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The Greer-Hurd Forum was an outstanding success this years, thanks to all the hard work of Bob Stewart pictured at the far right on the bottom row of this picture.  Excellent papers were presented by Amy Jill Levine from Vandy (on my left), and the dialogue with John Dominic Crossan (on my right in the picture) went very well.  It was respectful and considerate, and even though we strongly disagreed on some things the dialogue Friday night went well.  Further excellent papers were given by Darrell Bock (top row far right), and by Craig Evans (middle of the top row) and by Stephen Patterson the Gospel of Thomas expert (top left).  There were probably 600 or so in attendance, and the quality of both the scholarly dialogue and many of the questions from the audience was high.  And a good time was had by all.   I went to the Yes concert at the House of Blues Thursday night and we went to some fabulous  restaurants almost every night, including my favorite— Brennan’s Palace Cafe which had the painting of New Orleans famous musicians on the upstairs walls. 

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See if you can find my fellow North Carolinian Dizzie Gillespie in the picture above.

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In this picture there are more familiar faces…. Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick Jr.  Dr. John Wynton Marsalis and more.  The crawfish etouffee and the crabmeat quiche and the pecan crusted flounder were out of this world… not to mention the white chocolate bread pudding…. more repenting from such eating is now required.

I preached twice,  once in chapel at New Orleans Baptist Seminary  and once this morning at Edgewater Baptist  Church (which four years ago was Underwater Baptist Church).  New Orleans is making a remarkable comeback, and not just because of the Saints.   I also picked up dollar  bills with Drew Brees’ picture on it—- cause he is MONEY in Nawlins these days.

If there were some important trends in the papers given at this conference they were that history and archaeology and understanding the social context of Jesus matter, matter enormously if you actually want to understand the man.  And it was made clearer than ever that Jesus knew how to both comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.   I will published a draft of my lecture in the next post.

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