Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Wisdom and Preaching Wisdom

DavLip.jpgThis 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.
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posted October 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Thanks for the ringing endorsement of the Conference on Preaching and Tokens. Of course, your contributions to both helped to make it one of the best that I have ever attended, as well. Keeping us informed of the Yankees and Angels score during the panel discussion on Friday night was servanthood at its best. And you are right, Tokens was a hoot. My wife and I have attended all of the shows so far, and this one ranks among the best. I’ll look for you and Kris in January. Blessings,

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derek Leman

posted October 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Great report. Wish I had known about the conference. I might have come. I know I can’t focus on all the Biblical literature, but I have had a long love affair with wisdom lit. I have a book on Proverbs and I teach on Ecclesiastes every year at Sukkot (Tabernacles). I also have written on Job (though my work mostly got subsumed by another writer and not used).
I love this idea of Proverbs developing. If there is a way to get that paper, I’d jump on it faster than a Southern preacher on an invite for a potluck supper.

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Scot McKnight

posted October 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Derek, all the papers, along with some sermons, will be published and be available next Fall about this time. I’ll mention it when it comes out.

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Keith Clark

posted October 20, 2009 at 10:56 pm

The conference was the best I’ve ever attended as well. What a joy it was to feel a sense of camaraderie among all the presenters and participants. To witness the enthusiasm each of you presenters exhibited for listening to the others’ presentations was inspiring and worthy of imitation. Finally, it was wonderful to witness each of you in dialogue with one another and with those of us in attendance as together we explored the pastoral implications of the theological feast we received from the presentations. Thanks for using your God-given gifts to bless us all!

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Greg Daniel

posted October 21, 2009 at 12:35 am

Great to see you at the Tokens show, Scot. I’m thrilled to hear that you and Kris may come to the next one. Best bang for the buck in Nashville.

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Jennifer Taylor

posted October 21, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Hugely enjoyed your comments at Tokens and plan to read your book on Mary as part of my walk toward Christmas. Glad you got to experience the joy that is Tokens–they just keep getting better. BTW “Brother Preacher” is doing a show 10/29 at Lipscomb–come back for it and I’ll save you and Kris some seats. :)

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Keith Price

posted October 22, 2009 at 11:44 am

I’m so glad you enjoyed the seminar. David Fleer was at Rochester College before he moved to Lipscomb. It was at Rochester that the sermon seminar had it’s beginning. Many of the previous seminars were published by ACU Press and Chalice Press and are still available. I was able to attend all the seminars when they were held at Rochester College. I’ll have to try and get down to Lipscomb.

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