My sweet husband was up before 6:00 a.m. this morning, shoveling the driveway and cleaning off my car. After that I drove through some truly awful weather to get to Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Webster Groves. I’m not a particularly confident winter driver, and I was praying the entire trip. By the time I arrived at the church my entire body was humming with stress. And it was worth every bit of it. I was at the church to attend the Trinity Institute Conference, Reading Scripture Through Other Eyes. Emmanuel was the only satellite site in Missouri for the conference, which is also taking place tomorrow. Today we listened to talks by Walter Brueggemann (“Where Is the Scribe?”) and Teresa Okure, SHCJ (“What is Truth?”). After each talk we broke out into small groups and reflected on what we’d just heard. What a perfect way to spend the day!
A couple of highlights from Brueggemann:
1) “The Bible is more interesting than books about the Bible.” (Sharon – remember this!)
2) The biblical texts are “thick, layered and conflicted”. And so are we, as human beings. We should refuse the temptation to try to “thin” scriptures – to look for closure when we approach the Bible. When it comes to scripture, “there is always more work to be done, and the texts are worthy of a lifetime of study.”
I really enjoyed Teresa Okure! She was very Jesus-centered. In fact, she defined the gospel itself as the person of Christ. She cautioned us against “using cultural frames to theologize with”, giving as examples the influence of the feudal system on Anselm’s theology of atonement, and the influence on Aquinas of Aristotle’s view of women. This question that Okure gave us seems a a healthy self-examination for every church and every Christian: “To what extent have we made the love of Christ the organizing principle of our theology?”
The small group time was just as rich as listening to the speakers, and by the end of the day I felt I had several very interesting new friends. Looking forward to day two tomorrow….