Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Louder than a Bomb: Ground Zero for a Pastoral Theology

From February 13-March 13, 2016, the family and I were on pins & needles watching my oldest son Zach Lee (stage name: exzachlee; pronounced "exactly") compete in Chicago's annual poetry slam Louder than a Bomb sponsored by Young Chicago Authors.  Zach is co-captain of Whitney Young High School's slam poetry team and this year, he and the team went further than they ever have, moving from the preliminaries to the quarterfinals in the group competition, and Zach reaching the semi-finals in the individual ("Indy") bouts. 
   For those who follow me on twitter, I have been tracking #LTAB2016 and posting photos, videos and commentary on some of the poems I have heard and seen performed by some very talented young men and women with lyrical skill and cadence. As I shared in my tweets, LTAB is ground zero for voicing the angst, frustrations, and passions of urban youth. Among the poems recited, I heard from those who were hurt over dysfunctional relationships with mothers, fathers, step-parents, and grandparents. Others shared their frustrations with cheating boyfriends, or their anger over racial prejudice and the violence of their neighborhoods, and exasperation over the cultural slurs people fling at one another in ignorance and sometimes fear. As I heard one poem after another, some with an artistry and rhythm that shined with poetic brilliance, I was struck by how well each performance articulated and described the brokenness of our sinful world. 
    What was missing was hope. The strength of LTAB is how the artists express with truthful candor the ugliness of life and how wickedly people can act. But it was hard to see a glimmer of light in the midst of such darkness, nor find a redemptive moment in the midst of anguish and pain. 
    Zach, to his credit, wanted to share a poem which spoke to hope and redemption even in the face of hardship. His piece focused on what good word the Bible has to share in the pit of human struggle. He did not make it to the finals, but below is the video of his semi-finals performance held at the Metro theatre on the north side of Chicago. I hope you are encouraged and blessed by his witness.

Many thanks, by the way, to Park Community Church who posted this video clip on their youtube channel. Soli Deo gloria!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Glorious! Christ Is Risen, Risen Indeed!

Founded in 1890, the  École biblique is the French School of Archaeology
located a quarter of a mile away from the walls of old Jersualem, Israel
Photo credit: google images
Blessings on this glorious Easter Sunday! Soon, I will be leaving for Israel to begin post-doctoral studies at the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem for the entire month of April. If I don't get totally enamored by the sites of old Jerusalem, I will try to post on my adventures in the holy city (daily, weekly, randomly?... no promises here) on the blog. The École biblique happens to located right across the street from the Garden Tomb, one of two possible sites for where Jesus was buried. 
The Garden Tomb, the alternative location for the burial of Jesus
beyond the traditional site at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons © 2008
Roughly within a two-mile, well-within-walking-distance radius are the Temple Mount, the tower of David, the church of the Holy Sepulchre, and a dozen of other historic and archaeological sites. I'm planning on using the mornings to explore the old Jerusalem and leave the afternoons, evenings, and late nights to intensive study, research and writing. I'll have to be disciplined to keep on my writing schedule and not get lost in the sites and beauty of Jerusalem and beyond.
    Interesting enough, the campus of the École biblique has its own rich history. It is located within St. Stephen's monastery of the Dominican order, which was rededicated in 1900 over the remains of the much older Byzantine church built by Empress Eudocia in the 5th century A.D. to house the relics of St. Stephen. 
Statue of St. Stephen (1st Christian martyr of Acts 6:8-8:2) in the atrium
of the Dominican monastery and home to the École biblique

Photo credit: google images
I will be living on campus, have 24-hour library access, and employ to the best of my ability the resources of this first-class research facility. I'm also very much looking forward to the meal times for conversation with other scholars and the Dominican residents. I'm sure I'll learn much from them!
   On this Easter Sunday, I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 6:14: "By his power, God raised the Lord and will also raise us." May the power of God which raised his Son two-thousand years ago, and with His resurrection, crushed sin's grip on our world and death's reign, strengthen your witness to, service for, and life in Christ this day until the Lord himself calls us to our own resurrection. Amen!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Exploring Intertextuality: A Book Review Panel at AAR-SBL 2016

Panel Review of Exploring Intertexuality for AAR-SBL 2016
in San Antonio, Texas, this November 2016
I'm excited to announce a plenary session of the Intertextuality in the New Testament (INIT) Section at this year's AAR-SBL conference in San Antonio. The Intertextuality Section has three sessions this year, the first of which is described below.
    Over the years, the section has had a fair number of presenters with excellent papers exploring a diverse range of methodologies in intertextuality. A select number of these papers plus some invited essays have been published together in one volume, edited by B.J. Oropeza (formerly chair of the INIT) and Stephen Moyise. 
    I and Erik Waaler, current co-chairs, have organized a book review panel for the book, which will be published under the Cascade imprint of Wipf & Stock Publishers sometime after the summer 2016. The off-prints are currently being reviewed, and I've included an unofficial title page below: 
Available from Cascade Books sometime in Summer/Fall 2016
    There are 17 essays in total, each reflecting either a well-established methodological approach to intertextuality (e.g. metalepsis, rhetorical readings) or new and avant-garde models (e.g., hypertexts, relevance theory). We could not possibly cover every essay. Instead, we elected to pick four representative essays that cover a good range of approaches to intertextuality in New Testament interpretation. We asked the authors to give a short 10 min. summary of their work, highlighting key tenets of their use of intertextuality to interpret the biblical texts. We then gave greater time to the respondents, each an expert in his or her field, well-qualified to give a robust and critical response to each essay. There is also a planned open Q&A for the last 25 min. 
     Here is the programmed panel review (tentative schedule, subject to minor change if any) below, and I must say, we are fortunate to have quite a line-up of who's who in New Testament studies participating in the panel. I'm very excited how this panel came together and look forward to both the presentations and what is sure to be a dynamic dialogue and debate afterwards. Be sure to join us for this session if you are there in San Antonio come this November 2016. 

Intertextuality in the New Testament 
Theme: Exploring Intertextuality: Diverse Strategies for New Testament Interpretation of Texts

Presider: Max Lee, North Park Theological Seminary

Introduction (5 min): Erik Waaler and B.J. Oropeza

1) Metalepsis: The Intersection of Two Stories (10 min)
by Jeannine Brown, Bethel Seminary

Respondent: Nicholas Perrin, Wheaton College and Graduate School (20 min)

2) Midrashic Interpretation of Scripture  (10 min)
by B.J. Oropeza, Azusa Pacific University, and Lori Baron, Duke Divinity School

Respondent: Craig Keener, Ashbury Theological Seminary (20 min)

3) Mimesis (10 min)
by Dennis MacDonald, Claremont School of Theology

Respondent: Karl Olav Sandnes, Norwegian School of Theology (20 min)

4) Multidimensional Intertextuality (10 min)
by Erik Waaler, NLA University College

Respondent: Stanley Porter, McMaster Divinity College (20 min)

5) Panel Discussion and Questions from the Floor (25 min)