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Highlights from ETS/AAR/SBL

The blogging has been a little light around here for the last week since I’ve been away for ETS/AAR/SBL 2013. And for the first time in many years, I decided not to do anything online while I was there, which was rather nice. But here are some thoughts on the conferences in general.

1. Lots of Talk about Inerrancy

Some of you may know that the theme of ETS this year was inerrancy. But I don’t have much to say about the discussion since I attended very few of the sessions dedicated to that theme. I would have attended the opening session on Zondervan’s new Five Views on Biblical Inerrancywith Pete Enns, Al Mohler, Mike Bird, and and John Franke–but I didn’t arrive until later that day. And my attendance at the plenary sessions was spotty to say the least. So you’ll have to look elsewhere to hear how that conversation went.

2. Growing Interest in Theological Anthropology

As usual, there weren’t many papers dedicated specifically to theological anthropology (assuming you eliminate any paper having to do with women in ministry and free will). But I had a startling number of individual conversations with people interested or actively researching in theological anthropology. And I had at least three conversations with people about whether it’s time to develop a study group specifically dedicated to that topic. That would give us a forum for addressing more deeply issues like human sexuality, race, disability, dignity/uniqueness, and embodiment, as well as the intersection between theological anthropology and other doctrines (Christology, pneumatology, ecclesiology, etc.). That’s sounds rather exciting to me, especially if we could make it intentionally interdisciplinary, so I’m going to look into that a bit more.

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Flotsam and jetsam (11/4)

leaving for Nepal

Good Reads

  • The surprisingly badass birds of the Bible: They fly all over the Bible – from beginning to end – and they have a prominent place in the founding narratives of almost every culture and religion. They are not just bones and feathers. They are strength or hope, omen and oracle. (CNN)
  • 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living: though I feel utterly unqualified to give “advice” in that omniscient, universally wise sense the word implies, here are seven things I’ve learned in seven years of making those choices, of integrating “work” and life in such inextricable fusion, and in chronicling this journey of heart, mind and spirit — a journey that took, for whatever blessed and humbling reason, so many others along for the ride. (Brain Pickings)
  • Fellow Christians: I’m Rich and I’m Sorry: Do pastors owe apologies for getting rich? That’s the way we’d prefer to word the question, especially to avoid examining our own stewardship responsibilities. (Hermeneutics)

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Top Posts for October

top fiveWe seem to have finished October when I wasn’t looking. Not quite sure how that happened, but it’s true. So here’s a list of the most popular posts from last month. Enjoy!

A New Page for My Books and Papers

book stacks (300x373)I used to have a page where people could access information about my books and download some of the journal articles and conference papers I’ve written, but for some reason I took it down a while back. I think the plan was just to do some maintenance and then put it back up, but I never got past the maintenance stage. Oops.

Anyway, that page is now available again from the menu at the top of the page, with updated information about my two books and 11 downloadable articles/papers. All of the material on this page is of a more academic nature, so if that’s not what you’re looking for, don’t waste your time. But for those of you who find academic theology interesting, feel free to peruse at your leisure.

I’ll keep this updated as new material becomes available.


Top Posts for September

Wheaton’s Next Theology Conference Is Getting Spirit-ual

Wheaton Theology Conference 2014

Every spring, Wheaton hosts one of the best theology conferences around. And this year should not disappoint: “The Spirit of God: Christian Renewal in the Community of Faith” (April 3-4, 2014). Registration is now open, so make sure you check it out.

“New developments in global Christianity, including the spread of the Pentecostal movement, challenge Christians to renewed attention to the Spirit of God. The 2014 Wheaton Theology Conference examines the person and work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian community and in the world. The conference explores various ways that God’s Spirit searches, teaches, leads, and empowers the community of faith. With special attention to biblical and historical perspectives, the conference develops theological insights to support, educate, challenge, and encourage pastors, teachers, and informed laity.”

As usual, the conference will be bringing together a pretty amazing group of speakers, including people like Timothy George, Geoffrey Wainwright, Oliver Crisp, Michael Welker, and Kevin Vanhoozer, as well as Wheaton’s own Jeffrey Barbeau and Gregory Lee. Check out the entire list of speakers to see who else will be there.

So, if you can free up a couple days in April and want to come join us, please do! It should be a great time.

Start Strong #1: Find Your Sweet Spot

I used to play a lot of tennis. I wasn’t very good, but I could hit the ball. Kind of. Sometimes I’d hit it with the frame of the racket, which usually resulted in the ball careening over the fence and getting lost in the nearby bushes. Or I’d hit it with the strings at the very edge of the racket, spinning the racket in my hand and bouncing the ball straight into in the net. Every now and then, I’d even hit it with the handle of the racket, which is a real accomplishment. But every once in a long while, I’d hit it dead center, flinging the ball back at my opponent with incredible force and just the right amount of spin. For one moment, I’d feel like Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer. I’d found it: the sweet spot.

When you hit the sweet spot, you get things done.

tennis (500x364)

Every student needs a sweet spot: that place where you just get things done. They’re hard to explain and they’re different for everyone. Over the years, I’ve had quite a few: a local diner, a spare bedroom, a coffee shop, and even an airplane. Right now, my sweet spot is my backyard. My wife bought some sweet Adirondack chairs, it’s far enough from the house that I don’t have wifi, so it’s perfect as a distraction-free workplace, and the weather has been fabulous. Of course, that’s not going to work long-term, so I’ll need to come up with something else soon. The point is: sweet spots come in all different flavors. Don’t assume that it’s an office or a library somewhere. If that works for you, terrific. If not, find something else.

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A New “Back to School” Series

back to school academics education teaching teacher teach learning study studying

It’s August. I’m not sure what that means for other people, but to me the beginning of August always represents the end of summer. I know that’s a depressing way of looking at things, but August always brings with it the realization that I only have a few weeks left to get ready for the fall semester. And, since I’ve almost always failed to accomplish what I’d hoped to in June and July, that’s never a happy thought.

Nonetheless, it’s August and it’s time to think about going back to school. So I thought it might be a good time to write a few posts on approaching school successfully. The idea is to highlight some key issues, share a few of my own thoughts, and call for suggestions from other students and teachers. Almost everything about “doing school” (reading, research, writing papers, preparing for exams, etc.) involves a fair amount of personal preference. It’s usually more about “what works for you” than “how you’re supposed to do it,” though I know that often it’s about “What do I need to do to keep Professor X happy?” So I’d love to get a variety of perspectives on each issue.

I’m still working out the details of the series, but here’s what I’m thinking so far:

  • Why everyone should start building a quality research database and how to do that.
  • How to read and take notes efficiently.
  • The most important things to keep in mind when writing a research paper.
  • How to start the school year off well.
  • Some tips on preparing for exams.
  • Why you need to connect with your teachers/professors and how to do that.

If you have any other suggestions for posts to include in the series, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll just look forward to your input on the posts as we go along. And I’ll keep updating this page with links to the various posts in the series. So stay tuned.

Saturday Morning Fun…Old Sayings Updated

I think I will definitely start using “Hell hath no fury like a troll.”

sayings 2.0 (550x707)







Top Posts for July

top5-200x200I spent most of July packing, driving, and getting set up in our new home and my new office. So things were a little quiet around here. But here were the most popular posts of the month anyway. Enjoy!

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