This weekend I attended a conference at Lipscomb University on Reclaiming the Imagination and the focus was on Wisdom, wisdom literature in the Bible, and preaching. It was the best conference I’ve attended ever. I don’t know exactly why, but maybe because:
1. It was fun.
2. It was with some top level thinkers, pastors, and Bible people.
3. I have a steep learning curve on Wisdom literature since my career has focused more on the narrative portions of the Bible and the epistles, not to mention that the general approach to reading the Bible has always been on redemptive history — and these factors combine to give little voice to Wisdom. So, I learned a ton. My lectures on wisdom have just been enhanced.
4. The preaching of Tom Long and the worship with the others gave everything a dimension that I don’t find at most conferences.
So, what occurred?
We had presentations on wisdom — Tremper Longman gave the big picture, Glenn Pemberton from Abilene Christian gave a wonderful sketch of the strategies used by the author of Proverbs to get folks to be more wise, I gave a paper on how James was himself wise in being “receptively reverent” of the Wise before him, most notably Jesus, and then David Bland gave a presentation on the flow of maturation in the Proverbs from Proverbs 1 to Proverbs 31. He was incredibly armed with all kinds of witty proverbs. (These papers and sermons with them will be published by Abilene Christian University Press next September.)
And through this Tom Long both preached and talked about preaching Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and Job — and we wanted an encore on preaching Song of Songs, but we all got our money’s worth from Tom. I’m committed to reading some of his books, and I’ll be mentioning them down the road.
And Richard Ward, from Iliff, “performed” Wisdom texts and the whole book of James — and he was so good. And we had panels with questions from the floor … any preacher who wanted to learn about preaching wisdom got more than he or she would ever need.
And conversations with pastors between sessions and meeting folks …
But I can’t forget Tokens. What a hoot. Lee Camp, famous for his book on discipleship, has it within him to organize a kind of Prairie Home Companion, but it’s Southern and it’s theological and it’s filled with music — some incredible music and I got to be right next to them on stage — and skits and there was this fellow called “Brother Preacher” who was perhaps the funniest imitator of odd preaching I’ve ever seen. It was knee-slappin’ fun and Kris and I are going to see if we can’t get down to Nashville the next time they have Tokens. It’s that fun.
Not to mention the wonderful people — seeing George Goldman for more than a “Hello how are you?” and meeting David Fleer and David Bland, and the other papers and Tom Long, and seeing my old friend — we’ve been at this for a long time — Tremper Longman, and Greg Daniel (my agent) who came to Tokens, as did Bob Smietana, who talked me into blogging the first time — and did I mention Tokens? Wow, what fun.
Great hospitality and it was wonderful to see David Lipscomb University after hearing about it all these years — but I didn’t see Kenny Perry, the golfer who has been so generous to Lipscomb.