What did I think of the conference this year? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
So the reason there wasn’t a blog last week is that I was at ETS and way too busy to do a blog. ETS is the Evangelical Theological Society and they have a meeting every year. This year, it was held in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This was the second time I had ever gone to ETS and the first time I had gone to Texas.
So at the start, what I saw of Texas, I loved. The people were really nice and the layout of the area I was in was beautiful. I could walk down the streets and feel very safe and there was not really a lot of traffic either. If things in our country get really bad, I wouldn’t mind moving to Texas someday.
On a historical note, the hotel we stayed at was also the last place JFK stayed at before he was assassinated. The area of the convention also used to be known at the start of the last century as Hell’s Half-Acre. It was called such because there were several businesses allowed to run that shouldn’t have, but they supported the economy so the law was more lenient. Gamblers like Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp came through, but so did villains like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and it was referred to as a Den of Sin. Now here we are over a century later and evangelicals have redeemed it for a conference.
Also, when I said we stayed at a hotel, I shared a room with Mike Licona. My former father-in-law thought it would also send a good message to the society that there’s no bad blood between us. We got along well, although we did have to get used to him being an early bird and my being a night owl, but we managed to adapt well and I slept fine through the night.
Now a benefit of ETS is certainly getting to hear great talks. I really liked one I heard on the resurrection and does the body keep score. Could we have disabilities still have the resurrection? Will we remember the evils that we went through in this life? That might be a theoretical question for some of you, but for someone like myself on the spectrum, it isn’t. If anything, I would hope I can keep some of my Aspie traits even in a new and glorified body. I also went to a panel discussion Mike was part of on the minimal facts and talks on Aquinas and on Muslim relations and one on if Christ knew He was impeccable.
The bookstore is also a great place to go there as many books are there and on sale. I also had a good friend of Deeper Waters who showed up and told me to go to the bookstore and buy what I wanted. Even then, I tried to not get a whole lot. I didn’t want to take advantage. He also provided to have them FedExed back to my house and they were waiting when I got here.
That brings me to the best thing about ETS. The people. I found it easy to interact in the crowds of others and to chat. Many of my Aspie traits were just not as relevant then as they normally are. There were plenty of people on a humorous note who came up to me and told me that they affirm the virgin birth, which I do affirm, and several have started saying that. On a more personal note, many people also came up to me and told me they were praying for me and sorry about all that I went through with the divorce and am going through. Two of them prayed right there with me.
Every day was a blessing to be there and when Thursday night came that matters were wrapping up, I started to have the sadness come to me. It’s like the letdown you have when you’re a kid and you wait for Christmas so eagerly and after it’s gone, you miss that time. I really do. Saturday when I was back here in Tennessee and back at work, I was already hating it again. It’s again why I would love to be doing the kinds of things I was doing at that conference full-time. (Although, Shiro has had a talk with me about how he never wants to see me leave for that long ever again)
Now as for the people, I know I will leave some out, but I remember being at the bookstore and seeing Mike Winger and getting to talk to him about how much I appreciated his video series on divorce. Bob Stewart and I had several interactions and I always told him how handsome he is. I don’t remember how that joke got started, but I remember Mike sharing it with me and I don’t forget a joke.
Ed Komoszewski and Rob Bowman and I had several interactions. Ed and I have talked multiple times together about the divorce. It was also good to meet Sam Shamoun and I ran into David Wood and Tim Stratton. Speaking of Tim, Tim McGrew and I met one time and he greeted me with a big hug, one of few people I would allow to do that without reservation. I also had some time with Paul Copan. On the plane to Dallas/Fort Worth, I sat next to Christian Cuthbert who I had never heard of before but saw he had a theological book and asked if he was going to ETS. He’s a scholar on Jonathan Edwards so I pried him with several questions before our plane took off. Matt Jenson gave the talk on the resurrection body and he and I and a couple of others went to lunch together after to talk about it and to affirm the virgin birth, which I do affirm. I also saw Craig Blomberg, Ken Wolgemuth, Hugh Ross, Greg Koukl, Brett Kunkle, and got to meet others like Robert Plummer, Bill Mounce, and Jonathan Pennington. I am sure I left some people out. Please don’t take offense at that if you were one.
Next year it will be in Denver with the theme of holiness. I am planning on submitting a paper on divorce and the spectrum. Why don’t you consider coming to? It would be great to meet you as well.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)