Why NT Wright is like Hootie and the Blowfish

Fred Sander has a fun post today on why NT Wright is like Hootie and the Blowfish:

I was driving cross-country in the summer of 1995, at a time when the music of Hootie and the Blowfish was inescapable. My wife and I listened to the radio from Kentucky to California, and the soundtrack assigned to us by American pop music was song after song from the multiplatinum album Cracked Rear View. Now, I happened to like the band’s acoustic-stadium sound, and Darius Rucker’s über-masculine vocals. But it didn’t matter whether I liked it or not, I was getting it from both speakers no matter what. Hootie’s dominance was unquestioned: At best, DJs could manage to alternate one song by somebody else in between songs from Hootie. Change the channel, more Hootie. At one point (somewhere in New Mexico?), a DJ shouted, “This is Hootie’s world, and the rest of us are just livin’ in it!”

The theological Hootie of our age is NT Wright. He’s everywhere. Multiplatinum, hit singles, the whole package. I happen to like his work, but it doesn’t matter if you like it; you’re getting it from both speakers anyway. This is NT Wright’s world, and the rest of us are just livin’ in it.

He goes on to offer some thoughts from the recent discussions about Wright’s view of justification, but I really just enjoyed the idea that Wright was like that band on the radio that everyone keeps playing over and over. If you want to modernize the analogy, he’s the Lady Gaga of the theology world. (Now, close your eyes and try not to picture NT Wright dressed like Lady Gaga.)


About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on November 24, 2010, in Misc and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thank goodness Tom Wright is just another theologian in the UK! Nobody agrees with everything he says there. But, I’m here in the land of the Lady Gaga, and of course he rocks the American theological world! 🙂

    Our Owen Chadwick wrote of Newman: ‘Never was a mind so unceasingly in motion. But the motion was always growth, and never revolution.’ I hope the same for Wright!

  2. I suppose I’m living in a cave. I never heard of NT Wright until I logged onto wordpress and started reading the blogs here. I guess I’m an oldies fan. I still follow folks like Washer, Sproul, MacArthur, and the like. I guess I’m getting old.

  3. The downside of the analogy is that now Hootie couldn’t get a gig for a supermarket opening. They were overplayed and didn’t really develop their sound. The lead singer was fawned over, and became more known for being popular with a certain subset of other famous people, e.g. the ladies (note: Adam Duritz for some reason has ALWAYS dated some of the prettiest women in Hollywood).


    note: Tillich was more popular in his day than Wright is in his – but who reads him now? Okay – I do, but I’m a theology dork.

    • I think it’s always good to remember that fame is usually fleeting. It puts things in perspective.

      On a side note, you read Tillich? Have you sought counseling for that?

  4. Worse than counseling – I’m working on a Th.M.!

  5. I was reflecting on the Hootie analogy when I heard them announce on the TV that the Black Eyed Peas are playing the Super Bowl. Maybe they are the award show/big event version of overplayed-ness.

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