Well, if you guessed "sitting in your den," you'd usually be right. But today, I'm sitting in the lobby of the Hilton in Fort Wayne, IN. I would be sitting in our hotel room, but the 802.11b signal is so poor in the room I can get an IP addy and that's it. No connection to the WWW. So I have a couple of hours to veg before we go out to dinner and I decided to come down to the lobby. Alas, there is cigarette smoke going on nearby and that's annoying, but other than that, there's nice classical music playing and no one's around except for a few fellow geeks who are here because of some gaming convention.
My folks and I, however, have come to the Big City of Fort Wayne (well, it's bigger than I expected) in order to attend a Jesus Seminar on the Road (JSoR). This is my first JSoR, though my parents have been attending them since 2000 or so. We've got Bernard Brandon Scott and Daryl Schmidt as our scholars for this JSoR, which happen to be the same two scholars that mom and dad saw at their first JSoR. Who'da thunk that 5 years later, dad would be chairing his own Seminar for Westar? He was even introduced before lunch as the leader of the Church Leaders Seminar and got to pass out his business card to a few folks.
We left Ohio yesterday after dad and I returned from our technology meeting at El Sombrero restaurant. We picked mom up, and our luggage (and I fed Leo for 2 days - poor kitty has surely eaten all his food by now), and headed off to Fort Wayne. We dumped our stuff in our room, then headed off find supper. We walked to a Tasty King Gyro near the hotel and I had a gyro with feta, plus fries and lemonade. Very yummy. After supper, it was off to the Unitarian Universalist church which is hosting this JSoR.
Last night was Brandon's night to shine. He discussed how the Jesus Seminar works and talked some of first century Christianity and who (or what) was likely to be the founder of Christianity. Daryl helped out during the question/answer session. And I enjoyed listening to the critical historical views that both discussed. For several people in the audience, much of what they said was new (and radical). For me, having listened to dad's sermons of late, it was just neat to see other perspectives. I'm used to radical thinking about the Bible in general and Jesus specifically, so I wasn't surprised by anything either scholar said.
After the discussion, we returned to our room and I played around on my laptop (unconnected to the 'Net, but still functional for playing around with the school website). I discovered that with Dreamweaver, I can have nested Templates. Yay! I'll be able to have the high school and elementary pages based upon the main district site, but with added stuff. That makes me happy. :-) (What's so nice about templates in Dreamweaver is, if you update the template, it updates every page based upon the update!)
This morning, we headed off to McDonald's for breakfast (Egg McMuffin for me - yum!) and then on to the UU church. This church, BTW, is very modern. It's based upon a hyperbolic parabaloid and was built in the '50s. (Actually, it's two hyperbolic paraboloids - one for the sanctuary, one for the meeting hall.) They have some beautiful leather artwork on the walls depicting several religious cultures, and a huge piece with the UU Chalice. Father's taken some photos, so maybe I'll post some pictures later.
The morning workshop was put on by both Daryl and Brandon and covered the scholarly take on Jesus and his words and actions in the first century. Again, I'd heard a lot of this before from dad's work with Westar, but I liked what they had to say. They take a somewhat scientific approach to the data available to them (which, frankly, isn't a lot) which includes all of the original texts from the canon and also the noncanon texts from the period. They've retranslated everything as slowly as they can, doing their best to keep the context of the time in mind. Scholars would then present papers on the various snippets they translated, and the Seminar would then vote on how likely it was that this was valid. I like the peer review process that they take. And they allow that what they have is changeable should the data change.
For lunch, we found an Arby's not too far from the church and I had a Market Fresh Sandwich (love that bread) with chicken salad in it (with apples, grapes, and pecans - yum!) I also had their fries, which aren't all that great, but they were edible and that's what mattered.
The afternoon session was the most free flowing of their sessions and often relied upon the questions asked. Brandon mentioned his take on the Kingdom of God, which Jesus often alluded to, as being a "Safe Place" when all were gathered together. When one sat at the table with Jesus, one was safe. Lepers, tax collectors, women, etc. Brandon likened it to a church community that he attends, which is mostly gay and lesbian. When they are gathered at the church, they can be themselves. They are safe in the Kingdom of God. When they leave, not so much. :-( It's a take on the concept I'd not thought of before, but I like the idea.
Anyhoo, tonight the folks and I are going to supper with the two scholars, the Westar associate who set this up, and the UU minister and his wife. We found the restaurant before coming back to the hotel (while it was still light) and it's pretty easy to get to and get back from. Good, that means I can have an amaretto sour or two. (The folks will probably have wine. Oh, and judiang I'm hoping to ask Daryl if he knows of a US equivalent to Granello. The folks say he's something of a wine expert among the Fellows of the Westar Institute.)
While driving around today, the folks and I were struck by just how beautiful the trees are. This was the PERFECT fall weekend to come to Fort Wayne. For a "big city" they have lots of small town feel to it. And many MANY trees. We've really enjoyed the trip so far, and dinner tonight and Brandon preaching tomorrow, should complete the enjoyable weekend. (And then I come home to a hungry cat and laundry which needs doing - heh).