It has been over a year since I posted to this blog, and my posts were getting sporadic even then.
There are very good reasons for this.
In addition to pastoring Bedford Road Baptist Church, I was also working full-time (12-15 credit hours per semester) on my Master of Divinity in Church History. Originally, I had planned to just take a course here and there; but then I realized it was far more cost-effective to just bang all the classes out as quickly as I could. This has required far more of my time and energy than I anticipated that it would.
The good news is that I am preparing for my final semester. Since August 2014, I have completed 20 classes, transferred or tested out of 5 and have just 6 remaining. (The graphic says I need 7 classes, but this is because it does not account for a course substitution I had to do.) Once this is done, my big plan is to continue on to a doctorate; but I am going to take some time off before I get into that.
In the meantime, I have also earned my shodan (black belt) in Shodokan Aikido and devoted a great deal of time to connecting with some great people in the aikido world. Among other things, this has meant acquiring a rudimentary, technical vocabulary of Japanese (about 200 words) and struggling to understand the writing system.
The net result has been that I have written about 60,000 words in the past 15 months or so, but there has not been a lot of time for non-school writing. Some of the things I wrote about will undoubtedly find their way onto Unorthodox Faith in the coming year. Some of them will remain safely within the confines of academia.
In terms of reading, I have not done a whole lot of that except for school as well. Each class has had at least three textbooks, and I have also completely read at least three or four resources and referenced numerous others for each research paper I have written. A lot of my time has been devoted to plowing through boring books so I could answer obscure questions on exams or write coherent papers. (There have been some really, really awful books.)
Here are the textbooks that I have read since August 2014 (and yes, I read them all):
- Beilby, James K. Thinking About Christian Apologetics: What It Is and Why We Do It. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011.
- Bettenson, Henry and Chris Maunder, eds. Documents of the Christian Church. 4th ed. London: Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4. Minneapolis: First Fortress Press, 2003.
- Bruce, F. F. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977. ISBN: 9780802847782.
- Bush, L. Russ. The Advancement. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003.
- Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.
- Duvall, J. Scott, and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.
- Earley, Dave. Personal Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High Impact Leaders. Chattanooga: Tennessee. AMG Publishers, 2008.
- Earley, Dave. Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2008.
- Earley, Dave, and Rod Dempsey. Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013.
- Edman, Victor R. They Found the Secret. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984.
- Falwell, Jerry. Building Dynamic Faith. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007.
- Fearon III, H. Dana, and G. Mikoski. Straining at the Oars: Case Studies in Pastoral Leadership. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013.
- Fee, Gordon D., and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. 4th ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.
- Ferguson, Everett. Church History Volume 1: From Christ to Pre-Reformation. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.
- Flemming, Dean. Contextualization in the New Testament: Patterns of Theology and Mission. 1st ed. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2005.
- Gaustad, Edwin S., & Leigh E. Schmidt. Religious History of America: The Heart of the American Story from Colonial Times to Today. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004.
- Groothuis, Douglas. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011.
- Kapic, Kelly. A Little Book for New Theologians. Downers Grove: IVP, 2012.
- Klauber, Martin I., and Scott M. Manestch, eds. The Great Commission: Evangelicals and the History of World Missions. Nashville: B & H Academic, 2008.
- Klein, William W., Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard, Jr. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Rev. ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004.
- LaSor, William S., Hubbard, David A., and Frederic W. Bush. Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1996.
- Lea, Thomas D., and David A. Black. The New Testament: Its Background and Message. 2nd ed. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003.
- MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005.
- McBeth, Leon. The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1987.
- McDill, Wayne. 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching. 2nd ed. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2007.
- McGrath, Alistair. Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution—A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First. New York: HarperOne, 2007.
- Meyer, F. B. Expository Preaching. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2001.
- Olson, Roger. The Story of Christian Theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity. 1999.
- Platt, David. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Portland: Oregon. Multnomah, 2010.
- Pratico, Gary D., and Miles V. Van Pelt. Basics of Biblical Hebrew – with CD. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.
- Putman, Jim, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman. DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.
- Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Crusades: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.
- Sanders, Fred and Klaus Issler, Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2007.
- Scott, J. J., Jr. Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000.
- Smither, Edward L. Mission in the Early Church: Themes and Reflections. Eugene: Cascade Books, 2014.
- Spurgeon, Charles. An All Around Ministry. London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1972.
- Spurgeon, Charles. Lectures to My Students. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979.
- Stanford, Miles J. The Complete Green Letters. Grand Rapids: Michigan. Zondervan, 1983.
- Tennent, Timothy C. Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. 1st ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.
- Tucker, Ruth. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004.
- Vanhoozer, Kevin J., Charles A. Anderson, and Michael J. Sleasman. Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends. 1st ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.
- Vyhmeister, Nancy J., and Terry D. Robertson. Quality Research Papers for Students of Religion and Theology. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.
- Weston, Anthony. A Rulebook for Arguments. 4th ed. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2009.
- Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: Colorado. Navpress, 1991.
- Wright, Christopher J. H. Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995.
- Yarnell, Malcolm B. The Formation of Christian Doctrine. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2007.
I have nine more textbooks cued up for this semester and two for the summer. Then I will be back to reading for pleasure (something I have missed). I am not going to lie. This has been a rough 15 months; but it is almost over. My wife and daughter have been very patient; and I am ready to get back to having time to hike, bike and relax.