Memory and Hope

This week we have had the Croall Lectures at New College. The lectures were endowed by John Croall who died in 1872 and vested £5000 for the public lectures to take place. The lectures normally have theologians from the Church of Scotland, occasionally they are allowed to have someone else from another church. Over the years they have had people like: John Cunningham, H.R. Mackintosh, John Mackay, George Barclay, James Barr, Bruce McCormack, and Marilynne Robinson. This year we had Professor Werner Jeanrond, Master of St Benet's Hall, Oxford. He gave three lectures on 'hope'.

Humor and Theology

A couple of weeks ago my supervisor, James Eglinton, and I (with some other students) were having a conversation about the place of humor in theology. It was an interesting conversation with wide ranging thoughts and implications. The question posed was: to what extent is there a place for laughter/humor in doing theology? We all granted that laughter is good. We all agreed that we should not take ourselves too seriously. However, the question still stood: to what extent is there a place for laughter/humor in doing theology?

Reading Well

I am in the midst of trying to get the first chapter of my thesis done. I want to have it completed before we leave for the States next month. There are times that it is going well and then there are times where getting words down on paper is a little like pulling teeth. However, I think I am in a good place and the chapter will be finished on time. This process has reminded me once again of the importance of reading well.

Modest and Free

Dogmatics show us how God, who is all-sufficient in himself, nevertheless glorifies himself in his creation, which even when it is torn apart by sin, is gathered up again in Christ (Eph 1:10). It describes for us God, always God, from beginning to end — God in his being, God in his creation, God against sin, God in Christ, God breaking down all resistance through the Holy Spirit and guiding the whole of creation back to the objective he decreed for it: the glory of his name. Dogmatics, therefore, is not a dull and arid science. It is a theodicy, a doxology to all God's virtue and perfection, a hymn of adoration and thanksgiving, a 'glory to God in the highest' (Luke 2:14).

Theology and the Church

I am auditing one class this semester called Critical Debates in Christian Mission. The subject matter has little to do with my particular area of research. To be honest, I would not have even considered the class if a friend had not told me that it was one of the best classes he has taken at New College and that every PhD in systematic theology should take it. This was high praise, and it intrigued me. So, now I am taking the course. As of right now (granted it has only been one class), the course is living up to the billing.

The Struggle is Real

Richard Weaver said, 'Ideas have consequences'. Weaver taught English at the University of Chicago, but he was also an intellectual historian and philosopher of sorts. The thesis, in its most basic form, is correct. What people believe about how the world 'is' will affect how they live in the world or our 'worldview' is not just a set of disembodied ideas, but has consequences on how we live. Taken as a large meta-narrative of human history, it could be argued that the thesis is a bit more tenuous, but I will leave that to intellectual historians.

Remembering the Gospel

My friend and fellow Bavinck scholar, Bruce, wrote a blog the other day that reminded me of a small text by John Calvin. It is a short booklet called The Necessity of Reforming the Church. In a nutshell, it is Calvin's defense of why the church needs reformation and what reformation will look like. Bruce's blog got me to pick the book up once more and look at it. The simplicity and straightforward nature of the book struck me. Yet, that simplicity does not betray its depth.

Looking to the Other

This week at New College, there was a conference. It was the inaugural conference for 'The Christian-Muslim Studies Network'. The topic was Reframing Christian-Muslim Encounters: Theological and Philosophical Perspectives. I didn't go to a lot of the conference. In fact, I only went to two sessions. In one, a friend of mine delivered a paper, and I wanted to hear it. Another was the English book release of conversations between a Christian scholar and Islamic scholar who live and work in Lebanon.

Immigration: Highs and Lows

For almost ten years now, I have either lived as an immigrant or with an immigrant (for the last seven years there have been times when it is both at the same time). There are many interesting aspects of being a foreigner in a foreign land. I love learning new cultures and trying to figure out just how everything works. I love discovering new food or new places. It is fun to meet new people and try to understand their stories or their lives. It is really interesting trying to explain to Taryn why we do what we do the way we do it. Over the course of the years, what I have found is that living internationally (or having a wife who has lived internationally) has changed who I am and has changed how my family interacts with each.