Friday, January 20, 2006

The Semester Ahead

The new semester has begun and my schedule has quickly been filled with reading, writing, and research. Fortunately, some of my classes are arranged in such a manner as to allow me to spend a great deal of time reading primary source texts. Here's what's on my plate this coming semester.

Getting better acquainted with Augustine

I am currently taking a class entitled "The Life and Legacy of Augustine of Hippo." The class is taught by the academically austere Dr. Chris Bounds and has already allowed me to get to know Augustine's theological mind as it pertains to both Confessions and his Treatise on Faith and the Creed. I am especially excited about the research I will be doing as it pertains to Augustine's doctrine of grace. The work of Augustine is so foundational for the Western Church and his insight in this specific area will greatly aid the larger research project that I am undertaking.

Beginning research for my Honors College thesis

I met with Dr. Bounds today to begin create a plan for how I will be conducting my research for my thesis. Essentially, the thesis will seek to develop an articulated doctrine of grace. I will be investigating the doctrine of grace in the Ante-Nicene Fathers as well as John Wesley. My research will be compared and contrasted with the Wesleyan Church's current doctrine of grace in order to illuminate a more theologically correct doctrine not only for the Wesleyan Church, but hopefully ecumenically as well. This is no small task and there is very little secondary source material on the subject.

Learning to be a better student of the Bible

I have taken many classes designed to improve my knowledge of interpreting the biblical text, yet I have found that I often sacrifice reading the text itself for a milieu of other books which occupy the shelves of my library. While I am anxious to crack open some books I received for Christmas (namely books by Richard Hays, John Milbank, and Reinhold Niebuhr), I have realized the deep need to be more immersed in the pages of the Bible. I can know the tools of interpretation but if I am not familiar with that which I am interpreting I will most assuredly be a horrible exegete.

Grow a sweet beard

I am currently in the process of beginning to grow a beard. It is coming along nicely and should provide some extra insulation should the snow ever return. Nonetheless, I figure if I hope to be a serious theologian I had better be sportin' the beard. Well, at least as long as my wife lets me.

So please stop by frequently as I hope to continue my theological journey with your most cherished input.

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