Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Freedom, Travel, and the Frontier

I have been reticent to post recently because I have been traveling with family. This trip has served as both an amazing opportunity for me to see several campuses and meet with several faculty members of some really amazing schools that I will be applying to in the fall! So, I get the best of both worlds, traveling and enjoying my beautiful wife, children, and yes, even in-laws all the while getting the chance to meet some incredible scholars and see new campuses!

Thus far, I have been to Notre Dame and it was an absolutely gorgeous campus. The two New Testament scholars I had the chance to meet with were exceptionally warm and kind to me. Overall, Notre Dame has an amazing Ph.D. program and it was exciting to learn more about it.

Secondly, I visited the University of Chicago and met with one of their prominent NT scholars. While I likely will not apply there, more so because of the location of the campus in light of my wife and two small children, it was a tremendous experience. The students I met were brilliant, articulate, and warm. I am very glad I had the chance to finally visit the campus. Believe me, if I were a single man, downtown Chicago and that amazing campus would be on the top of my list.

Next up, tomorrow, I visit Vanderbilt University. I'm thrilled with this prospect as well. While I understand that all the programs I am interested in are the most difficult programs in the country to gain acceptance to, just the experience of visiting the campuses and meeting such notable scholars has been an invaluable life experience, and I have no doubt that my meeting tomorrow will be equally (or possibly more so) exciting.

If you haven't noticed, my sentiments provide enough indisputable evidence that in fact I am a nerd at heart! How I went from the depths of existence, living on the street, whose only dismal future expectation was either prison or death, to competing in academia and loving the life that I have been given (several) second, third, and fourth "chances" to live, I will never know...well, I do know, which is why I'm driven in the field of New Testament studies. I have known several dark nights of the soul, but I have known a whole life in the shadows of society, dejected, and alone, and yet while I often question what Jesus really looked like, taught like, and what his life and death mean, theologically and historically, I have a conviction that God indeed has been in the process, above the process, even yes, through the process, the journey, that I call faith/life. And in all my historico-critical meanderings, doubts, and theses, I know there is something, someone, beyond, through, and in this thing we call life...

No comments: