Ferry Beach Conference Center, Saco, Maine

I’m spending a couple of days at Ferry Beach Conference Center. I was supposed to attend a small church conference, but it was canceled at the last minute. I decided to come up here anyway and spend a couple of days doing a sort of study-retreat.

I left Concord at about 4 p.m., after having lunch and a long talk with a good friend. Traffic was heavy and slow on Interstate 495 headed north, and I didn’t arrive at Ferry Beach until 6:30 p.m. First stop was Huot’s, a seafood restaurant in the village of Camp Ellis. At their takeout window, I got fried clams, French fries, and cole slaw, and started the ten-minute walk back to the conference center. But I couldn’t wait to start in on the clams, and began eating them out of the bag as I walked.

“Is there going to be any left the time you get home?” said a man sitting on the wide front porch of one of the summer rentals. He had a good-natured grin on his face.

“No, I don’t think so,” I said. He just laughed.

Today, I’ve been working my way through Faith without Certainty: Liberal Theology for the 21st Century by Paul Rasor. I skimmed some of it back in June when I bought it, but now I’m sitting down and reading it straight through. I sat at the picnic table at my campsite on this perfect summer day, the sun glinting down through the trees, a chipmunk running back and forth between some trees, a few late summer birds calling idly every now and again.

And Paul writes clear prose that’s almost entirely free of the obfuscatory, precious academic jargon that’s endemic in theological circles. I have been particularly enjoying the way Paul clarifies the postmodern challenges to liberal theology.

It’s too bad the small church conference was canceled, but I have to say this is the perfect setting to catch up on my theology reading.