Bonhoeffer, Religious Education, Secularism, and the quest for a dissertation topic

Going for the trifecta here this week. 

For those interested I’m listening to nothing but the faint hum of my desktop computer fan as I write this. I’m too mentally tired to go to the trouble to pick a song to listen to while I write, but not too tired to write. Does anyone else understand this phenomenon?

About a Friday a month I hang out with one of my wife’s colleagues who has become a good friend. He’s an English professor at the university that my secondary school is located on the campus of. He’s currently working on a dissertation with the University of London on Bonhoeffer’s contribution to philosophical ethics, and tonight we were so tired that he shared the details with me at length. Have you ever been so tired that you were too lazy to summarize anything? I think many have experienced this. In any case, to summarize now it was rather impressive and I look forward to his finished product. Another colleague of his and of my wife just finished a dissertation from a South African university, where he is from, on the distinctives of religious education in comparison to secular education by doing original research on a Jewish school, a catholic school, a protestant school and I believe a public school. The results were fascinating and really close to home for me, as a Bible teacher in a school that is accredited with both the Korean government and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). My school lives in a constant identity crisis of how much to bend our emphases toward the demands of public universities and what each faculty and admin thinks regarding the rubric for distinctive Christian education. Somehow we educate children in the midst of these regular hot takes. God’s grace alone, perhaps. 

Last year and on into the early part of this year I was doing research on a dissertation in the area of cross-cultural leadership. I got just far enough into it to realize I wouldn’t have time over the next three years to complete it, nor the stable environment with which to work on original research on my school. We’re in the middle of some major transitions, including some that double and possibly triple my workload. That’s just life. However, I’m still on the quest for a dissertation topic related to missiology and religious studies. It’s very challenging to narrow one’s interest down to the level of a specific research topic to focus on and write about for several years, and I’m really impressed with my friends who are doing it or have done it. I think education is a wonderful and powerful thing, and a gift from God in fact. I take pleasure in learning in such a way that I find it worshipful, as it stirs my heart toward affection for the Creator even as it stirs my mind toward deeper knowledge in any given field of study. I hope my students come out of my classes, and our school, with the same feelings and thoughts. 

That’s it for tonight. I’m finally too tired to even write. Goodnight and Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.  

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