Sarterelli.jpgMonday and Tuesday I was in Akron conversing with, learning from and speaking to some area pastoral leaders who are associated with the wonderful church called The Chapel, right there at the University of Akron. It was fun to see old friends like Jay Halley and Bob Robinson, meet new friends, and again to spend time with Paul Sartarelli (who shares with me a love of Italy, only he comes by it honestly).

They invited me to speak with two groups. First, a group of area leaders about The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible
. I focused on the strategies, overdone and overcooked as they can be at times, that many Bible readers use: narrowing the Bible down to a Lawbook, reducing the Bible to little more than morsels of blessings and promises, projecting onto the Bible our wants and wishes and beliefs (Rorschachers), pretending the Bible is a scattering of puzzle pieces that, once we put together, takes the drama out of the Bible, and finding one author we like and making all the authors fit into that mold: the maestro approach. Then we looked at Mary’s Magnificat — to illustrate each and to learn from each and then to see how reading the Bible as Story uses each of these but goes beyond them. The ideas and questions and responses were fantastic.

That night I got to share dinner with my former student and friend, Jay Halley and his wife Annette. Wonderful time at Bravo! Great conversation, and I was so happy to hear of The Chapel’s work in Mozambique. 

Tuesday we had the whole day together — with those who are planning on preaching Galatians this winter in the Akron area — about Galatians. I was impressed deeply with the quality of questions and the sensitivity of the pastors to the text of Galatians. It is more important to preach Galatians (as it is) than to use Galatians (for what we want). Anyway, we had a good day — discussing all kinds of things about Galatians, including new perspective stuff and how to read Galatians 3:19-25 as the heart of the theology of Galatians and how it all aims at freedom — but what does freedom mean to many today? Etc..
When I get home from such events, I think I’m the lucky one to be with quality people like this. And I’d love to hear Paul Sartarelli preach! Viva Italiana! 
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