In my round-up of SBL blogging, I mentioned the comment that was made by Bill Mounce about SBL, of various organizations he mentioned, being the “least friendly to Evangelicals”. My comment was that there is an irony about this, since there are plenty of not only Evangelicals but conservative Evangelicals in SBL, and they present all the time. Yet if one is not the “right sort” of Evangelical, then ETS (for instance) suddenly becomes an unfriendly place. And so I asked what makes SBL “less friendly”. Is it the failure to protect conservatives from questions by those who don’t share their assumptions? Is it the failure to kick out people who do not accept the Bible as Scripture, or do so but understand it in a different way than conservative Evangelicals? It sounds to me much like the sort of statement some American Christians make about the United States as a “hostile environment” when in fact it provides a remarkable degree of freedom of expression, and protection for that freedom, at the price of allowing one’s critics to also have the right to express themselves.
I’ve tried several times to get my point across to Roger Pearse, who posted a “response” to me and Jim West. I’m not sure why my attempts at communication are failing. Perhaps some kind soul can take a look and see whether he is assuming I meant something other than I intended, or whether I’ve failed to understand his point, or whether we’re both talking past one another.