On May 25, 2014 I attended the CETA annual meeting, which was held as part of the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Brock University, in St. Catharines, ON.
The CETA meeting showcased eight excellent papers on topics ranging from violence in the Bible, to the (im)mutability of God, using jazz as a metaphor to understand the church’s mission, and the application of trauma studies to the Hagar narrative in Genesis 16.
J. Gerald Janzen on Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh
A particular highlight of the CETA meeting was the presence of J. Gerald Janzen (professor emeritus in Old Testament at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, who was born in Saskatchewan). Janzen gave a brilliant paper on Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Not only did his gentle manner and stunning intertextual reading of the New Testament, the Old Testament, and evidence from Hellenistic literature convince those in attendance about the meaning of Paul’s “thorn,” but the paper had profound practical implications for living under the sign of the cross.
CETA Personnel Changes
Two new members of the CETA executive were elected at the meeting. Kirk Baker, a doctoral student at Syracuse University and Presbyterian pastor, is our new website and social media coordinator. CETA also has a new president: August (Gus) Konkel, professor of Old Testament at McMaster Divinity College.
As outgoing president of CETA, I gave my “exaugural” address as part of the meeting (yes, that really is a word; the opposite of inaugural).
I’ve had the privilege of being president of CETA for the past three years, and I took the opportunity to give a brief history of the organization (including the rationale for its founding in 1990). I also highlighted some of CETA’s exciting recent initiatives (such as a peer-reviewed journal and an annual Fall conference that moves around to different theological schools). And I shared my vision for the future of CETA, focused on the relationship of theology to the Bible and the church.
A Spirit of Collegiality
The CETA meeting at Brock was marked throughout the day by a wonderful sense of collegiality between graduate students, new graduates, and senior scholars.
Here are some comments from those who attended:
What a great meeting yesterday! . . . congratulations to Gus as he officially steps into his new role. —Matthew Forrest Lowe
I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the CETA conference today, and I look forward to similar events in the future. —Jonathan Numada
I appreciated being able to participate and connect a bit with this group of evangelical scholars and students. I appreciate the big-tent evangelical ideal and the goal of connecting church and academy. —Anthony Siegrist
Thanks again for the opportunity to present yesterday at the CETA gathering. For me, CETA has been such a vital space to mature as a scholar and to be reminded that there are other scholars who care about the church and the academy beyond Wycliffe. —Lane Scruggs
How do I adequately express my appreciation for the richness of the past weekend? . . . The spirit and tone of the meetings and of the members—an implicit undergirding of one another in the faith, a strong core and anchoring, and a generous dialogical openness, together with solid scholarship and hard, rigorous thinking—what more could one hope for? —J. Gerald Janzen
Canadian Theological Review—Call for Submissions
CETA’s journal, the Canadian Theological Review, is actively soliciting articles and book reviews, which may address any area of theology—including biblical studies, systematic theology, historical theology, practical/pastoral theology, and philosophical theology.
Fall Theology Conference—Call for Papers
CETA will be having its next Fall conference in Toronto, at Wycliffe College on October 18, 2014 (co-sponsored by Wycliffe and the Institute for Christian Studies). The conference theme is: “Towards an Evangelical Feminism: Scripture, Theology, Gender.”