Samford and the Dotson-Nelson Lectures

Last week I was honored to give the Dotson-Nelson lectures at Samford University in Birmingham, and I can’t thank Matt Kerlin enough for the time I had at Samford’s beautiful Colonial Georgian architecture. But it got started with breakfast — with our good friend’s son, Owen Wagoner and his buddy Jay, and they took me out for some good oatmeal pancakes. Owen’s the son of Scott and Sarah, and Scott was one of my first students at TEDS (way back when) and we have remained friends all these years. Owen’s a top-notch pole vaulter … so a good start.

Lectureships are important and if your school is fortunate enough to have a lectureship, attend the lectures. We were fortunate at North Park to have the Zarley lectures. I told the students one of the most influential ideas and events for me in college — back at Cornerstone University — was when our philosophers brought in George Mavrodes and he gave a lecture on how people change their mind. It was stretching, beyond what I had studied, but he had a potent idea — relationships with people we trust are most influential in mind-changing — that has never left me. Which makes me ask this:

What lectures have most influenced you over your life? Has any one lecture, or set of lectures, influenced your journey?

The Nelson-Dotson — and we had a luncheon with a kind donor and her friend — lectures involve a morning convocation — and I was asked to do a variant on the King Jesus gospel proposals, so I added some stuff and told some stories, and it went very well. We had some good questions from students after the session and then our luncheon, where I got to sit with the ministry folks and the Religion and Philosophy Dept chair, and then an afternoon lecture on the Ethics of Jesus. In that session I suggested that virtue ethics, while one way Christians have gathered up Christian ethics, isn’t adequate for describing Jesus’ ethics in his Jewish context. This lecture was rooted in my commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, which has an introduction on the ethics of Jesus.

One of the highlights was a short tour through the campus, including a short spell in the amazing Hodges chapel at Beeson Divinity School.

Again, a wonderful time for me and an engaging time with an active and informed set of students. Thanks Matt … and Samford!

"Yes, and it is worth reading other entries and comments on Throckmorton's new blog site ..."

Weekly Meanderings, 26 May 2018
"Absolutely. I totally meant my words in the communal sense; thanks for making the distinction. ..."

Pastor As Midwife (Mike Glenn)
"Jesus, of course, is the starting point for our vision of church. But the church ..."

Pastor As Midwife (Mike Glenn)
"Hooray for bird poop and observant detectives! Well done."

Weekly Meanderings, 26 May 2018

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tim

    What a charmed life you live.

  • “What lectures have most influenced you over your life? Has any one lecture, or set of lectures, influenced your journey?”

    Funny you should raise this. It wasn’t so much a lecture but more like a 1.5 hour sermon delivered by Tom Skinner at the Christian Community Development Association meeting I attended in 1993. Every couple of years I pull it out and listen to it again. Skinner lays out his case for Christian community and economic development. (For those who don’t know, Skinner was a Black pastor in Harlem. He died much too young in the late 1990s.) I listened to it again while on my morning walks about a month ago and I got inspired to do a blog series about the sermon. I hope to begin later in the month. Here is a transcript of his opening statement. Sound at all familiar?

    “God is building a kingdom. God is building a kingdom. And the word kingdom has built in it two very significant words: “king” “dom.” D-o-m, short for dominion. King dominion. The very nature of a dominion suggests that there is someone who is presiding over it. The presence of a king suggests that there is a domain over which this king is presiding. And that the “kingdom” over which the “king” is presiding has some subjects; people who have decided to bow before him, and worship him, and acknowledge him as the king, which is why the scripture is so full of worship. It is a group of people who because they have decided to swear their allegiance to this king, and to abandon all that they are and all that they have to him, submit themselves to him, and they form by virtue of their allegiance to him, a relationship with one another that is thicker than blood brother and sister. That God intended that this kingdom be a family.

    There is a lot of myth and illusion about the Kingdom. …”

    I don’t subscribe to everything Skinner says in his remarks but it is such an important framing that I come back to it over and over again.

  • Steve

    The Pepperdine Bible Lectures–wonderful thinkers and committed brothers and sisters who come to Malibu from all over the world to share their knowledge and experiences.

  • jehu limma

    Can anyone suggest some best lectures to listen and be edified?

  • jehu limma

    I think brother Scot, can you suggest?

  • My oldest friend, Ken Roxburgh (Head of Dept Religion), told me how much he enjoyed your visit. Hope the lectures become more widely available.

  • I read Alister McGrath’s Bampton Lectures, published as The Nature of Doctrine. It was part of the impetus for my research and writing in that area.

  • Chris Jones

    While I was a student at Regent College (Vancouver, BC), Richard Hays delivered the 1998 Staley Lectures entitled “Hearing the Bible in the Church”. These lectures ‘converted’ me from a hardcore Calvinist to an Anabaptist.