Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Paper Topic Change.

I decided to change my paper topic. I realized after talking with my professor that I was not engaging enough with primary sources and at this stage in the game, I really just want to understand Barth more deeply rather than decide from the beginning that I am going to negatively critique him.

I have realized that my primary concern and fascination when it comes to theology is not so much the content of certain theologies but rather the reasoning and method behind said theologies. Whenever I read a radically new construction of a certain doctrine, I am not so much preoccupied with "what" is being said but "why." It has been very interesting to realize this about myself, and seeing this become so apparent in almost every question that I ask, whether in my own mind, in discussion with my peers, or in the classroom setting. I love the theology of Barth, not so much for "what" he does but for "why" and "how" he formulates his theology.

Therefore, I am going to attempt to combine my two presentations - the first on Barth's theological methodology (relying exclusively on his work "Anselm: Fides Quarens Intellectum") and his doctrine of election. My focus will not be Barth's ultimate conclusion that all humanity is elected in the electing and elected God of Jesus Christ but rather "why" and "how" he comes to this conclusion. I am particularly engaging with his critique of the Christian tradition and traditional reformed understandings of the doctrine. It will take a lot of time and effort. Hopefully I will produce something of worth. Most of all, I desire to truly understand Barth and grasp his concepts in order to represent an accurate representation of his theological method and reasonings in my paper. Such a serious theologian deserves at least that much from me.

In other news, PhD programs are never far from my thoughts. I am at a loss as to what I should do. I desire to pursue doctoral studies but I have a deep insecurity regarding my theological preparation. I have considered applying for the MDiv program at Harvard and Princeton since there are no advanced degrees offered for students that hold a general masters. There is only one doctoral program in the United States that interests me primarily for possibility of being able to study under Dr. Paul D. Jones - the University of Virginia. However, I have long considered writing a dissertation under the supervision of John Webster who currently teaches at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. To be honest, my primary concern is finding an advisor with whom I best fit. I have only found two men under whom I'd like to study. I'd be more than honored to work with Dr. George Hunsinger, but in order to get into the PhD program at Princeton, one is required to hold an MDiv. Unless I get that first, Princeton is not an option.

If you think of it, pray for me. I need direction. I am simply a servant of the Lord wanting to be faithful to the service of the gospel. All I need is for Him to show me where He desires me to go.

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