As some of you know, the Evangelical Theological Society met last week in New Orleans, Louisiana. I was able to go, and I had some thoughts on “highlights” of the experience (what is it with Americans and highlights, anyway?).
1. Russ Moore gave a fun and informative tour on the literary culture of New Orleans. It was engrossing. I haven’t seen any material from it on Moore’s blog (have I missed something, Robbie?), but if footage turns up from the tour, check it out. I don’t know about you, but I love learning about literature from theologians. Doesn’t get much better than that. How about a book, Dr. Moore?
Moore brought out the darkness of New Orleans in his hourlong stroll through the French Quarter. At one point, he talked about how New Orleans loves a good rogue; at another, he discussed the way area residents interact with the devil. To paraphrase, in some places in the world, people act like the devil doesn’t exist–they keep him at arm’s length; in New Orleans, they throw their arm around his shoulder. It’s a dark and needy place.
2. Because of this reality, it was encouraging to talk with James Welch, a pastor in New Orleans and an SBTS alum. James is a great guy with a heart for the gospel and a comprehensive grasp on all things Nola. We talked Lil Wayne, Bourbon Street, and miraculous conversion. Thoroughly encouraging. If you can, pray for Sojourn Lakeview and their ministry to the city.
3. The city itself is working hard to continue the post-Katrina recovery, but from what I could see, it’s hard going. There weren’t many people around.
4. I had the privilege of meeting Dave Doran, who I interacted with on this blog some months ago. He is president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and the pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church, and he’s a very kind and gracious man. As we know, Detroit, like New Orleans, is hard-hit these days. Let’s pray for the church and seminary Dave leads, asking God’s rich blessing on their promotion and defense of the gospel.
5. As readers of this blog know, I had the special pleasure of blogging Bruce Ware’s ETS presidential address. I’ll remember that for a long time to come.
Other than that stuff, I was able to give an academic paper, see old friends (Ben Dockery did a nice job with the SBTS alumni event), eat good food (muffulettas, po’ boys from Mother’s, and more), and generally soak up the ETS atmosphere. I’m thankful for ETS and how it encourages and showcases evangelical scholarship. Over 2000 folks turned out, over 500 papers were read (including several from my TEDS buddies), and much glory was given to God.
Last but certainly not least, a not insignificant amount of beignets from the amazing Cafe du Monde were eaten (yes, order them!).