Today, I was a humble guest at an impressive lunch with three theological heavyweights: Tim Hartman, Mike Gorman, and Steve Fowl (for the record, my comments about their mass are metaphorical: the three of them are quite trim, and each ate a modest lunch). We were gathering so that Tim and I could be a bridge for these two scholars as they prepare for the Reclaiming Paul Conference later this month. It was fascinating to hear their thoughts on Pauline theology (neither one aligns himself with the now-popular New Perspective, instead espousing a more narrative theology, ala their mentor Richard Hays), and to get my brain spinning about some interesting meta-issues of Paul’s awareness of Jesus’ teachings and particularly of his understanding of ‘Kingdom’. Plus, they are both quite friendly and engaging guys. So I’m even more excited than before to get to KC and eat some BBQ and hang with friends new and old and to have my mind expanded. It’s gonna be good.
The amusing part of the meeting began when one of the scholars produced a scrap of note paper, which I imagined was for particularly scintillating insights or quotable comments. After which point I noticed that when Tim said something, the pen was invariably put to paper. When it was my turn again, my input was met with engagement and further discussion, but no scribbling. Until Tim said something else, at which point the head went down and the pen started moving and silence ensued. So I’d try again, to find only agreement and engagement. And so on. I guess I need to hang out with Tim more often, and poach some of his good material for myself.