I attended the Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) for the first time this year. It was a wonderful time, especially since it was located in San Francisco, which I consider to be “home”. This allowed me to enjoy the conference as well as some extra curricular activities with family and friends.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with my good friends Stanley Brown and Michelle Fullner in Sacramento. I had an early Thanksgiving with my mother, grandmother, her partner, my brother and his wife in the Napa Valley. I had a second early Thanksgiving with my wife’s sister and mother along with some other friends in San Francisco as well. On Sunday I had a discussion with Jeff Garner (in place of the sermon) during both of the worship gatherings of the San Francisco Lighthouse church.

At the conference I met many people. This is a long list, but I am sure I am forgetting someone: Michael Barber, Christian Brady, Ken Brown, Robert Cargill, Andrew Cowan, Michael Halcomb, James McGrathChris Tilling,  Joel Watts, Jim West, . Many of them were at the Bibliobloggers Reception (see Christian Brady’s pictures here). I caught up with some friends from the Pacific Northwest like Marc Cortez, Bill Horst, and JohnDave Medina while meeting some others from the Portland area in Jared Wilson, David Manning, and Amy Manning. Also, I reconnected with IVP’s Adrianna Wright which is always a pleasure.

One of my best connections was with Robert Webb who wrote the book John the Baptizer and Prophet. He is friends with Craig A. Evans who has verbally agreed to supervise my doctoral studies when the time comes (likely 2013). He is a brilliant historian and a warm personality.

I missed having Dr. Evans present this year as well as another mentor, Dr. Doug Estes who is doing post-doctoral work in the UK. I hope to see them next year!

I mentioned in past blog post some of the sessions that I attended. My favorites were S19-242a, “The Future of Biblical Studies: What Research Still Needs to be Done?; S20-347, Tipping Points: A Scholarly Discussion of Life in the Academy; S21-148a, “Theological Interpretation and Jesus-Studies”; and S21-317, “The Historical Jesus in Recent Research”. In the process of going from session to session I saw people like Cornel West, Walter Brueggemann, Richard Hays, Lynn Cohick, Amy Jill-Levine, Michael Bird, N.T. Wright, Daniel Kirk, Larry Hurtado, and others. It was as Michael Halcomb described it: “Your books coming to life.”

Next year is in Chicago, IL, November 17th-20th. I plan on attending. For now, I will enjoy the many wonderful memories of my first AAR/SBL, some of which will surely find their way into future blog posts.