Society of Biblical Literature, D.C., and Turkey

Wow! Its been an interesting (and busy) couple weeks for me. Hence my absence from the blogging scene. The girls and I just got home from spending some holiday time in Cincinnati with Sarah’s folks. My parents joined us for Thanksgiving, so it was nice to have everyone from this part of the country together. I even got to talk to my brother via Skype from Baghdad. Unfortunately, Sarah came down with a stomach bug, so after Thursday the weekend was a bit rough for her. She is feeling much better but can still use prayer.

Ok, enough about Turkey Day. Let me tell you about the previous weekend / week. As a student nearing the end of my Seminary time, and feeling a call to further education, I decided to take the advice of my friend Paul Cook, who is currently working toward his PhD at Oxford, and attend this year’s annual meeting of the AAR/SBL (American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Liturature).

Every year these two groups come together to host an event where scholars meet from around to world to network, present papers, network, catch up on current issues in scholarship, network. This year it was hosted at the Washington D.C. Convention Center. Now, I must admit that the whole networking part had me a bit intimidated at first, but I got that ironed out after the first day. More on that later…

I prayed going into the first day of presentations that God would direct me to any lectures he would have me hear, and to guide my conversations with people that I meet. My hope was that I would gain more clarification about where God is leading us following seminary. Though my hope was genuinely felt, I was in no way prepared for the very clear answers that I received.

Through the very first lecture that I sat in on, I found exactly what I want to study, with whom I would like to study (given the choice), and where I would like to do it. Praise be to the God that answers prayer.

I’ll blog more on what those revelations are in another post, once I have processed them more. Aside from this, though, I sat in on some great lectures and some crappy ones. I had my first true, personal encounter with liberal theology. I bought a bunch of books at really low prices. And I met some really cool, famous people (at least in my circles). Some of the notables that I had conversations with are Prof. Walter Moberly (Durham), Prof. James Dunn (Durham), Bishop N.T. Wright (Durham), Prof. Alister McGrath (Oxford), Prof. H.G. Williamson (Oxford), and several others from around the globe. I also ran into quite a few of my own professors, and had a chance to talk with some of them at length.

All in all, this was a great conference and I was blessed by being there. There is much else to talk about, but I’ll save it for other posts. Till then…



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