I mentioned this upcoming on-line event with me interviewing Paul Metzger, author of More Than Things, in the big BookNotes column I did a couple weeks ago reviewing Metzger’s new book, and then alluded to it again in the most recent Booknotes (the one about spiritual formation, personal growth, and learning resilience and joy) a day or so ago. All you have to do is pre-register here.
More Than Things: A Personalist Ethic for a Throwaway Culture is a book that — if you don’t mind working through the exceptionally serious-minded scholarship and the fabulously copious footnotes citing tons of ancient and contemporary theologians, cultural critics, philosophers and ethicists for almost 450 pages — could almost fit in that upbeat post a day ago listing books like Karen Marsh’s recent Wake Up to Wonder and Justin Whitmel Earley’s new Made for People and that great anthology edited by Perry Glanzer called Stewarding Our Bodies. What threads through yesterday’s BookNotes of more than ten recent books about personal growth and spiritual formation is that they all emphasize, in one way or another, the fact that we are all persons and we deserve to be treated well, with dignity and honor, illustrating the inherent worth of people made in the very image of the Triune creator-God. Even the books about resilience or suffering (or Amanda Held Opelt’s brilliant Holy Unhappiness) are, I think, related to and best understood under the umbrella of Metzger’s good theology and subsequent social ethic which he calls personalism.
Paul Louis Metzger does a deep dive in More Than Things into this philosophy of personalism and the fabulous book cover aptly illustrates that we are not just plastic, not just cut-outs. I’m not sure if the plot and message of the Barbie movies fits in here — I’m going to ask him, that’s for sure — but Metzger is a culturally-aware public theologian who wants to show how a distinctively Christian worldview is, at heart, a matter of personalism; alive as we are in God’s world of good but fallen institutions and systems, but always as persons to be treated with dignity. His personal energy for this social ethic is matched by his exceptional kindness and grace. The book is brilliant and our time is going to be interesting.
So, re-read that review if you’d like and, in any event, sign up to be a part of our on-line conversation.
Once you sign up (here) you will then be sent a Zoom invitation, a simple code that gets you into the party. It is free (and there may even be some ongoing perks from IVP Academic, the publisher.)
I’ll interview Paul about the book starting at 1:00 PM in the Eastern time zone (he is out in Oregon, so it’s earlier out there.) We’ll have some friendly discussion about the book and its themes and we’ll take (written) questions from the on-line participants. Naturally, it will be a closed gig — that is, your face won’t be shown to the world and you’ll just see Paul and me — but we have a behind the scenes tech guy who will field questions and comments, creating the possibility of a real on-line conversation of sorts. We are really pleased that InterVarsity Press is hosting this event for us, and Paul and I both tip our hats to them. And to you, interested participants. We can’t do this without you.
It may be recorded and we might be able to share bits and pieces later, but, please, if you are at all able to join in this coming Thursday, please do. (We know it is in the middle of the work day for many but it was the only time our tech helpers could do it.) It would mean a lot to me, and I’m sure Dr. Metzger would be deeply appreciative, as well, if you could join us. He has done a number of books over the years, but this is one that is particularly important to him, the fruit of his years pondering Scripture and social ethics and public justice and coping with some troubles in the life of his own extended family that bring to the fore the very philosophy of life which this book so eloquently speaks. We are both really looking forward to chatting together, having others listen in, and taking feedback and comments from our gathered on-line community.
Won’t you be a part of it?
See you on-line on Thursday, August 17th at 1:00 EST (a bit earlier in other time zones.) Please don’t forget to pre-register so you can get the free code to join in the fun. Just click here and fill out the form from which we can send you the Zoom link. Thanks.