A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Stone Campbell Journal Conference in Cincinnati. I went last year (although I didn't write a post about it) and had a great time. This year, I had a great time as well. I went there, first of all, to support my friends in the student paper competition. Students from colleges and seminaries submit academic papers to this competition and the top three present their papers. My friends David, Michael, and Nathan were all selected to present. Michael presented in undergrad competition and his paper on the apocalyptic imagery of Matthew 13 won. My friends David and Nathan presented their papers in the graduate competition. Both papers were fantastic. David's paper was on the Celtic practice of peregrination and Nathan's was on the advancement of nanotechnology and it's affect on the world. Unfortunately, they did not win, but these papers, along with the paper that won, were fantastic papers and honestly, each deserved to win for one reason or another. I also went to enjoy Skyline Chili.
This was not all that happened at the conference. For those of you who are not familiar, conferences put on by journals or societies (like the Society of Biblical Literature, SBL, or Evangelical Theological Society, ETS) will typically consist of some main presenters and then a lot of other people presenting papers they have written in elective fashion. This conference was hosted by the Stone Campbell Journal (if you're not familiar with the Stone-Campbell/Restoration movement, check out this). When I was not hearing my friends present, I heard various scholars read papers and give presentations on different subjects. The main theme of this years conference was Spirituality Old and New, which is fantastic because this is one of my main areas of interest. The highlight was hearing Scot McKnight speak on spirituality in two of the main sessions. I took copious notes and got some great (and funny) quotes. My favorite quote was from his presentation on Spirituality in a Postmodern Age. He said, "People who can combine Jeremiah, Thomas Paine, Max Lucado, Harold and Kumar, and Dr. Suess are postmodern. . . whatever that means."
The most challenging of his talks was on Spiritual Disciplines for Today. He left us with many thoughts, but the most challenge being that any discipline that does not lead us to love God or love others, is essentially a misused discipline. I was certainly challenged by that, since many times I find my self using a spiritual discipline to make myself better and not to simply fall in love with God more. So here's the question I want to leave you with, how can we better use our disciplines to love God and others and not simply do it to make us better people?