Wine Before Breakfast – Epistemological Breakdown

Suppressing the truth!
Futile in their thinking!
Senseless minds!
Claiming to be wise they became fools!
They exchanged the truth for a lie!

I don’t know if I can handle this kind of epistemological diatribe at 7.22 in the morning.
I mean, do we really have to keep on this thing with Paul and his letter to the Romans?
Last week was kind of cool – all that counter imperial stuff –
but this tirade against idolatry
is a little heavy for a Tuesday morning, don’t you think?

Heck, this is the University of Toronto.
We’re a ‘world class university!’
Surely if there is one thing that we pride ourselves in,
it is that we do not suppress the truth;
and far from being ‘futile,’ our research bears real fruit in human life.
And how could anyone describe the “boundless” intellectual tradition of this university
as senseless minds, foolishness and based on a lie?

As Paul goes on the offensive against the elite of Rome
how do we overhear his words, sitting in Toronto some two thousand years later?

Our first musical director for WBB was a PhD student named Wyndham Thiessen.
In his song “Foggy Breakdown Mounting” he sings,

And he’s having an epistemological breakdown
A foggy breakdown mounting in his head
He’s worried he should be feeling more worried than he has felt
About the direction of the life that he has led

I don’t know, maybe Paul wants to precipitate an epistemological breakdown in Rome.
Maybe even one at the University of Toronto!

But whatever Paul is on about so early in his letter to the Romans,
it is clear that idolatry is at the heart of the whole thing.
This suppression of the truth, futility in thinking, senseless minds,
foolishness supplanting wisdom and exchanging the truth for a lie,
is all, at root, a matter of idolatry.
It is all a matter of exchanging the glory of God for mere images.
It is all a matter of worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.

This week Wine Before Breakfast tackles idolatry and perhaps slips into an epistemological breakdown.

And to help us find our way through these words of Paul,
or perhaps to help us get even more lost than we already are,
we are inviting an old friend of Wine Before Breakfast to preach.

Andrew Stephens-Rennie was a member of WBB for a number of years when he was a student at Wycliffe College.
With Dave Krause he co-led the bandhood of all believers one year,
he met his wife, Ericka, in our midst,
and was a founding member of Empire Remixed, where he still regularly blogs. []

Andrew is now the Director of Word Made Flesh Canada, a ministry committed to serving Jesus among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor. []

Deb and the Bandhood have got some U2 cooking and a little song by Ben Harper that some folks might recognize from last week.

David Neelands is the Dean of Divinity at Trinity College and will be breaking the bread and pouring the wine for us.

So if you’ve got the heart to face idolatry and its epistemological implications in the face at 7.22 in the morning, the I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday morning. And feel free to bring other idolaters along to join the party.

In Christ,

Brian Walsh,
Campus Minister

Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday, September 25 @ 7.22am
Wycliffe College Chapel
Breakfast to follow in the Chaplain’s Office.