Many, many juicy stories from the Religion and Politics Conference last weekend in Copenhagen, one concerning the bed of a well-known professor and its surprising uses, another concerning the stunned look on the face of our Croatian rep at finding one Marxist left in the world, and another the discovery of a small group of scholars, deep in the cold reaches of Scandinavia, who believe that we can actually find the one true meaning of the Apostle Paul.

But for now, a telling moment in a Copenhagen pub. I have always been struck by the fact that intellectuals tend to be default idealists. Because we work with ideas and words, most of us believe they have power to make things happen in and of themselves. You know the lines – literature changes people, or the pen is mightier than the sword, and so forth. A case in point: at the pub half a dozen of us sat down at a table in the corner. After a few minutes the drinks did not appear magically before us on the table, so a discussion began.

‘Do you think they have table service here?’ said one.

‘I’m not sure’, said another. ‘Maybe you need to order at the bar’.

‘I suspect they have table service’, said a third.

After a full ten minutes, the discussion was still raging, but – strangely – the drinks had still not appeared.

Finally, it came upon one of us to go to bar and ask.

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