Beginnings

After conversations, prayer, and lots of stalling, I’ve decided to get back into the blogging world again. Here’s why:

1. Learning. Through social media and the blogosphere, I’ve learned a lot about subjects I’ve not necessarily had the chance or time to explore. I’ve read some sermons that caused me to rethink presuppositions. I’ve been convicted to confess my sin and repent. Hopefully that can and will continue. In addition, I’ll be learning how to become a better writer through this practice.

2. Accountability. If someone does read this, and is wondering how I’m progressing in my program, they can see reviews or snippets of books I’ve been reading. If one asks a question about a book or my work, I hope to respond thoroughly and compassionately. The external pressure of accountability to a larger group of people is helpful–case in point, sermon-writing. One does not finish a PhD by one’s effort alone–it does take a great cloud of witnesses.

3. Fellowship. As someone who is living a distance from my school (about a 6 hour train ride), fellowship can be difficult to cultivate and maintain. I see this blog as a way to connect with others who are interested in theology. I’ve already been able to connect with some thoughtful people through my writing, and I hope to see that continue.

As a confessional theologian, my goal in pursuing a PhD in theology is to seek and know God, and help others do so. My primary work is in theology, studying humility and pneumatology. I believe that all of life is theological, in that everything we do can be connected to how we view God, creation (including humanity), and God’s relationship to creation. Thus, I’d like to think that theology can speak to the mundane and global issues.

To be honest, I have some anxiety about beginning a blog. The fears are multiple: What if I don’t post regularly enough, what if someone rejects me for a job based on the blog, what if I hate what I’ve written in the past, what if my writing is subpar, what if I’m unable to respond to critique, etc. I imagine that most, if not all, of those fears will happen at some point. I expect to make mistakes, and hope to learn from them.

If I had to model this blog after any other blog, it would probably be Brian Leport’s work. He models what it means to be both a teacher and a student, to be a faithful Christian and a critique of harmful ideologies, and I’ve learned much from his work, both in content and methodology.

So, here are my questions for you, the reader and hopeful dialogue partner:

1. Any advice on the title? Much to my advisor’s chagrin, I’m horrible at titles. “Learning from a Great Cloud of Witnesses” expresses my intention that theology is always in conversation, whether with the theological giants, such as Augustine; or with the unknown saints, such as my grandmothers; or with those who may even be antagonistic or apathetic to theological discourse, yet provide us with valuable insights and critiques. I imagine, however, that the title may be too long. What do you think? Do you have any suggestions?

2. Who should I be following? I’ve begun to compile a list of blogs I want to follow that reflect upon theology and the church. Who would you include? What’s your blog link?

3. For those of you who already blog, what tips do you have? What should I do, and what should I avoid? What rules am I already breaking?

I’m still learning WordPress’ platform, and it will probably take a while–I’m somewhat of a Luddite.

Regardless, I’m grateful to begin this journey with you, the great cloud of witnesses.

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