Friday, November 03, 2006

Things to do at ETS - SBL

Several persons have been posting thoughts on how to survive or get through ETS/SBL including Sean Winter, John Lyons, and the blog-father himself Mark Goodacre (I just learnt yesterday that Mark, incidentally, has published in Evangelical Quarterly, something I did not know of previously!). Well here's my advice (some real some amusing):

1. Go to the right hotel. Last year in Philly I told the cab driver to take me to the Holiday Inn near the convention centre. She took me to the Down-Town Philly Holiday Inn when I should have gone to Holiday Inn at Valley Forge (where the ETS coference was being held prior to the SBL convention in down town Philly). There are two Holiday Inns, both are near convention centers, but about 30 miles apart. Don't let it happen to you.

2. Wear shoes that won't disintegrate. This happened to me at ETS and I was using sticky tape provided by a book seller to keep my shoes together. Thank you Fortress Press.

3. If someone accuses you of heresy based on your recent JETS article, ask them if they have actually read the article. In some cases they haven't actually read it and are just going on something they read on a blog.

4. If you are from outside the US don't let the locals try guess where you are from. According to one cab driver I was probably from some place called "Milwaulkee" [sic] because I looked and sounded "square and goofy".

5. Remember, last day of sales at SBL: show no mercy, give no quarter, and take no prisoner. If you have to stomp over some poor old lady who is Emeritus at Columbia State to get to the Oxford book stall first, well so be it, it was her fault for getting in your way in the first place, and she's old enough to know better. And if some snotty nosed Ph.D Cand from Vanderbilt tries to snatch the latest volume by Ehrman out of your hands, kick that effeminate Ivy-league snob in the

6. If you see Michael Bird be sure to wish him a happy birthday on Saturday the 18th of November as he will be 32 years old.

7. If you see some Ph.D cand from SBTS holding a sign that says, "will exegete for food" throw him your loose change since the poor lad probably spent all of his savings just trying to get there.

8. Walk up to the Prometheus book stall ask the sellers if they'd like to hear your testimony about how you went from being an atheist to becoming a Christian.

9. If you see Michael Bird, buy him lunch or dinner cause its his birthday on Saturday.

10. Say to Jim West, "Oh my gosh, look Jim, its Rudolf Bultmann!". When he turns to look give him an atomic wedgee and then run (he used to be in the military police).

11. If you see Joe Cathy ask if he is "packing"? If you are going down any dark alleys at night try to have Joe with you. It's always good to travel at night with a man who is armed to the back death with an MP-5, grenades, and knives.

13. Walk past the Prometheus book stall and ask, "How is Madalyn Murray O'Hare doing these days?

14. Come to all of Michael Bird's papers (two at ETS and two at SBL), last year at my presentation only four people showed up. My ego can't take that kind of a beating again.

15. Go to the Scottish Uni's Reception. Good food and good British scholars abound.

16. When you're cruising the book stalls take a hanky with you to wipe your mouth as you may be salivating, esp. if it's your first SBL.

17. If you see Michael Bird buy him a book from Brill as a birthday present.

18. Remember if you buy it, you still have to take it on the plane.

19. If you see N.T. Wright run up to him and shake his hand and tell him how honoured you are to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury, and then express surprise and disappointment that he's not in fact Rowan Williams.

20. In order to get into the exclusive Yale reception (really good food and quality alcohol) walk into the room holding hands with your best friend (Joel Willitts) and tell everyone that you are Yale grads who got married last year in Canada and that you just finished writing your thesis on an Eco-Feminist-Post-Colonial interpretation of Rom 1.26-27. All I can say is that it worked for me and Joel last year!

21. Go to the Prometheus book stall and tell them how Antony Flew inspired you to become a Christian.

22. After talking to James Crossley always check to make sure that you still have your wallet.

23. Buy Brandon Wason a beer and ask him how Emory is treating him.

24. Turn up to the papers that you are supposed to present.

25. If you meet Sean Winter for the first time, walk up to him and say, "Are you from Milwaulkee, because you look kinda ..."

26. Even if you're not an egalitarian, go to the Christian for Biblical Equality dinner on Wenesday night. Nice folk. I wish complementarians and egalitarians would fellowship together more.

27. If you see Al Mohler at ETS, ask him he'd like to have a beer at the "Evangelicals for Hilary Clinton Reception"

28. Offer to get a coffee for Robin Parry, book seller for Paternoster, if he's looking tiried.

29. Take notes at all the presentations that you go to (I. Howard Marshall still does).

30. Relax and have a good time. Take in some seminars, meet and mix with people, sign a few publishing contracts, and drink as much free alcohol at the receptions as you can without violating bibical commandments about drunkenness and carousing and without imperiling your witness.

See ya there! If you can't find me, I'll be the red head Aussie guy that looks "kinda square and goofy".


Jim said...

Two thumbs WAY up!

Ben Myers said...

Great stuff, Mike: that's one of the best posts I've read in ages.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

This is fun enough almost to get me to come--but not to the ETS because we non-inerrantists are barred by the 3-headed dog at the door.

I love going to the SBL, IBR, and the Barth & Bonhoeffer gatherings.

Anonymous said...

I will look forward to holding hands!

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Very funny!

Hey, is your birthday coming up sometime soon?

Matthew D. Montonini said...

One word...hilarious!!!

Michael Pahl said...

Mike, you're crazy! Great post. Looking forward to seeing you at ETS... but I am NOT holding hands with you!

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

You know, I think that whole holding hands scenario would work even better at getting into receptions by Union Sem. of NY, U of Chicago Div. School, & Grad. Theo. Union of Berkeley than at a Yale gig! In fact, at the GTU gig, they'd probably give you seats of honor. I'd try it for the U of C, but too many people have seen me with my wife and kids and would whisper LOUDLY about how they hadn't heard I'd come out or divorced Kate, etc.--and the comparisons with Ted Haggard could be embarrassing (although I never campaigned against gay marriage). Nah! Too much trouble for a joke and free eats and beer.

But if anyone gets away with this, let me know 'cause I'd love the laughs.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

If you saw Al Mohler you could give him buttons from the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and from Americans United for Separation of Church and State--and then take a picture of that vein exploding next to his temple. :-) It might be too much to try to get him to a meeting of the North American Baptist Professors of Religion--he might run into too many people he fired who now have better posts--like Molly T. Marshall, new president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Kansas City!

Brandon Wason said...

All very funny, but of course the pride of place goes to Sayings 23. Its also very true about how to find Mike Bird: "the red head Aussie guy that looks 'kinda square and goofy'". At the TC session last year I saw somebody with bright red hair and thought, Is that Mike Bird? Of course it was!

dritsema said...

Very funny! And who said that "community" can not be created via the internet?

James Crossley said...

'After talking to James Crossley always check to make sure that you still have your wallet.'

Ah well. I'll have to try some way else of getting money this year. I can't buy you food now that you know the secret!

Well see you there Mike

Brill Team said...

Mike, please pick up your free BRILL book on your birthday at our booth!