It would take some time to tell the story, but participating in a seminar led by Grant Lovejoy on narrative communication at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary led to my introduction to Walsh and Middleton’s, Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be. The event was the now no longer, Scholar’s In Ministry Week. Those with graduate degrees were invited for extended times of learning and interaction.
A few years later I took an online course with Grant titled Chronological Bible Storying and was introduced to N.T. Wright’s, The New Testament and the People of God. There were other texts, but this one is worth noting.
Eager to continue learning, I responded to an invitation to participate in a new learning community. Spencer Burke, who founded theooze.com, extended the invitation. One of the learning opportunities was to attend and participate in Soularize held in Minneapolis in 2002.
I first met Joe Myers in Minneapolis. Mark Riddle too. In fact, we went to dinner one evening at what was considered a very good ethnic restaurant. We tried to eat the food. Really we did. Others raved about it. Joe sat there. Non-plussed. When it came time for the check we discovered Joe had paid for everyone’s meal at our table. We thanked him. He noted that no one should have to pay for “that.”
Over the years I have met more people who love Jesus and at the same time inhabit the edge of some group or spectrum in the very big tree that is Christianity. And, along the way they be-friended one who hails from a tribe that regularly sees as one of its callings to point out just where everyone else is wrong. These are my friends. We may disagree at points along the theological lines, but they are my friends. On occasion, a few conversations breathed life back into my soul.
Congratulations to my friends who will celebrate Soularize at 10 in October.