Last night I had the opportunity to sit in on my first ‘Preaching Team Meeting’ for my church. Wow, what a good time. We spent the better part of two hours just talking and theologizing (yeah I’m going with that as a real word) about our church’s upcoming sermon series on, wait for it . . . the ketuvim! Such a good time.

We sat around a table at one of my favorite local pubs and talked Bible and theology for two hours. At one point I realized that this is the closest I’ll get to experiencing the famous ‘inklings.’ Thus, I like to think of this little group as my own personal ‘thinklings’ (read theological inklings) or perhaps even better the ‘pinklings’ (read pastoral inklings) since the main point of the group is to discuss how to bring Scripture to life to our church.

This brings me to the other reason that I celebrate this group and the reason I think all academics should be a part of such a group. In this group we discuss Bible and theology in the context of the church. Here is the best place to discuss Scripture. Scripture does not truly come alive when a parallel within ANE literature is found to illumine some text. Scripture comes alive within the context of the believing community. This is why all academics should try as best they can to study Scripture in this context. The late great (can you use that of a theologian?) brother Brevard knew this well:

” . . . the Bible is a particular kind of literature. It was not written to satisfy human curiosity or to evoke religious speculation on heavenly mysteries, but it is a call for faithful response during one’s whole life.” (Brevard Childs, in Rule of Faith[Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishers, 1998], 1-12. Available online)

PS – to all those who, like me, did not grow up in this kind of an environment let me assure you: a pub is the best place to theologize. Cheers!

(Just to be clear – I only wish that the picture in this post is the pub where we met last night. No, that picture is the famous Eagle and Child, known affectionately as the Bird and Baby, where the actual inklings met.)