Saturday, 4 July 2009

AACC - Queensland Theological College Conference - AACC 2010 definitely worth diarising

I was with John Davies at the AACC this week and I heartily agree that it was a worthwhile week. I am planning to return next year.
Most of the sessions were excellent - but for me there were three highlights, all because of their direct practical relevance to my own ministry and life.
First, there was Richard Bauckham's three plenary sessions on the Gospels as Testimony (a summary of his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses and then further reflections in the light of critical responses). As a Christian, I found Richard's exploration of the nature of Ancient biography (or 'testimony') very fortifying: I definitely need to get the book and digest his case more thoroughly.
Next there was Greg Clarke's (of Sydney's Centre for Public Christianity) 'after' dinner speech, Taming Your Tongue in Academia. As a teacher at PTC, I was challenged to renew efforts to make my speech and silence at PTC true ministry. I hope this gets published somewhere as it will be worth chewing over more.
Finally, I really 'enjoyed' (if that is the word for it - Ezekiel 16 is very difficult material) seeing Andrew Sloane (who teaches OT and Systematics at Morling College) in full flight as he considered The office of the prophets: Ezekiel 16 in the pulpit. Apart from the excellent content in this paper, Andrew challenged me in three ways. First, to keep on using my Hebrew (his study of Ezekiel 16 just would not have been possible without access to the Masoretic Text as the English versions all excessively sanitise Ezekiel's rhetoric to make it 'readable in Church'). Second, the value of passion in the academy. Andrew is a wonderful communicator and passion is at the heart of his style. This seems very apt for a paper about God's holy passion for an Israel whose very unholy passion had so disgusted God. It seems the sleeve of an academic gown is not such a bad place to wear your heart after all. Thirdly, his paper was pastorally accessible and had immediate practical value for the ordinary preacher. This is something I must work harder at in my papers as I develop my own style in writing and delivering conference papers in coming years.
Two minor beefs about the conference. First I find it objectionable that St Lucia, and QTC are so much prettier than Burwood. What a wonderful site for a theological college!
Second: how does 'Annual Australasian Conference for the Academy and the Church' produce the initials 'AACC'? This drove me just a little bit crazy all week!

1 comment:

John Davies said...

Earlier permutations of the conference publicity had the word Christian as part of the name, so provided you leave out the "Academy and the Church" (as a sort of subtitle), it was AACC then (though the word Annual was a strange one to be part of the initials). I'd have said it was the (annual) A(C)CAC, but that might have sounded too much like flak. Dpn't know if dropping Christian was intentional. It clearly was a Christian conference (unlike SBL and other forums which, while dealing with the Bible and theology, are not faith-based).