Next week, In Earthen Vessels marks the end of its second year. Last year I took the opportunity to explain why Matt and I had decided to start writing again, as well as to highlight the posts that had garnered the most readers in the previous year. Much of what I said then remains true, so I won’t repeat too much of it. But there have also been several changes, the biggest of which is that I’ve gone back to school full-time. So instead of my preferred blend of literature, history, philosophy and theology, I’m neck-deep in calculus, statistics, operations research, and production management (most of which I’m still trying to figure out).
So while my focus here continues to be on fleshing out and demonstrating the biblical relationship between “Christ and Culture,” our posts over the next fifteen months (or until the Lord returns!) will be an even stranger mix of (1) previous work in the humanities (some posted for the first time, some revised and reposted), and (2) some of the newer material from my current course of study. Throughout, my priorities remain essentially the same: (1) keep family first, (2) focus on my responsibilities with church and school, and (3) post new or revised articles whenever time allows. Nevertheless, I still have a lot in mind, so here’s where I hope to take things over the next year or so.
#1: Eyes to See. This series was borne out of a handful of discussions with friends and brethren on two continents about issues relating to science and faith, angels and demons, and miracles and the occult. What I think unites these disparate threads is a proper understanding of how the Bible and science both point to the one, true God of the Bible, and what they both have to say on these subjects. Unfortunately, our series was overtaken by events at the beginning of the semester, with at least five additional posts outlined but unfinished. Lord willing, opportunities will present themselves to complete and share the remaining posts sooner rather than later.
#2: The Greeks. When I first began my graduate work, I thought I’d be majoring in Ancient and Classical History. And though I soon broadened my studies, classical history and literature have remained an important part of my reading and writing. Which means I have about ninety pages on the ancient Greeks itching for revision and synthesis (and a six-year-old who wants to read it all in sequence). Some of this has already been posted, so I will simply share it when it comes up again in the new line-up, but much of it will be new to most of you. The material ranges from full-length graduate papers on Aristotle and Sparta, to shorter responses or musings on Greek texts or themes, as well as a couple of book reviews. But since this will take about twenty-four weeks to get it all out to you, you can whet your appetite by catching up with some of our existing material on the Greeks. Later, I hope to do much the same thing with successive series on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (though much shorter) along with a few stand-alone posts in between.
#3: Statistics. One of my standing assignments each week in my stats course (and maybe next term as well) is to identify and evaluate a fairly recent treatment of statistics in the media. Though numbers are not generally my cup of tea, I have always been interested in demography and polls, and have recently shared the findings of some significant surveys on global religions and human origins. You should also check out our Gleanings feature on the Pew Research Center’s second U.S. Religious Landscape Study. I enjoy these studies because they help me more clearly visualize and perceive underlying sociological trends related to theological, philosophical, and civic issues. So on weeks where I’m simply re-sharing an older post on the Greeks, I’ll share one of these short stats posts, as well.
If anything, time constraints have also heightened the importance of our weekly Gleanings post. Gleanings came about simply because I realized I had entirely too much to say, and not nearly enough time to say it. So, taking my cues from some of my favorite reads, I decided to post an original article each Monday, and my own favorite links on Fridays. One thing I have begun to do more often lately is to organize these links thematically as trends present themselves. Some of these features I hope to expand into other projects later, but until then, I’ve added a new Gleanings category to facilitate easier viewing for both you and me.
And in case you’re a newer reader, I should also point out a disclaimer I’ve mentioned before. The focus of Gleanings is on thoughtful reading, rather than writings I fully agree with. Occasionally, I’ll caveat the post with a snarky title, and in exceptionally rare cases provide an explicit disavowal. Most of the time, though, you’ll have to read between the lines on the title I give the link (almost always different from the original) and then see for yourself whether or not it’s worth the read (which I always determine by reading it anyway). So, expect the links from First Things, BioLogos, and FiveThirtyEight (a new favorite) to keep coming!
Well, that’s it for now. I pray that our humble work here will continue to build up the body of Christ and encourage you in your own walk with the Lord.
God bless and Godspeed!