More Bounce in California image

More Bounce in California

I don't know if this is true or not, but I heard once that a blog, back in the day, was what you did if you were travelling the world, and wanted to keep people posted on what you were up to. Well: I'm off to the US this week, for much the longest trip I've done in years (two weeks), and I thought I'd let you know why.

The main aim of the trip is to go to two biblical studies conferences which are taking place in San Diego: the SBL/AAR annual conference (Society of Biblical Literature / American Academy of Religion), and in the few days before it, the ETS conference (Evangelical Theological Society). I’m presenting a paper at ETS, on whether Paul saw Israel as having been baptised in the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 10:2, and then just heading to SBL as a punter. It’s the definitive event of its kind in the world, and I cannot wait to be amongst all those papers, seminars, scholars, books ... Mmmm, scholarship.

A few sessions I’m particularly looking forward to. At ETS, there’s a panel on evangelicalism and sexuality with some of my favourite thinkers on the subject (Preston Sprinkle, Wesley Hill, Owen Strachan and Denny Burk), a paper from Greg Beale on the significance of the eschatological tribulation for our understanding of eldership, a plenary session from Miroslav Volf, and of course the Pauline Studies seminar, hosted by Linda Belleville and featuring papers from David Starling and others, including me. Before SBL begins, there’s an epic-looking session on “Paul and the Apocalyptic Imagination” with Doug Campbell, Tom Wright, Beverley Gaventa, John Barclay, Michael Gorman - well, basically, everyone. I’m also planning to head to sessions on the extent of theological diversity in early Christianity (S22-121), the interweaving of Scripture in 1 Corinthians (S23-147), Pauline Soteriology (S24-236a), and John, Jesus and History (S25-125). When I have a spare minute, I’m excited about meeting a few thinkers and writers I’ve corresponded with a lot but never met (Scot McKnight, Justin Taylor, Denny Burk), and spending some time with my friends Derek Rishmawy and Matt Anderson.

Before all this, I’m heading to Kenosha, WI, to spend some time with Living Light Church and my friends John and Kim Lalgee, and then going via San Francisco to Visalia, CA, to meet Travis and Tiff Aicklen and get to know the guys at Radiant Church, which is one of the newest additions to the Newfrontiers family in the USA. (Strangely enough, the only subject I’ll be speaking on at the latter is hell. For some reason.) I imagine, given the time of year and the weather, I’ll even get some time to see some big trees (Sequoia National Park), some beaches (Orange County), and San Francisco, which I’m told is one of the greatest cities around. But I’ve deliberately mentioned that last, because otherwise it will sound for all the world like a jolly. As if.

I imagine I’ll write about the whole thing, so this may not be the last you’ve heard of it. And then I imagine Matt Hosier will then write a parody of my writing about the whole thing - even though both my doing a PhD in the first place, and my heading to Visalia, are basically his fault. You heard it here first.

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