically, it was the effect of the shape of the pen, not the bodily influence.
Christianity Today: But that's exactly the opposite of what you say in your writings, when you affirm the influence of the body, even though we have no evidence other than the language and culture, their beliefs and expectations.
NT Wrong: Culture is important. Read my next fistful of books, with the emphasis on fistful. Good bye.
Christianity Today: Mind if I don't?
NT Wrong: Prat.
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