Birthday Reflections on (Almost) a Year of Blogging

I started blogging in mid-February 2014. So I really should wait another month to reflect on the past year. But today is my birthday, so I think it’s appropriate to take an opportunity to look back.

A Posture of Gratitude

I am, first of all, grateful to God for the gift of life—this fragile, contingent existence we have as human beings, subject to all the ups and downs of joy and suffering. Despite the difficulty, which often accompanies the joy, I receive every moment (and another year) as a gift.

I am grateful also for the gift of salvation through Christ. It is amazing that the incomprehensible Creator of the universe should enter human existence and suffer death so that death would be overcome and we can participate in the renewal of life that comes with resurrection—a renewal that begins even now, with the ultimate hope of a new heaven and a new earth.

And I am grateful for the continuing presence of God’s Spirit—in my life, in the life of my family, my friends, my church, and my seminary (all of which are signposts of grace and means of support in a life that cannot be lived in isolation).

So I am aware, at this milestone in my life, that the essential posture of healthy existence is gratitude, a response of openness and thanksgiving to our loving Creator and Redeemer, who continually calls us into newness, often through other people.

I am specifically grateful for my loving wife, Marcia, who has been a faithful friend and partner on a life journey that has had many twists and turns. And kudos to my two sons, Andrew and Kevin (both in their twenties), who have figured out a great deal about life and have become their own persons. I am immensely grateful to God for the gift of family, both near and far.

And I am a part of an amazing church, the Community of the Savior, whose commitment to the ancient-future Christian faith sustains me and empowers me for a life of ministry.

I thank God for the opportunity I have had to teach over the years at different institutions—first at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto while pursuing my doctoral degree; then at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School for six years; then ten years of teaching undergraduates at Roberts Wesleyan College; and now the last (almost) four years at Northeastern Seminary (NES).

I’d have to say that NES is simply the best environment in which I have ever worked. I have many wonderful students and amazing faculty and staff colleagues; and my Dean, Doug Cullum, is specially gifted by God with theological insight, deep compassion, and organizational skills par excellence (and he is also one of the pastors at my church; not sure how he does it all).

And it was Lisa Bennett, Associate VP for Communication & Enrollment at NES, who prompted me to begin blogging.

Blogging

Blogging—right. I was going to talk about that.

The first thing to say is that blogging has turned out to be just a hard as I thought it would be when I wrote my first post on the difficulty I foresaw in blogging as an introvert.

But it has also been rewarding. Through this website (and the various social media sites that this blog is linked to) I have been able to get into contact with friends and colleagues from the past and I’ve met lots of new people who share similar interests.

The biggest problem with blogging is that it is extremely time-consuming. Maybe some people can just knock off a few comments and post them without much thought. But I tend to agonize over what I’m going to say; writing a blog post takes a long time (especially if it is a content post, and not just an announcement). And then I edit, edit, edit. And then I edit some more.

When I look back at my second blog post (“Creation to Eschaton—And the Kitchen Sink?”) in which I suggested the topics I expected to post on, I see that I have accomplished only some of my predictions so far. I have posted on topics of creation, evolution, suffering, doubt, redemption, and the eschaton. But I certainly haven’t addressed all the specific issues I listed there. And I haven’t talked much about Caribbean theology (except in telling some of my life story). The good news is I haven’t run out of ideas for blog posts; I have lots of topics left to discuss (and new ones constantly arise).

I’m also aware that I began two multi-part book reviews (one on Bruce Glass’s Exploring Faith and Reason, the other on Ron Osborn’s Death Before the Fall) that I have not yet completed. I hope to get to those shortly.

I’m also interested in suggestions and questions from readers of this blog that might lead to other topics (some have already given me ideas for new posts that I want to write in the coming year).

So, for now, one last note of gratitude: Thanks to all my readers; I value your interaction (either through posted comments or emails).

So here’s to another year; I pray that my posts might stimulate and encourage you in your life, your thinking, and your faith.

A Song about All Things New—”Wait in Hope” by Stefanie Potter

Stefanie Potter is a 2008 graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College, with a major in Religion and Philosophy. During her time at Roberts, Stefanie took three undergraduate courses with me, including “Exploring the Christian Worldview,” a course that examines the implications of God’s redemption of creation for living in postmodern western culture.

Since graduation, Stefanie has gone on to become an accomplished singer/songwriter, with a wonderful voice and insightful lyrics. One of her songs, “Wait in Hope” (on God’s redemption of creation) has been chosen by the website “The High Calling” to be thematically linked with this week’s theme of “All Things New” (the song contains the lyric “You are making all things new”). Stefanie’s song goes well with my own article on this theme (“God’s Bringing Creation to Its Glorious Destiny”).

You should check out Stehanie’s song, as well as her Tweets and her Facebook page.

 

All Things New: God’s Bringing Creation to Its Glorious Destiny

There is a fascinating website called “The High Calling,” dedicated to a Christian view of work and vocation. Each week they feature a different theme. The theme for the last week of October 2014 was “Designed to Work.” I recently posted (with permission) an article by Bob Robinson that was part of this theme, called “Made in God’s Image.”

Bob invited me to write an article on the theme for the second week of January 2015, which is “All Things New.” My article, entitled “Bringing Creation to Its Glorious Destiny,” tells how I moved from being a dualist, with a sacred/secular worldview, to embracing a wider vision of God’s redemption of creation.

I recommend you check out this wonderful website for its range of interesting articles (print and video) on a holistic view of work and vocation.