This blog hit a milestone recently, passing the “100 posts” mark. That has taken about three and a half years, but if my current pace of writing keeps up, we will be halfway to our next hundred before the end of this year. Some thoughts and a couple of changes that are coming to this blog before that gets underway:
First, I am just a tad bit obsessed with the appearance of the blog and am always trying to make it more aesthetically appealing. I noticed recently that the side-bar was getting ridiculously long… So decided to move some of the things from the sidebar to their own page. The list of authors I recommend checking out has now been moved to the “Recommended Reading” page. Also, a new page that will contain a list of ministries I have some sort of connection to and/or that I think are doing really good work (with some explanation of who they are and what they do) is coming soon. There may also be a more formal “bio” page in the not too distant future.
Second, along similar lines, am strongly considering switching this blog to a new template/theme to change things up a bit. Also strongly considering a move to wordpress, which is prompting an experiment that I will discuss in a moment. If anyone has thoughts on either of these ideas feel free to comment and give me advice/recommendations.
Third, I am spending the summer working as the music director for the Barbara C. Harris Camp of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts (the camp is actually in New Hampshire). Its going to be fun, get to spend my summer up in the beautiful New Hampshire mountains playing guitar! Time away from New Haven and the academic life will be a most welcome break.
Fourth, while at this camp I intend to do a good bit of reading (because I am after all a hopeless academic). This is where the experiment mentioned above comes in. I have been pushed lately by a particular friend and by reading Rachel Held Evans‘ blog to reconnect some with my Evangelical roots. Prior to coming to Yale I considered myself more or less an “Emerging” Evangelical in contrast to the Neo-Reformed crowd. When I came to Yale I found that I was just as comfortable in mainline circles (perhaps confirming suspicions that I am in fact a liberal) as I was in the nebulous “Emerging” crowd, which incidentally doesn’t really exist in New England, so I “officially” made the switch to considering myself a mainliner and part of the Episcopal Church, a denomination I had been exploring for a while. As I am reconnecting with my Evangelical roots a bit, I am realizing that while I have interacted with the ideas of major thinkers on both the Neo-Reformed and Emergent side of the equation academically quite a bit over the years, I have read very few of the popular level published works of most of the representative thinkers, guys like Piper or Driscoll or Kevin DeYoung or Brian McClarren or Rob Bell. So one (though certainly not the only one) of my major reading goals for the summer is to actually read through several books by these guys. I intend to blog a bit about that, and both as part of keeping this a designated “project” and to experiment with wordpress, I have launched a new blog for that purpose that I am calling “Restless, Young, and Reforming” as a response to the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” montra embraced by Kevin DeYoung and other Neo-Reformed leaders.
Fifth, another summer goal, since I am working in music, is going to be to make a few recordings of some of the songs I have written over the years and either put them up on a new music page or create a demo cd. Either way the goal is a little shameless self-promotion with the possible end of a coffee-house gig or two to lightly step into the music scene here in New England (which is sadly much smaller than the booming music scene in Birmingham).
Sixth, and finally, I am reflecting a bit on future educational ambitions and coming to a couple of realizations. One is that virtually every major project I have worked on has been in some way related to Philosophical Theology, including my conference presentations, a recently published article, and the vast majority of the posts on this blog. Second, I am realizing that as much as I love the Old Testament, I think archaeology is boring and possibly a pointless endeavor, I don’t like studying grammar of any language (ancient or modern), I enjoy reading comparative religious literature only in translation and have absolutely no desire to ever translate an Akkadian or Ugaritic scroll/inscription myself, I find reading about source/tradition critical theories somewhat interesting but the work that goes into sorting out various sources bores me tremendously, etc. Basically, everything that goes into serious Old Testament research and writing exegesis is stuff I would rather leave to someone else and let me read their conclusions. I am much more interested in synthetic projects that involve working with the text constructively after all that de/re-construction has already been done. So… what I am beginning to realize is that perhaps my interest is not so much in being an Old Testament scholar proper but in being a Philosophical Theologian who has a particular interest in working with the Old Testament as a source… This will probably not come as a great surprise to many, nor will it substantially alter the shape of this blog. But thought I’d share my recent self-evaluative reflections with anyone who might pass this way.