I am delighted to have received invitation to meet this Fall with the Christian Scholars Group for their biannual meeting in Chicago.
Though the invitation comes simply to be a kind of external participant to how this membership group works, I am thrilled.
The Christian Scholars Group (CSG) is an ecumenical gathering of Christian scholars that has been studying a wide range of topics pertinent to Christian-Jewish relations. Its members have written some of the most influential works on the subject. The CSG meets annually under the auspices of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning to discuss the research being conducted by members and the latest developments in the field.
I had opportunity to meet Rev. Dr. Peter Petit, who has given me this invitation - while working at Oxford this past summer. Peter and I have separate but unique connections in several ways - personally and professionally - and I have been nothing but thoroughly impressed with who he is as a gracious person, a formidable thinker, and a clear communicator.
I will be traveling with SNU students to the land of Israel, Palestine, and Jordan again in early 2011. This gives me opportunity as a professor to engage students in unique ways – and gives opportunity for networks of relationships that can expand the scope of how SNU graduates collaborate with other programs, professors, and universities.
The purposes of the Christian Scholars Group include fostering scholarship concerning the relation of Christianity to Judaism, providing a forum for constructive criticism of work-in-progress on this relationship and engaging in collaborative projects that might also serve as a resource for others concerned with Christian-Jewish relations. While an invited membership is for scholars, the work of the Christian Scholars Group takes place for the church as the group seeks to assist churches in reconsidering and reformulating their teaching regarding Jews and Judaism, and the Christian-Jewish relationship.
While meeting in this extended way with the CSG, seeing how they work and who they are, I will also participate in a consultation meeting with the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) including Chicago Theological Union’s annual Shapiro Lecture, being presented this year by the ICCJ president, Debbie Weissman of Israel.
Only God knows how these relationships can help foster my personal and professional growth - as I continue to try to nuance and discern in my life how to embody and reflect a life that extends good to the all, extending justice and peace.