All is well with me. Here is what I have been up to in July and August 2009.
1. I have been formulating preliminary exam questions and booklist with Richard Hays--my primary adviser--for my Th.D. program. I am happy to have your input.
I have finished my twelve courses:
2. I am beginning to get more specific regarding my dissertation.
Tonight I am processing Nijay Gupta's thoughts on dissertations from October 2008: Notes on PhD Thesis Writing I just need to get together with some more faculty and hear their advice on a draft of what I am thinking.
3. I have been reading theology in German--enjoying Barth and Bonhoeffer that way. See my Theological German website.
4. I am scanning the blogs. A couple people have discussed the life of the theological student recently: Ben Myers's sarcastic post from January 2009 Advice for theological students: ten steps to a brilliant career and Carl Trueman's article Minority Report A Question of Accountability. A couple things I haven't read yet but look forward to reading: Rob Wegner, Tony Morgan, and Kevin Miller blogged about Willow Creek's Leadership Summit. Josh Rowley has been reflecting on statistics regarding Mainline Decline.
5. I am trying to read through the Bible in a year but it will probably be more like 2 or 3 years! I have loved Proverbs and James. Here are a few favorites: "Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor" (Proverbs 12:24). "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty" (Proverbs 14:22). "Mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13).
7. I have read a couple of books on holiday and on sabbath: both of which I give 4 1/2 of 5 stars.
- Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson
A little slow but beautifully written with good theology. It had been recommended to me as a "must read for pastors." It made me reflect on parenting a lot. It is a Pulitizer Prize winner.
- Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by John Stauffer
Wonderful to learn more about these two fascinating men. John Wilson of Books & Culture also liked it.
I have been enjoying omelets (with tomatoes) and oatmeal (with banana and peanut butter) for breakfast and more string cheese, yogurt, almonds, and vegetables than I used to eat. The internet is great for help finding ways to cook veggies that taste good and for help with substitutions and recipe instructions. Who is going to let me borrow their P90X DVD workouts?
9. I am enjoying my kids (Ryan 4 and Jacob almost 2) as they swim, play t-ball, soccer, ride bikes, and enjoy books. I blog a little about them at our Rowell Kids blog.
10. Amazon Associates has indeed dropped me forever because North Carolina passed a new tax law that would tax all Amazon.com North Carolina customers a sales tax if Amazon had any business operations in the state. See Final N.C. budget bill has 'Amazon tax'. I had made a couple hundred dollars per year through that, so that is too bad.
With regard to all of this . . . "But he gives us more grace" (James 4:6).
Warm greetings to all,