Investing In The Ruins: Jeremiah And Theological Vocation -- By: Paul House

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 56:1 (Mar 2013)
Article: Investing In The Ruins: Jeremiah And Theological Vocation
Author: Paul House


Investing In The Ruins:
Jeremiah And Theological Vocation

Paul House*

Introduction

* Paul House, professor of Divinity (OT) at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229, delivered this presidential address at the 64th annual meeting of the ETS on November 15, 2012, in Milwaukee, WI.

I am honored to present the presidential address for the 2012 ETS annual meeting. This has been a stimulating and challenging assignment for several reasons. For one thing, persons who come to this meeting are engaged in a wide range of theological vocations. Our society brings together faculty and students from various disciplines, as well as pastors, missionaries, publishers, administrators, and family members.

Furthermore, the people who attend this meeting represent many theological traditions. We come from Reformed, Lutheran, Catholic, Wesleyan, Baptist, Stone-Campbell, Pentecostal, Adventist, Anglican, and other circles and networks.

Also, attendees hail from many places. The majority comes from North America, which is a pretty diverse continent. We also have members attending this year from Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and Australia. This is wonderful, though not completely surprising, since about 400 of our 4000 members live outside North America.

Finally, the people that attend the ETS annual meeting come with varied joys and concerns. I have attended this event every year since 1987, so I have now spent about three months of my life at ETS national meetings, which is a sobering thought! Some of those years I carried terrible personal or professional burdens. Other years were the opposite.

Why have I returned year after year? The reason is that regardless of my personal circumstances, I have always found sustaining fellowship here, where I encounter a diverse group of colleagues who practice their theological vocations in the evangelical intellectual and spiritual tradition of confessing the perfection of God and his word. I have come to believe that this theological vocational fellowship is essential to ETS and must remain so. Thus, tonight I will talk about preserving our vocations. To this end I will share some thoughts about our affections: the persons, places, and ideas we love and serve. These motivate our theological vocations. I will then discuss friendships that sustain us in our vocations. I will use the book of Jeremiah as the basis for my comments.

In this way I hope to address our conference theme of “Caring for Creation,” albeit from a different angle of vision. Caring for creation begins when reverence

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