Last night ended with another great talk by Dr. Ridgill, who managed to get the assembled Presbyterians to witness when asked with a loud Amen.
Today, started out with a great devotional, then a bible study wrap-up by Dr. Bailey on his insights into the parable of the Prodigal Son which, when viewed through Dr. Bailey's over 20 years in the Middle East, showed us that the usual take on this parable would not have been the point (or points) that Jesus was making when He told the story.
As real estate agents say Location, Location, Location, Dr. Bailey emphasized Context, Context, Context, and the context of that parable was of the 1st century Palestine, when the head of the household, in this case the father of the parable, would have never acted in the way the parable describes. I would heartily recommend finding Dr. Bailey's Jacob and the Prodigal: How Jesus Retold Israel's Story to discover Dr. Bailey's insights. BTW .. he is still finding themes in the parable that he did not notice previously.
A Seminar with PFR's Paul Detterman and Bob Snelling was next on my list, Congregational Renewal in the 21st Century. This was interesting as it was more a way for Paul and Bob to get some ideas on how to target renewal training in the future. We had about 4 groups of 5 or 6 discussing questions as put out by Bob. This group had some great insights on what may be needed for reaching out to the 30 & 40-somethings who do not get church or who may not see a need for church renewal.
Right now SWMBO is attending a seminar on Holistic Faith Nurture in a Fragmented World, which will cover faith nurture at home and church. How can the joy of nurturing faith spill out of a 45-minute Sunday School class into the whole of our congregations life? I hope to get some insight from her. Me ... I need a breather. They sell a t-shirt here, that reads Montreat ... its not flat. Boy do I agree !!!