I've been "participating" in the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature for the last few days (a.k.a., just listening to others read their papers, browsing books, and eating meals with friends). Atlanta has been wonderful. I've heard of "southern hospitality" prior to this trip, but I've never experienced it in quite this way until now.
I've had some good food, especially the Waffle House, to which I will return one more time this morning. I've seen friends, new and old, and too many to mention here. And this year I bought some books and received a few freebies as well!
On Thursday when I arrived I went to Ebenezer Baptist Church, the King Center, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site. That was enlightening, challenging, and moving. I took a few pictures that I've shared on Instagram and I'll put a few more on Facebook.
Friday evening I went to a panel discussing Jack Levison's Inspired: The Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith. Overall it was a cordial and insightful discussion in spite of one person who came across as having an axe to grind. Jack did a fine job responding to all the panelist.
On Saturday morning I attended a session on the historical Jesus, the highlight of which was Michael Barber's paper "Did Jesus Expect to Die? A Test Case in Allison's Methodology and a Response to His Critics" (Allison = Dale C. Allison, Jr.). In the afternoon I went to a session on Markan Christology. The papers had been given to members of the session beforehand, so the readers only gave summaries, but they were still good. My friends Michael Kok and Daniel Kirk both participated and both did a fine job.
Yesterday I went to the final blogging and online publication session, ever. Rick Brannan and Christian Brady gave presentations on how their blogs have melded with their scholarship then it ended with a panel that included Bart D. Ehrman, Wil Gafney, and Lawrence Schiffman. Ehrman blogs to raise money for charity, but doesn't love doing it. Schiffman's blog is ran by his daughter as a way of educating the public, but he doesn't love doing it. Wil Gafney was more positive about blogging, and the most insightful, as she opened our eyes wider to the real dangers women and people of color—and especially women of color—face in the blogosphere and social media. Sadly, almost to prove her point, a man was present who had harassed her on Twitter and whom she had blocked and he kinda, sorta confronted her during the ensuing Q&A, even saying she lacked "tough skin" which went on to prove her point for everyone. He came just because he saw her name listed! It was terrible. Fwiw, all the panelists ended by saying you shouldn't blog until you get tenure. Oops? (Not that I've ever foreseen myself getting tenure anywhere.)
That afternoon I went to a combined Luke-Acts session where the subject was ethnicity and how it impacts our interpretation, both ethnicity in the texts and the interpreter's ethnicity. Gay Byron, Carl Holladay, and Matthew Thiessen all gave very insightful papers and Eric Barreto gave a fine response before I had to leave for the "blogger's dinner". So overall the trip has been low-key, but fun, and I still have all of today and tomorrow morning as well.