Dr. John E. Johnson

Dr. John E. Johnson

Irrelevant Awards 2013


I almost missed the Evangelical Theological Society Meetings in Baltimore this year. A leave of absence from the seminary and a year off from presenting a paper seemed to be reasons enough to stay back in Portland. But then I realized I would have no post to write. So here I am, on a plane, making the long journey back home, reflecting on my learning. To enable clarity of thought and provide fuel for the task, Delta has contributed to my endeavor by providing a feast of 12 grams of mini pretzels and a cup of 100% Ceylon tea. This should get me to Salt Lake City, where the final flight will provide a similar spread.

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To be fair, I did hear some scholarly papers on aspects of the book of John. Since I am writing a book on Jesus’ conversations with His church (hence my periodic gaps in blogging), I found a couple of these presentations really valuable, particularly those by D.A. Carson and Mickey Klink. I gained deeper insights into the great commission in Matthew 28 (“The Great Commission as Spiritual Formatio.” John Coe), and I heard an intriguing presentation on Genesis 2 (“Adam and Eve as Archetypes”, John Walton). The historicity of Adam is a hot topic at the moment among evangelical intellectuals.

There were also papers that qualified for my prestigious “Most Irrelevant Awards.” I am sure that were I an academic in the particular fields in which these papers were given, their germaneness would be instantly clear to me. And they may be to anyone who chooses to read this post. I recognize that my blogs are read by those who are both brilliant and gifted. This is why my blog posts often show up on Facebook, next to discussions of where one can find the best place to buy pickles—or “OMG, did you see Duck Dynasty last night?” Hence, you will again read these and shake your heads, wondering what is with my sheltered life. Obviously, all the dots are not on the dice. Nonetheless, here are the top 10, again in no particular order, with commentary in the parenthesis (starting with this commentary, that I am writing this on a late night flight):

  • “Can Resentment be a Virtue?” (It would relieve some guilt to know that it is. I think I will present a paper on “Can Envy, Jealousy, Bitterness, and Unforgiveness Be Virtues?” next year)
  • “Did Sennacherib, King of Assyria, Worship God from Noah’s Ark?” (I would really like to know this before they finally discover it!)
  • “Interpreting Jacob’s Wrestling in Philo’s De Praemiis et Poenis” (for some reason this title is really unsettling)
  • “Curse Redux?—I Cor 5:13; Deuteronomy, and Identity Formation in Corinth” (Is redux a word?)
  • “Immanence as Ontology and as Mystery: Why Pantheism is Almost Right” (let’s remove transcendence and settle it once for all)
  • “Cannibalism and the Possibility of Bodily Resurrection: A Revised Approach to Reassembly” (Wow, this gives me great hope that eternity will be a pleasant transition)
  • “The Cappadocian Consensus: A Pneumatological Reflection (I have visited Cappadocia a couple of times. I will sort this out on my next trip in 2015)
  • Aquinas and Scotus on the Necessity of the Filoque (someone please help me here)
  • Wailing Walls and Fearful Flocks: Non-human Emotion as Portrayed in the Hebrew Bible (I do have a wire-fox terrier that shows no emotion. Can this paper shed some light?)
  • Information and the Mind Body Problem  (what??)
  • Gustation, Olfaction, and Theological Aesthetics  (I wish I had time to hear this, but only if I could have heard “What’s so Good About Divine Disclosure? The Implicit Beauty of the Normative”) 

Since next year’s conference is in San Diego, which I am really excited about, I am looking forward to another set of scintillating papers. Given the geographic context, I am hopeful there will be some serious research on the following:

  • Can Sun Bathing Be a Virtue?
  • Interpreting Chad Deity’s Wrestling
  • Curse Redux—Why do the Chargers always seem to be jinxed?
  • The El Cajon Consensus: A Soteriological Reflection
  • God’s Defense of the Constant 78 Degree Weather
  • The Padre Base Consensus: Start Spending Money
  • Going to La Jolla and the Mind Body Problem

These may not fit the conference theme (Ecclesiology), but they will enlighten small minds.

  • Tom Rohlffs
    1:08 AM, 26 November 2013

    I’m a little surprised there wasn’t anything written on the subject that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife…

  • Tom Rohlffs
    1:08 AM, 26 November 2013

    I’m a little surprised there wasn’t anything written on the subject that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife…

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