- The Diet From God: The Daniel fast is growing in popularity, often prompted by Christians’ desire for a deeper form of prayer. Many are reporting lasting physical benefits, too. (The Atlantic)
- 5 Reasons I’m Glad I Was Raised Evangelical: For those of us who wrestle at times with the religious traditions with which we were raised, I think it’s important to remember from time to time the gifts those traditions gave us. These are just a few that come to my mind. (Rachel Held Evans)
- How clutter affects your productivity (and what you can do about it): The last year has been the most productive of my life and I owe a lot of it to understanding the importance of decreasing how much I consume and coming up with ways to cut clutter. (The Next Web)
- Brainwashed: Neuroscience vs neurobollocks: a smart and sometimes devastating critique of “neurobollocks” — the propensity for using brain-science (and, particularly, brain imaging) to reductively explain human motivation. (Boing Boing)
I am very pleased to say that Wheaton’s doctoral students and faculty were well represented at this year’s Bible/theology conferences. It’s exciting to see the breadth of research and writing going on here, especially when you know that this is only a small sampling of what everyone is doing.
The doctoral students in particular did an outstanding job with 9 students presenting 10 papers over a wide range of biblical and theological topics. And the faculty were similarly well represented with 17 faculty presenting 19 papers.
I have listed the various presenters and papers below. Given that this list includes 29 papers and 4 moderated sessions extending over 8 days and 3 conferences, it’s entirely possible that I’ve missed something. So let me know if anything is missing or incorrect.
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 Inerrancy–with 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.
- 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)
- What crisis in the humanities? Interactive Historical Data on College Majors: Clearly we should be doing more to counter the perception that the humanities—and by extension, the liberal arts—are in crisis mode. My own experience in the classroom doesn’t support this notion, and neither does the data. (Sample Reality)
- 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.