I Am Now a Master…of Arts

I passed my French Language Exam and so have fulfilled all of the requirements for my Master of Arts in Historical Theology degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Huzzah!

As such, I am making the move to my new blog over at patristicsandphilosophy.wordpress.com where I can focus more on my primary interests: Patristics and Ancient/Hellenistic philosophy. It will be less personal thoughts and more the product of actual research (who would have thought?!). Less posts, hopefully more substance.

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Health for Your Mind

It is, I would contend, nearly impossible to be ignorant of the implications of one’s diet. Everyone knows what food is unhealthy and what food is not and it could be said that the modern sin is not sexual licentiousness as it was for yonder days, but simply being fat. The so-called “green” revolution is a similar, though externalized, project aimed at the health of the environment. While I’m not against either of these agenda’s, I am surprised that little is being done for the health of the mind. That’s only for crazy people. I can spend all day engorging myself with delicacies of the nonsense and drivel that is constantly imposing itself upon me through various media (internet, television, radio, advertisements, etc…), and be considered relatively sane and normal. But if I pig out on greasy and unhealthy food, I get the scarlet “G” stitched upon me. Parents who are strict as to what television, movies, and music their children consume are oppressive. Just say the word, “homeschooler” and visions of no make-up, no movies, and no fun readily appear.

There is something inconsistent about all of this.

When will the revolution for the health of the mind begin? When will I be able to say that I have no need for internet nor television in my house and not enjoy the harassment of my compatriots? Or, even better, that I don’t have a facebook account! GASP! SHOCK! “But––but––but,” they stutter, “how do you, like, you know, survive?!” An eloquent question. What could I possibly do when I’m not reading a hundred different blogs, twittering, facebooking, ordering my coffee, watching my twenty favorite television show, and hanging out with all my friends whilst we commit an unrelenting genocide of the English language. It’s not like I have a job or other responsibilities such as trying to be a good husband, citizen, friend (for the few that I have), and, most importantly, Christian.

You’re right! How much time and effort could it take to maintain a clean home, clean finances, and clean (i.e., faithful) marriage? (warning: watch out for falling sarcasm!). Not to mention all of the extra work I have to do if I do want to get into a good Ph.D. program (study for the GRE and become a proficient reader in French, Latin, Greek, and someday German).

So, I’ve been pondering a list for organize my life by priorities for my overall health, mind and body:

  1. Healthy Spirit (i.e., prayer)
  2. Healthy Marriage
  3. Healthy Mind (i.e., selective consumption and mental exercises through learning)
  4. Healthy Friendships
  5. Healthy Body (i.e., physical exercise)

Such strict categories are seldom attainable and they all are interconnected in some way, but they are something at which I wish to aim.

Transition

I’ve never really liked the name I chose for this blog, nor the purpose. It always seemed too general. It worked well, I guess, while I was doing my degree in Historical Theology, but I want something more specific to my area of interest. That is why at some point yet to be determined, I will be transitioning to a new blog address: patristicsandphilosophy.wordpress.com (note: there is no content there that is not already here). I hope to keep the posts there specifically about the Early Church and Ancient/Hellenistic Philosophy and their interaction. Maybe I’ll post non-Patristic related material here, though I haven’t decided that yet. I don’t really want my blog to be used as a type of social media outlet, but a serious researching tool in which others can interact with my research to help make me a better scholar.

Two Reasons for Not Celebrating the Fourth of July

1) Revolution is not a God-given self-evident inalienable right, especially for Christians.

2) It is an example of a missed opportunity for the Christians in the U.K. to stand up against the injustices occurring in the American Colonies. If William Wilberforce could devote his life to freeing the slaves, then why not for better treatment of the Colonists?

A note of irony: John Wesley, whose Methodist movement was one of the most influential Christian movements in the history of America, was against the American Revolution.

Personal Reflections

  • I still waste time online, most recently by a comment debate. This takes time away from doing my paper and studying for the GRE. It almost makes me want to close my blog so that I can 1) use my time more wisely, and 2) cease making an ass of myself.
  • While studying for the GRE, I’m reminded how ignorant I am and how much I want to give my children a large vocabulary (whether they like it or not). I was raised to be in touch with my inward emotional status, but never given the tools to express it. Thus, I rely on hijacked phraseology and suffer from a  recurring misuse of terms and phrases. English is a beautiful language and do not take advantage of its potential.
  • While the internet gives us a plethora of resources at our fingertips, its ability to distract and our inability to exercise self-control makes us not only ignorant, but stupid. It’s all right there, but we (I) don’t use it.
  • I will never accomplish anything great in my field of study, but I hope that above all else I will be a good Christian, husband, father, and son.
  • Most of the reading I do is for vainglory – to say that I have read “it” – instead of knowledge.
  • I am impatient.
  • After every interaction (in person or online) with others, I often feel guilty for saying too much or too little (or something just plain stupid).
  • I care more about finding solidarity than the truth.
  • When I do talk, I talk too much.

Summer Class and Birthday Books

Even though the semester isn’t officially over, I’m already thinking about my summer class: Readings in Fourth Century Trinitarian Theology. The goal of the class is to summarize the key players, events, and ideas of the “Arian controversy” including some discussion of the precursors (i.e., Origen) to the theological dispute. Here are the books

  • The Search of the Christian Doctrine of God by R. P. C. Hanson (875pp +)
  • Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God by Christopher A. Beeley (323pp +)
  • Early Arianism–A View of Salvation by Robert C. Gregg and Dennis E. Groh (194pp +)

I’m also excited about some of recent birthday gifts.

  • Custom embosser to clearly mark my books as mine. 🙂
  • Plato: Cratylus, Parmenides, Greater Hippias, Lesser Hippias (Loeb Classical Library)
  • Neoplatonism by Pauliina Remes (207pp +; edited by my wife with a “Jesus” sticker over the naked Hypatia :))
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (tr. by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky; (776pp +)

When am I going to find time to practice French and study for the GRE?!