28 February 2008

John Piper is... funny!

by Dan Phillips

DISCLAIMER: anytime anyone even seems to be criticizing Piper, all the Pipeheads do a dogpile. This isn't a criticism! It's a chuckle. If you don't like it, ask for a ticket refund at the box office and move on!

I've been challenged by the sessions I've heard from the Desiring God Pastor's Conference for 2008, groaning under my dissimilarities to their wonderful fathers, seeing too much of myself in their shortcomings.

In particular, I was listening to the question and answer session. In response to some question, Dr. D. A. Carson (whom I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing in person last year) says "I think The Pleasures of God is the most important book John Piper has ever written."

Nice!

How does Piper respond?

A few minutes later, on the way to responding to a question, he almost (not quite) sniffs in passing, "I think God Is the Gospel is the most important book I've ever written."

That just cracks me up.

See, I try to put myself in Piper's place. In this daydream, I'm in some public venue with D. A. Carson (which, I know — dream on!), when, out of nowhere and in response to some question that had nothing to do with me, Carson says, "I think 25 things I've learned is the most important post Dan Phillips has ever written."

And I?

Next time I have a chance to speak, of course, I humph,"Well, I think my series on dealing with Proverbs is the most important post I've ever written!"

Right! That would totally happen!

No, I'd probably not be able to speak for the rest of the evening. I know I'd be impossible to live with, like, forever.

My thoughts would be, (A), "Don Carson has read anything I've ever written?!" — followed by, (B), "Don Carson remembers something specific that I've written?!" — followed by, (C), "Don Carson remembers something specific that I have written, and thinks that it is important?!!"

That's me. Not Piper!

Just cracks me up.

Different vessels, different makeups, different men. Same Lord.

(Also, it may indicate why the Lord could never trust me with that sort of notoriety.)

Dan Phillips's signature

53 comments:

Gordon Cheng said...

That's funny. I laughed until I stopped, and then thought about getting into trouble for laughing

DJP said...

Welcome to my world.

(c;

Gordon Cheng said...

That's a bad world we live in. Funny, but bad.

Gordon Cheng said...

In a funny way, I mean.

Everyday Mommy said...

I had the pleasure of hearing D.A. Carson speak in person on two occasions...I daydreamed about chatting him up over a grande latte at Starbuck's, when suddenly he performed the Vulcan Mind Meld and I was imbibed with his knowledge and winsome manner of speaking.

A girl can dream, can't she!

Roger said...

That is pretty funny. Only a Piper could get away with that one huh? I'm glad you posted this Dan cuz I almost forgot about listening to the series!

DJP said...

Carson is a rare combination, Mommy. He spoke at our church, kept my 11yo son on the edge of his seat for well-nigh an hour. Connected equally with kids and seminary grads; very rare gifting.

Roger, that was one of my subsidiary aims. (c;

Michelle said...

Sounds like he's, you know, like totally not self-absorbed, humble in a naive sort of way, simply honest without the trappings of preoccupation with self.

BTW, and I'm not sure if I saw it on here first, for another chuckle check out slam poet Taylor Mali on youtube (the clip "like, you know") on our generation's use of the words "like and you know". I digress.

Stefan said...

Dan: That is a rare gift!

DJP said...

Michelle — Could have been, like, my linking here.

DJP said...

When Carson spoke at our church, a young girl asked for him to autograph her bulletin. He was absolutely tickled. Last I checked, she still had it.

TBE said...

dan, I think this post is the most important thing you've ever written.

stratagem said...

A person pokes fun at Piper, then the next thing you know, they are Emerg***! It's a slippery slope, you know... :)

Stefan said...

Has he written any books or made any recordings for children? It sounds like he could apply that gift. It would beat Biblezines....

This gives me an idea for our Q & A session when he comes up here, too!

DJP said...

"Uncle Don's Bible Stories"

Hm.


Nnnnnnnno, don't think so. Then there's the whole prospect of it being on Purgatorio's Divine Vinyl in a few years....

DJP said...

BTW, on the theme of "Piper" and "funny," Abraham Piper gave the intro to his father's (John's) talk about his father (Bill).

For various reasons (I don't say good reasons), I was set not to like the intro.

He had me laughing out loud a number of times. Pretty great intro.

centuri0n said...

It would all fall apart when you then went to Sonic with Carson and he ordered a slushy. All the gilding comes off when you see him with a brain freeze.

DJP said...

It'd be a good day when I could be described as "like D. A. Carson with a brain freeze."

Michelle said...

Dan:

You know, it wasn't your post as I'm a newcomer here and that was back in October. You're way ahead of me. That's why I like you guys so much.

SolaMeanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SolaMeanie said...

Hmm. This desperately needs a Bee Gees link.

I wuvs ya, Dan..

mark pierson said...

But Dan, I remember everything that you write.

M.D. Pierson

DJP said...

Good.

There will be a quiz.

DJP said...

NO thread needs a BeeGee's link.

Stefan said...

I heard Piper once crack an unintentional joke during a conference session. It had everyone guffawing for a good couple of minutes.

Dan, I'm hearing Cent's sentiments. It seems that with your "luck" (nothing can be ascribed to mere luck, of course), you may one day get your wish of being publicly complimented by Don Carson, but that'll be the day that your tongue-tied, jet-lagged, or what have you.

Stefan said...

Oh, never mind: Cent was speculating as to what if Carson had the brain freeze. I was thinking, what if you had the brain freeze?

DJP said...

The effect would doubtless be similar.

Aaron said...

I go to church with Dr. Carson, and though I've not yet truly met him, I almost met him in another sense a couple weeks ago...

My wife and I joined the music team, and I was asked to sub for another musician, meaning I was supposed to sing and play guitar at the same time (rather than merely strum in the back). Our music pastor had gone to his office for something, and I was quite hurriedly conveying myself towards his office to ask a question, when Dr. Carson walked through the front doors, and I barely avoided running into and over him. It would have been quite a disaster, since his hands were full and I had quite a bit of momentum.

centuri0n said...

All I'm saying is that D.A. Carson would get a brain freeze drinking a slush just like anyone would. He may be high octane intellectual fire power, but Sonic is the great equalizer.

SolaMeanie said...

I would like to see Don Carson meet Brian McLaren, and for McLaren to get the brain freeze. Of course, that might happen without the Sonic slush as Dr. Carson explains orthodox doctrine to good ol' Bri.

Just speculating.

DJP said...

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Or maybe it'd be

Ow. Ow. Ow.

S.J. Walker said...

You guys are just mean. I glad I'm not as some of you...

BTW, I listened to whole Q&A. Good stuff there.

Carol said...

Aaron: If you're ever at the Letterman show you should definitely share your "brush with greatness."

Gordon Cheng said...

My brush with Don was that I was at a conference one time and asked him for his e-mail address!

He refused, and I slunk away humbled.

It was the Most Important experience in my life.

DJP said...

Oh, ow. That hurt all the way out here.

SolaMeanie said...

By the way, Daniel...

I should state for the record, I think you probably peeked at the Bee Gees link I provided out of insatiable curiosity. I might even offer a "Phil-style" five-dollar bet on it. A Sonic slush gift certificate, perhaps?

You have to admit, "I Started a Joke" fit aptly, despite Robin Gibb's emotional quaver. Sometimes his voice reminds me of someone trying to jump a car in wintertime.

Stefan said...

Is it just something about D.A. Carson that causes people to crumble around him? He must have some kind of superpower....

Hey, I just installed eSword, and here I am reading John Gill's commentary, and in Romans 11:24, here's this dour old-time Particular Baptist quoting from ancient rabbinic sources! Wonder of wonders....

Morris Brooks said...

I guess the Sonic slushy brain freeze is the earthling equivalent to the Vulcan mind meld. Both cause you to go cross-eyed.

GeneMBridges said...


My thoughts would be, (A), "Don Carson has read anything I've ever written?!" — followed by, (B), "Don Carson remembers something specific that I've written?!" — followed by, (C), "Don Carson remembers something specific that I have written, and thinks that it is important?!!"


Well since you brought this up, brother. I have it on good authority that what some of us write on the blogs is read and remembered by some of the folks of this caliber and do, even if they don't say so, think these things. You never know who's reading your work.

They just don't comment because they know that many of us think of them as, for lack of a better term as "celebrities" and many of them also just don't have the time. I know this because:

1. Word reached me that something I had written and published was something from which he said he learned some useful and, presumbably, new material. He's a well known Ph.D and a Baptist "celebrity" scholar.

2. Word also reached me from a friend who pastors a church who knows some of these folks. My friend said he knew me and this person responded that he read and greatly appreciated my work. I know that mine isn't the only name he knew and appreciated. Some of us are regular reading, and not just the "egghead" blogs like Triablogue.

3. These folks read our articles and comboxes. The lesson here is that the blogs do, in fact, serve a community far wider than those of us in the comboxes.

Also, I know of some well known seminary professors who lurk on discussion boards under pseudonyms and comment there. I've interacted with one of them in the past offline. It turned out that he's a friend of mine I've known for many years, and we just ran into each other on a discussion board.

CraigS said...

I think "John Piper is...funny!" is the most important post you've ever written...

SolaMeanie said...

Stefan,

I have seen Don Carson in person when he came to a local church to discuss our Emergent friends. I can assure you that I did not genuflect, nor did I pass out as many are doing at Barack Obama rallies these days.

Ooops. That was a political dig. I apologize immediately. (snort)

Benjamin Nitu said...

"Oddities do not strike odd people. This is why ordinary people have a much more exciting time; while odd people are always complaining of the dullness of life." (GKC)

Is D.A. Carson the new Chuck Norris of theology? :)

DJP said...

Benjamin, there are some real possibilities there.

S.J. Walker said...

Chuck Norris of Theology?

Hmmmm. I wonder what would be the parallel to a round-house kick... any thought?

A Lion Has Roared!

Stefan said...

Sola:

Political dig? The only publicly declared Obama supporter in this neck of the blogosphere woods is now a McCain-supporting global warming skeptic, so you might get away with that one.

Then again, this place can get contentious enough as it is, even without any mention of politics. It's probably better the way things are.

SkiBumLife said...

I found his "The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God" to be quite a roundhouse kick. For a small book, it packs a punch!

Jay said...

Why do I get the impresssion Piper is just socially awkward?

Like his eccentricities allow him to get away with such a comment.

Jacob said...

Not a fan of Piper. His writing and his sermons both cause great frustration upon reading/hearing them. Too much allegory, too much experientialism. Not enough sound exegetical approach to the texts. Ah well, to be expected with covenenalist amillennialism I suppose.

donsands said...

"Ah well, to be expected with covenenalist amillennialism I suppose."

As compared to what?

Daryl said...

"Not enough sound exegetical approach to the texts."

Ummmm Jacob? Ever listened to his sermons? If there's one thing Piper does carefully, it's exegesis.

Tyler said...

Oh man. I've never read a book like The Pleasures of God. It brought me both to tears and to my knees.

DJP said...

I'm looking forward to reading it.

After all, D. A. Carson says... well, you know.

J. Gary Ellison said...

All this gushing about Dr. Carson... Let us thank our Lord for the gifts that he has given to the Church and remind ourselves that none of us has anything that we did not receive.