Seasons: silly, scholarly and serious

The last couple of months have been quite busy for me. I imagine that this will continue to be the case for the next 50 or so years, d.v., so I guess that shouldn’t be any excuse for complaint.

On a serious note, we found out several weeks ago that my mother-in-law has cancer. Thankfully, the tumor was discovered at an early stage and the doctors are optimistic about a full recovery. But everything else in your life               freezes                       when you or a loved one hear the “c” word. Plans are put on hold. Work, school and other responsibilities are suddenly second fiddle to your loved one’s treatment and roller-coaster condition. But God has been good to us all through it, and he has given Claudia a peaceful, believing spirit that offers encouragement to all of us.

On a scholarly note, my dissertation rolls along in its early stages. My ambitious goal is to be about one-quarter finished by conference time in November, which means that I have quite a bit to do to get these three chapters in shape. Prof. Jonker is very encouraging, but he can only provide so much help and support–it really is an independent project. In order to keep myself mentally focused and emotionally stable, I’ve revisited some blog posts and emails I wrote last year during the difficult days working on my master’s thesis. I do my best to keep in mind that I’ve done this before, and I can do it again. My thesis was 51,000 words, and my dissertation will be between 80,000 and 100,000–so I try to think in terms of, “a master’s-thesis-and-a-half.”

And God gives me little tastes of the prize before I win it. I have a week-long teaching opportunity in Wisconsin coming up in October, and a couple of other “irons in the fire.” Also, it seems I’ve suddenly become “That Evangelical Lamentations Guy” in the area. In addition to my upcoming presentation at ETS in November, I have two opportunities to speak at seminaries–one local evangelical seminary, one mainline/Jewish seminary in NYC–on an evangelical reading of Lamentations. It’s very rewarding for an aspiring scholar to say something that others feel is of value.

On silly season: the level of political discourse in this country is lower than the belly of a snake in Death Valley. Conversations about bootleg fundraiser-dinner videos, “You didn’t build that,” taxing now or taxing later (a.k.a., borrowing)–it’s all become so sickening. This morning Corrie and I were watching Ron Paul videos (I’m a fan–don’t agree with everything he says, but he’s honest and by far the most sensible candidate out there), and we came across some debate “highlights” from last year and 2007-08. Some of the “hits” are so crazy that would have thought they were from a sitcom if I hadn’t seen them on TV at the time. These crews of buffoons–irrespective both parties–are leading our country to hell, starting with spending and currency. Democracy is no solution–it’s part of the problem. I really have very little hope for this country. Maybe I should cash out my 401(k) and live it up, or give it all to missionaries. Thankfully, Pete’s sensible post has kept me from going off the edge…

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About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, living and learning in Eastern Europe…an Old Testament professor and former liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth…eldest sibling to three, brother-in-law to Josh and Hannah…uncle to Marshall.
This entry was posted in Culture-Economics-Society, Research. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Seasons: silly, scholarly and serious

  1. Pingback: Best of 2012 | think hard, think well

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