And the Worst of 4 Years: My Greatest Challenges while Studying and Living in England

[For the more pleasant side of this tale, see the previous post on the greatest joys on life and and study in England] I took this pic before I knew the word “selfie.” I wanted to remember the particular moment of intense prayer and wrestling experienced on this hike. I was on the Dingle Peninsula….

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The Best of Four Years: A list for 2011–2015

As referenced in the last post, I feel as though my family and I are emerging from a season in such a way that we can look back and recognize the past four years do indeed amount to a particular season. Our lives in England continue, of course, but the strange and wonderful era of…

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It’s been 4 years… (of good and bad, but mostly good)

I essentially abandoned blogging after my PhD viva in October. Something had to give, I suppose, and I am thankful to my co-bloggers Joel and “Brez” for keeping things somewhat alive here at HR. Starting a new job which  has required starting a new academic route for “Free Church” folks at an Anglican seminary has…

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Leaving the Chaplaincy at St Mary’s College: Looking back…

I began serving as Chaplain to St Mary’s College at Durham University at the start of 2013. By this summer’s close, my tenure will end. When I began working full-time at St John’s College at the start of this academic year as a lecturer and tutor in theology and ministry, Mary’s allowed me to reduce…

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Video of Poem on Hopeful Realism

  If the idea of “hopeful realism,” the namesake of this blog, has been of any interest to you, please check out this video. My dear friend and poet, John Castling, has written a poem that captures the essence of a faith realistic enough to accommodate the horrors of a world stricken with death, disease,…

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Texts that “Scream”

The following is how I opened my class last term on the Old Testament Prophets at Cranmer Hall…   My son just finished reading The Goblet of Fire, my favorite book in the Harry Potter series, a series that bring us into an alternative world of magic and mystery. In preparing for this opening lecture…

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Community and Ministry in the Gospels and Letters of John

This Friday I am teaching at Cranmer Hall‘s “Explore Day,” from 10:30–4:00 (yes, there will be breaks in between, plus lunch!). The idea is to “explore” ministry-related themes in a biblical text (or collection of texts, as it were). Here is my outline for the day. If you are local and interested, email cranmer.admin@durham.ac.uk to…

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Reading Fiction on Christmas Eve’s Eve

  My wife is wrapping Christmas presents for the kids while I sit on the sofa nursing a pulled muscle in my back. We are listening to Chuck Hooten’s latest album. A new puppy is interrupting the gift-wrapping enterprise. I watch helplessly. My temporary immobility has afforded the opportunity to read fiction. Reading fiction is…

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The Sacrilege we call “Incarnation” (and the Divine Love of Drastic Measures)

The Word became flesh and dwelled among us… (from John 1:14) Last night was the annual Carol Service for St Mary’s College. As Chaplain, the organization of everything but the music was my responsibility (and for the online record, the St Mary’s Chapel Choir may be the best of its kind—anywhere). Intermingled with the ethereal,…

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