This is probably the longest absence I have taken from this blog. By now I can't imagine too many people, if any, are keeping track of what it written here. For what it's worth, though, I thought I'd post a personal update, if for no other reason than to maintain a kind of 'electronic journal' of sorts. My son gifted me with an actual leather-bound journal at Father's Day, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to record my thoughts in this throw back to another time.
I finally officially enrolled for my thesis hours at Nashotah. The money was available, and with good-natured coaxing from my wife I used the funds as they had been intended, resisting the temptation to apply them to other needs. At any rate, enrolling for my thesis also benefits both of my children as they now have me listed as "parent in college." I think that our parental contribution amount was reduced by about $200 or so. Oh, well, everything counts, as they say.
I also attended the STM seminary at Nashotah last month to get an overview of the program and especially the thesis process, as I never really attended it last summer when I should have. They have a new director of the program and it seemed like a good opportunity to meet him and make sure I wasn't missing any details. The seminar was quite helpful, and even though I spent over 7 hours on the road for an hour and half presentation, it was worth every minute. One of those 'details' I had overlooked in the proposal was the extensive required bibliography. It has taken me some time to accumulate a respectable list, as the adviser recommended no less than five pages. That comes to as many as 70 listings, so I knew I had my work cut out for me. However, it is well worth it, as this forces you to organize the potential source material in one place.
To assist me with this effort I did some research online regarding reference management software. The STM adviser recommended Nota Benne, but the price tag was simply out of my range. I also checked out Docear, Qiqqa, and Zotero, among others, but they all seemed a bit more than I needed. Each one appeared quite helpful, and you can't argue with the free service in many cases. That said, I settled on a simple bibliographatic service at bibme. It formats in Turabian, which is what Nashotah requires, and the search and fill in feature has saved me a lot of time. If you need to generate a sizable bibliophraphy, I would suggest taking a look at this service. It's free. There are a few things I am not entirely satisfied with, but I can live with them. Perhaps in another post I will review it more thoroughly for those interested.
Besides this research I also had a significant first in my professional life. Some time back I was nominated for the presidency of the district where I serve. As quite a surprise to me I actually ended up in the top 5 candidates and therefore was permitted to stand for election. The custom in this district is to allow each candidate five minutes to address the assembly. To be honest, this was a rather nerve-wracking experience for me. In short, I lost, coming in second-to-last. I'm o.k with this, and in reflecting on the whole experience I realize that the honor itself was more than I would have even imagined a year ago. As to the office, I'm know that I could have fulfilled the responsibilities, but looking back I'm no longer sure if it would have been the best fit. When I addressed the assembly I stressed the pastoral nature of the position as I understood it. Others stressed their broader vision for the district. I think that the assembly majority was looking, among other things, for continuity and a man who was more connected to the current program direction. Oh, well. It was still a 'once-in-a-lifetime-experience' for me. If you are interested you can see the notification of my nomination in the convention workbook and the accompanying resume here. By the way, I was also nominated or regional vice president, and lost that election. Furthermore, I was nominated for District Secretary, and I lost that one too. Seeing a pattern here? In the end, my prior election as Circuit Counselor was therefore ratified and I now begin my third three year term.
Other than this I have kept busy with reading, never venturing very far without a book or my handy Nook in tow. I have wanted to post some book reviews here for a while, but let it suffice here to do a simple listing an summary. At the convention I picked up President Harrison's book A Little Book on Joy (CPH, 2009). It's a bit over 200 pages, packed into a small paperback. Just inside the cover is no less than 10 pages of endorsements. In short, it is an easily read book filled with many charming and poignant anecdotal illustrations along with some wonderful biblical insights on joy. Certainly a contrast with the usual popular Evangelical books touting how one can live the life of success with God's blessing. There are also a number of great pithy sayings he pens, worthy quoting in a sermon or elsewhere. Several times he offers the "secret to living a good news life in a bad news world," and I want to go back and catalog those for future reference. My bottom line? I recommend you buy the book and read it.
A second book I read on my Nook was The Rite - The Making of a Modern Exorcist (2009). Excellent! Highly recommended. If you would like to read my review, it is listed here under the date 7-28-2012, "Anonymous." Oops, I guest it's not anonymous anymore :)