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"There is no lack of information in a Christian land; something else is lacking, and this is a something which the one cannot directly communicate to the other." These words are Søren Kierkegaard's, but as I've chewed on them, I find they're no less applicable to our own time than to his. More important than merely knowing about the gospel, he believed, is knowing how to live as a disciple and witness of Jesus Christ. My great hope as a teacher is that our students are discovering --some for the first time and others in newer and deeper ways --that holy scripture presses us to a decision that encompasses everything we are as concrete, human beings.
It was thrilling to teach a new course this year on John's Gospel. At the risk of igniting the ire of a certain colleague, I stake my claim that John is the christological Mt. Everest of the Bible! My Jan Term course on the topic of God's wrath remains one of my most satisfying and demanding to teach. The icing on the cake is a chance to look closely at how the topic is manifested in the arenas of American pop-culture and politics. It's evidence upon evidence of the fact that we're living in a post-Christendom context. One other thing about my teaching: It's been encouraging this year to see so many students, especially in my introductory course, (re)discover a hunger and passion for theology. They're pursuing a huge array of majors and vocations, and I continue to learn from them as they seek faithfulness to Christ as counselors, athletic trainers, artists and so on.
I'm looking forward to the rest and recharging that come with summer. Around the edges of swimming and biking with my kids, I get to work on several research projects. I was invited to contribute essays on God's wrath to two edited volumes --one on sin, the other on the atonement. I'm also finishing up a constructive article, and I'll begin outlining and writing a paper for presentation at a theology conference next January.
Life at home this year has been very different with Hannah and Asher beginning school. Though it's a joy to see them growing up in so many ways, it does feel some nights like, after a day of school, all we're left with at home is grumpiness! Betsy has hit her stride as associate pastor for congregational care at First Presbyterian Church. She works so hard, and is loved and supported by the congregation so much. For those things I'm immensely grateful.
For the bibliophiles, a few of the most significant books I read this year: Dementia by John Swinton; The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller; The Word of God for the People of God by Todd Billings; and, to toss in just one heavy-hitter, Eccentric Existence by David Kelsey.
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