Monday, November 19, 2007

An Immigrant's Story

So here I am at the final joint annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature. The book show is always one of the best parts. It is of the size that is usually measured in "football fields."

Naturally books relating to Christianity dominate, as is true of the many multiple sessions where people are presenting papers.

I walk around, and I feel like an immigrant who has successfully integrated himself into his new country must feel. I recognize "the old country." Sure, the pop songs have changed and the postage stamps look different now, but I remember how to understand the language and even to speak it sometimes. (It's an effort.)

"Revelation" "Prophet" "Authority" "Redemption" "Church" -- I remember those words. But my new language does not need them.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other things to talk about. The new religious movements sessions are always fun--they attract those of us who enjoy religion as spectacle. On Saturday, for instance, I was introduced to the international vampire self-study project. Self-labeled vampirism -- quantified!



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