CCH Update

Sadly, the CCH hasn’t gotten off the ground yet. BUT, I’m determined that neither circumstances nor laziness will kill this series. I think I’m ready to go now, so check back tomorrow evening for the first post in this series.

Summer Series: Compendium of Christian Thought

Hello Patient Readers!

As I mentioned recently, one of my primary tasks this summer is to prepare for my entrance exams.  After doing a bit of reading and lots of fiddling with how to best attack all that I need to review and learn this summer, I want to try something new here at ST.  Roughly seventy questions have been sent to me to aid in my preparation, all of which I should be able to answer to sufficiently demonstrate a “Master of Divinity or Master of Arts degree level” response.  I am going to attempt to use these question to create a “Compendium of Christian Thought.”

Obviously, attempting to create a Compendium of Christian Thought (hereafter CCH) often veils as much as clarifies, and this will be no different in this case.  First, due to the genre of theoblogging and the amount of material I have to work through, all my posts will aim for 800-1000 words in length*, which will help capture the salient features or sufficiently inventory the main themes under discussion in each post.  While this will make for helpful cheat sheets for me to look back on (for this fall and for hopefully longer than that), no doubt I will leave aside certain issues or reject certain positions others would deem vital and true.  To this I say: convince me!  You really might be right, and the discussion will be helpful for me.  My hope is that while the CCH will of course be primarily my creation, it will also be one shaped by others who visit here.  My one special guideline  in this vein is this: if you want to argue a point with me, please be able to make some mention of any specific sources you’re drawing  on, even if by memory.  This way I can briefly review those too, either way helping my preparation and keeping above reproach as it relates to integrity issues on my actual exams.  Sustained reflection without mention of sources won’t be responded to and likely will be deleted-this makes it less tempting to cheat, even if by accident :).

Second, certain editorial decisions are unavoidable.  In particular, certain fields and thinkers will be excluded since they are outside the focus of my exams.  In a similar vein, some questions encourage choosing a particular subtopic or particular thinker(s) to write on out of numerous options.  Here more than anywhere my distinctive interests and concerns will be evident.  Again, if you think there is a more fruitful way to approach the topic convince me, just have sources at hand.   Finally, some entries will amount to merely recounting commonly accepted information, while others will be more constructive in nature, depending on the question I’m responding to.

Well, this is probably more than enough by way of introduction.  The first post will hopefully be up by late tonight, and be sure to periodically check the CCH page to conveniently access all posts as the summer moves along.  I look forward to hearing from you this summer to work on creating a “Master’s in a nutshell!”

*Update 6/25/11: My first post has already made clear how off my initial word count would be.  I am going to try to write several (hopefully) smaller posts instead, and see how that goes.

Resource for Pneumatology Studies

The Holy Spirit is one of my primary interests, so I was happy to learn about Duquesne Universities’ Annual Holy Spirit Lecture & Colloquium.  Several lectures are available, by notable scholars like Geoffrey Wainwright, Kallistos Ware, & Elizabeth Johnson.  I’m not sure how I missed this until now, but definitely worth checking out.

Summer 2011 Plans

So, as is customary in the theo-blogging world, I thought I would mention my summer academic plans.  For me it basically boils down to three primary tasks:

  1. Getting ready for my PhD entrance exams.  They have suggested 24 books for the summer, of course doing more is always welcome.  I’m planning on sitting for the OT & NT exams in addition to my two required ones, History of Christianity & Systematic Theology.  While it is not a deal-breaker if I don’t pass, it would be a real bummer to try to get them done during my 1st year of PhD work.  Best to just get them done now.
  2. Getting Latin under my belt.  I fiddled with it a bit this past semester, but it will basically be an all out blitz this summer making sure I’m ready for my late August exams.
  3. My earlier impulse to begin reading novels/poetry has remained, & I’m determined to work through at least a few classics this summer.  Inspired in part by this list, I have decided that this will be the “Summer of Camus.”  I am going this route because I think I may be able to get through all his primary fictional works this summer, while still throwing a couple additional tiny classics in as well.  The goal of getting a good handle on one author in just a few (focused) months seems the best way to go, and the length of Camus’ primary works appears manageable.  Regardless of how well this plan works, literature/fiction is a real gap in my reading, so I’m excited to start remedying it.  I do ask for patience, my dear readers, when I play the amateur critic at times this summer.  Finally, as I mentioned in my initial post, suggestions are MORE than welcome.
So that’s what’s cooking here at Stubbed Toes; what’s everyone else up to?

The Big Exhale: I am a PhD Student!

Well, it’s official.  I’ve been admitted into Luther Seminary’s PhD program in systematic theology, to begin next fall.  As anyone can imagine I’m ecstatic about getting in, since this is been something I’ve been working towards for several years now.  On top of that, moving to MN for the MTh without any assurances that I would get in at some point was difficult at times, to put it modestly.  Thankfully, it appears that the dice roll paid off.  It’s still a bit surreal, but with entrance exams now on the horizon my mindset is shifting quickly.

So, it is with great excitement that I retire the “MTh” tag & begin using “PhD” instead.

Suggestions Wanted

Hello Dear Readers,

The end of Spring semester is approaching fast, & like most aspiring academics I am swamped. That said, I am wanting to read something to give me a change of pace, a novel. It needs to be fairly short, yet a “must read.” I am sure I could find a few on my own, but I want to hear suggestions from you-what should I read?

The Theological “Instinct”

Recently more than one professor has said something like “I think your instinct is right on this point,” or “you have good instincts, so follow them,” to me in relation to doing theology. This, as far as i can remember, is a novel compliment.

While I think these types of statements are meant as genuine affirmations and/or encouragement (which I’m always grateful for), I am still troubled a bit by them. Instincts can be vague after all, so I wonder if this encouragement also implies that the ability to speak with clarity on certain concepts, topics, etc still eludes me. On the other hand, the skill of discerning important issues or relevant connections in theology cannot be developed by being able to merely ascertain and explain a theological view. So if they’re complimenting  me for having a “theological 6th sense,” this could be the greatest compliment of all.

Or it could be that I’m over-thinking this and should just be pleased with the compliment.