Well, my time here at Claremont is just about up. I’m sitting in Mudd Auditorium, listening to the second of two public panels. Here are my reflections, looking back on the last three days.
First, I have to note that I felt somewhat out of place. In general, I think that I can hold my own academically with people who teach at places like Harvard, Vanderbilt, University of Chicago, Yale, and Claremont. But the longer that I’m out of the academy proper, the stranger I feel when I’m surrounded by academic theologians. And these are academic theologians. In fact, I was the only conferee without an institutional affiliation — my nametag said “emergent church” under my name.
Second, this liberalism unfamiliar territory for me. I grew up in the mainline church, but it was in the Midwest. So we were mainline Congregationalists, but I don’t think that we could have been classified as “liberals” per se. Now, of course, the theologians at this event were at different points along the spectrum. But I guess in general I have rubbed academic shoulders with more center-right folks in the past.