100,000 hits – a celebration and reflections on blogging

Just a couple of days ago, I reached 100,000 hits. This is very exciting for me as I have invested a lot in having good discussions on my blog and providing useful information. Why do I blog? At first, it was almost purely a way of saying ‘There was no one there to tell me how to do this or that when applying for my phd program, so I want to help others’.  Of course, as I have progressed in my phd I have tried to blog with my thoughts on giving papers, writing articles, ‘doing’ conferences, etc…  I know that I have a subjective opinion, but I am glad some of you have found my advice useful.

As my time in Durham has progressed, I have turned my blog more towards academic news and book reviews.  What I DONT want to be is one of those blogs that essentially becomes a glorified ‘dear diary’.  To be honest, I get tired of bloggers just sort of ruminating about things.  I like blog posts to be as professional as possible, but I don’t expect them to be on the level of an article.  I like to read blogs over breakfast, so I want something light.

When I have gotten a full-time post somewhere, I think I will finally begin publicly offering new research on my blog.  I have avoided that so far merely because I am trying to get my ‘original ideas’ published in journals first.  Once I am settled in a job (God willing), I plan to do more discussions of my own research.

In the immediate future, I have some fun things planned for my blog.  I have several interviews in the works.  Gordon Fee has agreed to do an interview on his Galatians commentary.  Peter Head will answer some questions on letter-carriers.

Next year (2009-2010), I will be temporarily teaching at Ashland Theological Seminary.  It is not a full-time post, but I humbly accept whatever they offer.  I will be teaching Greek as well as a couple of other things.  I plan to translate Tobit in my spare time so you may see some posts on the Greek text of Tobit.

I am thinking of writing a book on Paul and the problem of suffering, pain, and death.  I struggle with a chronic stomach illness and I have thought a lot about this topic.  A major chapter in my thesis is on the mystery of suffering and death in the new life in Christ.  I will be offering some thoughts on that.

My major research for the next few years (3-5 years?) will be on Paul’s use of military metaphors and how he borrows from the ethos of military self-discipline, morality, and cooperation to form the moral identity of his converts.  I plan to read Xenophon and Tacitus this coming year (and if I have time Thucydides, Valerius Maximus, Josephus, the Maccabean narratives, and Plutarch).  You might get some of my thoughts on military life in the ancient world.  Of course I will be thinking about how this relates to the New Testament and its environment.

I have tossed around the idea of doing some kind of Christmas devotional (pamphlet?) that beginning Greek students could use after their first term of Greek (Sept-Dec) and before their second (Jan-April/May).  What I have done sometimes in the past is do some Greek commentary on the birth narratives that could be used by 1st year Greek students just before Christmas and after their first semester of Greek.  This would help link what they are learning to their spiritual life.  Of course, they will not have had a full year’s Greek, but I am able to work with basic noun things and basic verbal ideas.  Anyway, maybe I will do a 50 page lulu self-published pamphlet.

So, that’s life right now.  Thanks again for all of you who proudly read my blog and support it in word-of-mouth promotion.  I am eager to post, and to post more often.