Update — Summer 2015
I’m in at Durham
We spent this last year completing a pre-PhD postgraduate degree in Biblical Theology at the University of St. Andrews and have now accepted a place in the doctorate program at Durham University.
Durham is currently ranked the top theology department in the U.K., they specialize in the area I will be working in (“receptive ecumenism”) and the supervisor team looks to be a great fit for my research interests: Reformed reception of “Charismatic” theology and practice. It’s a doctorate in practical theology, keeping the focus on ‘lived’ theology rather than solely historical or text based study. So research is centered on how people understand and live out their beliefs in everyday life.
For example, Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions are the fastest growing ‘religion’ in the world. Emphasis on experience of God’s personal presence and power is deeply resonating within postmodern/post-Enlightenment Western culture (and particularly non-Western cultures) and in many ways with younger generations. Strengths in Reformed, mainline traditions are often weaknesses in Charismatic churches–such as shared power, organizational leadership, in-depth biblical and historical interpretation and holistic approaches to social and personal transformation. How can these traditions learn from one another? And specifically in my research interests, how does this impact people in these traditions in everyday life?
Also, Durham is just close enough to Elie we are able to stay in the same community, church and school for the kids.
A New Season
This summer marks a season shift both in our work and our family. Starting in mid-August three of our four will be in full day school, with our youngest about to enter pre-school. This opens up opportunities for Ali and I to partner more closely in the work we are doing.
These last few years we focused on learning and receiving as much as possible. We had questions of our own to answer, experiences and perspectives to solidify and three specific goals: (1) be mentored/apprenticed, (2) immerse ourselves in a predominantly “Charismatic” community and (3) study the power and presence of God biblically and historically. The first two happened at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. The pre-PhD program at St. Andrews focused on the first and third goals. Now we shift to giving what we have been learning away while completing the doctorate. More specifics on this to come.
A special thank you to those who have partnered with us financially and in prayer. This past year has been one of the most challenging in our lives, but has positioned us to accomplish specific goals and move into future opportunities. Your partnership is making it all possible and we can’t express how grateful we are. We are literally experiencing God’s promises fulfilled through you.
- Prepare for an October start at Durham.
- Raise remaining funds for the year ahead.
- Develop specific ways to give what we have been learning and doing away.