Two Great Societies: Jonathan Edwards and Pastor-theologians

It’s been uncomfortably quiet at this humble little blog.  This is due in large part to a friend of mine who goes by the name “dissertation.”  He’s very needy; I’m hoping soon to part company with him.

At any rate, I thought I’d share a bit about some upcoming events that you may be interested in.  The first is the annual gathering of the Jonathan Edwards Society in Northampton, Massachusetts.  Some of you out there don’t care about Edwards.  That’s fine.  We can still be friends (kind of).  Others, however, share an interest in America’s greatest theologian.  In fact, that interest borders on affection, perhaps even reverence.  I’ll go out on a historiographical limb and say that there is perhaps no one person from the eighteenth-century who draws more interest in America than Jonathan Edwards.  Perhaps Ben Franklin?  Well, the Ben Franklin society is a “giving club” at Penn.

The JES is a giving society too, but we give papers, not money.  I’m looking forward to this event held from October 6-9, 2011, just two weeks away.  If you’re so inclined, drop by and hear a number of papers on topics related to Edwards (here’s my abstract), including submissions from Collin Hansen, Wes Pastor, and Chris Chun.  Some papers, I think, will be staunchly evangelical, others more theologically progressive.  I anticipate a vital debate, even as I look forward to visiting the home of the theologian who has had the deepest impact on me.

Another society that I’m a part of is the Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology (SAET), which meets from October 9-11 in Oak Park, Illinois.  I’ve mentioned the SAET on this blog before; it’s getting a great deal of attention these days as interest in the pastor-theologian model spreads.  At the SAET, we’ll discuss James Davison Hunter’s rich monograph To Change the World (Oxford, 2010).  We’ll think together about how the book’s discussion of cultural transformation relates to evangelical and pastoral life.  Led with excellence by Todd Wilson and Gerald Hiestand, this will be a rich event.

Participants in the SAET First Fellowship this year include fellows Greg Thompson of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia; Jay Thomas of Chapel Hill Bible Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; John Yates the Younger of Holy Trinity Church in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Preston Sprinkle of Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley, California.  This group of evangelical pastors and theologians is diverse, God-driven, and high-powered.

If you’re so inclined, visit the websites of the JES and the SAET.  Perhaps some out there will be interested in joining up with these needful organizations.

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