The first day of SBL conference in Boston, and Lace and I are getting the feel of the land. We had to learn the commuter rail system and the T subway. Most the meetings are closed. We are staying with friends from in West Chester and had our first great adventure with Boston’s Mass transit. Both the commuter train and the T subway broke down and it took us 2 hours to get to the Hynes Convention center. I have been reading the Desert Fathers. I have been inspired to be aware of others as a spiritual practice. Searching for the Face of Jesus in everyone I engage. I have been surprised as to how helpful people have been. Does it have to do with my practice searching for Jesus? I am uncertain, though I am inclined to say no. I have only been to Boston only in passing and have found the people friendly. What I have noticed is how much I have to work in myself in the practice. To search for Jesus in the face of others reveals how unkind I am. I see the search for love that we all are engaged in. I wonder if longing shapes us as human being. What we long for defines us.
It is interesting to be here as the markets still are crashing. SBL is center ground of academic theology, and the question for me is does academic theology have questions that can help us illuminate the crisis we face today. I am inclined to say yes, if we can bridge the some of the insightful mediations with the current modern thinking. We do have to figure out how to get out of our own ways as theologians. We limit conversation by defining it within specialties and surrounding it with terminology. If theology is to matter, it must widen the conversation. It has to find simpler language to convey the complexity.