I just returned from the American Academy of Religion's annual conference which was held this year in Washington DC. Here are some highlights:
* eating dinner Friday night with about 30 Lutheran women theologians and scholars
* presiding at a session on religion and spirituality among the Deaf
* going for an hour long morning run in which I passed the Washington memorial phallus, I mean obelisk, the Lincoln memorial and the Vietnam memorial (I cried as I walked past those names thinking of all the families (on both sides) whose loved ones are dying right now in Iraq.
* Spending time with my friend Sara who's so smart and funny I can hardly stand it, and Ryan Torma who is my Partner in Lutheran emerging church crime.
* going salsa dancing until 2am with Sara, Ryan and this random Swiss guy we met (Christoph, who's absolutley lovely) who I referred to as "Zwingli" all night ...
* Hearing Brian McLaren, Peter Rollins and Phyllis Tickle's panel on emerging church. They were all brilliant.
* Theology Pub with the above, and about 40 others - scholars, Baptists, Nazarenes, Anglicans...it was a good conversation with lots of cross-pollination.
* Hearing papers on Men's studies in Religion; Men's studies is a perspective I've not experienced and hearing about men struggling with the nature of masculinity was really interesting ("Zwingli" was on this panel)
* Experiencing a Smithsonian exhibit on Bibles before the year 1000. It was thrilling to see these ancient codexes and illuminated manuscripts. (the guy at the convention book exhibit noticed how enthralled I was with the enormous, full-color coffee table book on the "Bibles before the Year 1000" exhibit and he asked if I was a starving grad student, I replied that indeed I was and that I could never afford such a book, but that I appreciated how totally beautiful it is...he then proceeded to slip it into a nice shoulder bag and say "then this is something that would probably mean a great deal to you, right?" and handed it to me with a smile.)
* Coming home and being with my kids this morning.