Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Friday, October 19, 2007

Surprised by Theology

Sometimes the best you can hope for at a pastors' conference is a little collegiality (hopefully) among brothers in ministry and a free afternoon to catch up on reading or golf or whatever you do, as well as the satisfaction of knowing you've done your duty as a churchman. But sometimes there is a surprise in store for the theology-hungry pastor. I just returned from the English District Lake Erie Regional Pastors' Conference in Port Clinton, OH. Actually, this is my second regional conference, and the speakers at both have been good. But this year we had Dr. Kenneth E. Bailey, author, speaker, and professor of Middle Eastern New Testament Studies. His lectures were fabulous. I had heard of Dr. Bailey before, but was rather ignorant of his work. Now I'm a big fan. There were several moments in particular where the Holy Scriptures were opened up to me in a new way. Take, for example, the structural connection between the 23rd Psalm, the shepherd prophecies in Jer. 23 and Ez. 43, and the parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15. I can't summarize it all here, but I highly encourage you to check out Bailey's books. I'm not convinced of his every assertion (especially when his Calvinist bias betrays itself... but then again, we should expect a Calvinist to be Calvinist as much as we expect a Lutheran to be Lutheran), but his ability to see the intertextuality of various passages, particularly with regard to the difficult parables of Jesus, are well worth the time and expense of delving into his books. I picked up The Cross and the Prodigal at the conference. I look forward to immersing myself.

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