All in Theology

Being Forgotten

One of my friends here (a fellow PhD candidate) and I have an on going conversation about what makes a theologian have a lasting impact. When talking about someone like say, Karl Barth, there is a school of thought that says he had some sort of innate genius. There are others who would argue that he happened to be the right person at the right time. As we discuss it more, I think that we are both convinced that lasting impact has more to do with the environment surrounding a person than the innate genius of the person. That is not say many of the people we remember weren't geniuses. It is just acknowledging that there are many who were geniuses but have been forgotten.

Having a Good Fight

I was reading Proverbs the other day and Proverbs 18:13 hit me. It was particularly poignant because I have been thinking about how I communicate to people. Whether it be talking to Taryn, friends at New College, people at church, or in my thesis.

I Believe in the Church

This last Sunday was communion Sunday at Christ Church (the church we attend in Edinburgh). Unlike Parish where I am the assistant pastor, Christ Church partakes in communion one week every month. At Parish we would take communion every week. However, at both churches before we come to the table we confess our faith together. That confession of faith usually takes the form of reciting the Apostles’ Creed.

Blasphemy Trials

In Scotland there is a blasphemy law on the books. It has been around for hundreds of year. However, the last person to get brought up on blasphemy charges was a couple hundred years ago. Right now there is a debate in the larger society (and it has made its way into the government) as to whether this law should still be part of the Scottish law code. I am no expert on these things, and I have my own opinion about governmental enforcement of religious beliefs, but it is really an interesting debate in the wider culture. My supervisor, Dr. James Eglinton, was interviewed about it.

For Us but Not Of Us

A paragraph from the new translation of Bavinck’s The Sacrifice of Praise has been stuck in my head. It comes right after Bavinck quotes from Matthew 10:37-38, 16:25, 18:18, and Mark 10:29-30. If you look at these passages they are all about the cost of discipleship. The cost of following Christ. To follow Christ, we must take up our cross, deny father and mother, tear out our eyes or cut off our hands if they are causing us to sin.

Birthdays

Today marks a very special day. Today is the 164th birthday of Herman Bavinck. If Dr. Bavinck were with us today, he would, in fact, be the oldest person alive. It also marks the birthday of my father and one of my cousins (I won’t give their ages as they are a little more particular about the world knowing how old they are).

Friends

I don’t have a lot of close friends. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people that I love and with whom I interact, but close friends are few in number. As Chaim Potok put it in The Chosen, ‘two people who are true friends are like two bodies with one soul’. I was thinking about this yesterday while listening to an interview with Sen. Ben Sasse. Some of this is because I have moved around a lot and it is hard to sink roots deep when you don’t live anywhere for longer than five years. It is especially hard to have close friendships here in Scotland as there is the acknowledgement in the background that at some point, we are leaving. Scotland is a temporary stopping point for our family.

I Don't Belong Here

One of those funny things about doing a PhD is this feeling like you don’t belong. As soon as I got here, I talked to a number of colleagues and they all talked about feeling like an imposter. In fact, this phenomenon has been given the name ‘imposter syndrome’. To some degree every PhD student feels this at some point (or for the duration) of their program. Asking the question, ‘Do I belong here?’ Being convinced that everyone is smarter than you. Being afraid that you will be found out that you are a fake.

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday. While the story that is taught in school is the one of starving Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down together for a meal, the holiday wasn't established as a national holiday that day. Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.