Perhaps you’re familiar with the term “armchair quarterback”. In me, this term invokes a positive and a negative image. In the positive image, there is an enthusiastic sports fan with a passionate love of the game. He keeps up with the teams, the players, the coaches and the stats. He watches every match he can playing the game vicariously. He develops strategies, constructs plays and has opinions on performances. Yet, he never leaves the relative safety of home. He’s an outsider and he knows it. In the negative image, there is a blob of a man wedged into his lazy-boy with a beer clutched in one hand and a remote in the other shouting belligerently at the TV apparently convinced that he knows the game better than everyone on the field, especially the referees. He is an outsider and doesn’t seem to know it.
An armchair theologian is also outsider to “the game”. He looks in to the academic community of theologians with a keen interest in the topics being discussed. He knows schools of thought, scholars/preachers/pastors associated with them and so forth. He listens to and reads them whenever he can. He develops opinions of his own about the different subjects. Perhaps he understands he’s an outsider and perhaps he doesn’t. Perhaps he presents himself as a “player” and perhaps he doesn’t.
Of course, I see myself in the positive image. I’m an outsider and I know it. I try to post in such a way as to demonstrate that I’m aware that I’m not an insider, a player. I would appreciate it if any scholars who stumble across this blog would relate to what I write with this in mind. And since I’m not part of your scholarly community, please don’t be offended if/when you feel that I’m not “playing by the rules”. Treat me the way you would a foreigner with a low-level mastery of the language and a small amount of knowledge of the culture who is eager to communicate, to relate.