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Birthday Personal Update: Th.D. Program, Kids, Amy, and Social Networking

Today is my birthday--a special day but I am thankful for every day for three reasons: I am thankful for my doctoral studies, for spending time with my kids, and for my wife's work at our church.  I have given updates below on all three plus my updated social networking information.   

1. I am thoroughy enjoying the Th.D. (Doctor of Theology) program at Duke Divinity School

I have the opportunity to read great books on the church, mission and New Testament and converse with great colleagues and professors.  I finished my first year's coursework in which I did a lot of work in New Testament with Richard Hays, as well as significant reflection on the practices of the church in the writings of Rowan Williams and John Howard Yoder.  Now I have another year of coursework including German and Spanish language exams to do.  Next year (year 3) I will be doing preliminary / comprehensive exams in my two concentrations (The Practice of Leading Christian Communities and Institutions and New Testament) and working through my dissertation proposal.  Then the fourth year I will be writing the dissertation.   

This fall I am taking three courses:

CHURMIN 399:THEOLOGY OF PASTORAL MINISTRY with Ken Carder.  Carder is a retired bishop of the United Methodist Church.  I am also serving as a preceptor for his course CHURMIN 110: Introduction to Christian Ministry.  I have posted the books for that course in the right column.  Carder has also done quite a bit of writing for the Lilly Endowment Inc. Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program at Duke Divinity School.  In this course, I will begin by reading Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care and Richard John Neuhaus's Freedom for Ministry.   

NEWTEST 399: MISSION & CHURCH IN PAUL with Douglas Campbell.  Campbell is a New Testament professor with significant interests in theology and ecclesiology.

AMXTIAN 294: SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN RELIGION with Mark Chaves. Chaves oversees the National Congregations Study, the most comprehensive survey of American congregations.  Chaves wrote a book on the 1998 data called Congregations in America (Harvard University Press, 2004). The data for the 2006 study is beginning to be published.  Chaves has a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology at Duke as well as Duke Divinity School.     

2. I am enjoying spending time with our two boys. 

Ryan is three and Jacob will turn one on September 16.  DSCN4178 I get to watch the boys Tuesdays, Thursdays, and parts of Saturdays and Sundays while Amy works (see below).  I have a separate blog where I am jotting down the funny things they say and do and basic developmental milestones.  Rowell Kids: Chronicling the lives of our kids. The boys are a delight.  I am trying to instill three things in the boys: Bible, books, and balls!  I am also often conscious that our kids will learn most from the kind of people we are.  In college, I want my kids to be able to say about me: my dad loves people.  What a challenge!  

3. I am thankful that my wife Amy is serving at Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church. 

She is the Director of the Children's Ministry--Elementary age.  I have blogged about the church before at this post.  Amy continues to care for volunteers, to find where people are gifted, and to discern direction for the ministry.  I am thankful that she can do work she feels fulfilled doing and that we can survive financially with her 20 hrs per week salary and my stipend (which I am deeply grateful for) from the Foundation for Evangelism.

Other news about Blacknall:

  • I am teaching an 8-week course this fall on Wednesday evenings on Philippians with Duke New Testament Ph.D. student Tim Wardle.  It is part of "Table Talk" where dinner will be served beforehand.  For the five courses, there are currently about 225 people signed up.  
  • As far as I know, Blacknall continues to search for a Youth Pastor--we would love to have a friend join us.  See my post: Director of Youth Ministries position at Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham, NC

Other social networking (Twitter, Facebook and Blogs I'm Following):

I have been using Twitter a bit.  You can only write 140 characters so it lends itself to short posts about what you are up to.  You can watch what I have been doing the last few weeks:

or "follow me". 

I have also been changing my status a bit at Facebook account:

Facebook: 179202317

I basically keep my Facebook friends to people I know.  

Below are the 160 blogs I follow on Google Reader. 

My "Blogs Andy Rowell is following" Blogroll