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My second year at Whitworth has been another wonderful year of teaching and studying Greek, the New Testament, ecology and biblical theology with keen, motivated students who make this job a joyful privilege. I'm writing this update in the midst of graduation weekend, and it's exciting and humbling to consider how our graduates go on from Whitworth to serve Christ in so many ways around the world.
One of the ways in which I'm trying to prepare students for whatever comes after university is by expanding both of our two-credit second-year Greek courses into three-credit courses in Greek reading and exegesis. It is a privilege to teach in an undergraduate institution where there is support among colleagues and students for providing such in-depth classical training in the interpretation of the Greek New Testament, Septuagint and other early Christian texts. I'm also developing a new research seminar in hermeneutics to help our students find answers to the age-old question of how we read the Bible and apply it in our churches and world today. Meanwhile, I continue to teach other courses on the New Testament letters, the biblical theology of creation and redemption, and the book of Revelation. I love working through the Apocalypse with students and am especially grateful for their penetrating questions as I begin to prepare for a commentary that I'll be writing in a few years.
I am perhaps most excited at the moment about the opportunity to offer a new Jan Term course at Tall Timber ranch in the Cascade Mountains. As most readers of this newsletter know, Jerry Sittser teaches a Christian Spirituality course there every other January or so. For Jan Term 2013 I'll teach a class, Ecology and the Bible, and will join my students in a cross-country skiing course led by Stan Fishburn. Studying theology and the natural world in the midst of a snowy mountain wilderness (but with all the comforts of woodstoves, running water, beds and good food) sounds to me like heaven on earth. It also fits well into my ongoing research in science, scripture and the environment.
Research admittedly continues to take a backseat to teaching and mentoring students (and, more recently, to the opportunity of serving on lots of committees!), but, among other things, I was pleased to have my first book, Creation, Nature and Hope in 4 Ezra, published (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011). Keep an eye on that New York Times bestseller list.
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