Further Study?

I have been pondering doing further study. I am not a masochist. This year I will be taking the time to pray about it, research possibilities, talk with Danelle and our Upstream team about it and see whether I can begin some new study in 2007. It would only be one unit a semester, but because life is in such good balance at the moment I am reluctant to add any load that would throw it into a spin. I am concerned about whether I could add it to my life and not lose time for the things that matter. Hence the year to chew it thru and talk with others about it.

If you are in the ‘study loop’ and can offer some suggestions as to where would be suitable then I am happy to hear. I’ll give you a few ideas as to what I am thinking.

The reasons for study… in order of priority:

– There is some stuff I’d really like to explore in a disciplined and full way. If I get to do what I’d like to do I think it would make me a much better missionary.

– I now study less than when I was a ‘full time pastor’ because I don’t need to (I preach /teach less) and I miss the regularity of it. (You may just say ‘get more disciplined’, but that’s easier said than done). I don’t engage my brain as rigourously as I would like to.

– It will allow me freedom to teach in Bible colleges. I do this already, but for some my only having a BD is an issue. They require a masters or a doctorate.

What I’d like to do is primarily in the area of church history and Australian history. I don’t really care if its a Masters in Theology or a Doctorate in Ministry or whatever else. (I don’t think I’m likely to hang the title ‘Dr’ over anything I do!)

My interest is in developing a really good understanding of what has transpired over the last 2000 years of church history – the different issues and debates that were had and the learning we can glean from this, especially as the world and church change. I’d then like to look at both Australian church history and Australian history in general to place the Oz church in its more specific historical context. From there I’d like to reflect on where we are at right now in the life of the Church and our mission in the west. I think the ability to observe patterns over 2000 years as well as the insight to detect what is ‘new’ and what is merely recycled will be valuable at this point in history and will help us avoid mistakes and the arrogance of thinking we are something ‘new’ or ‘special’.

I have done a couple of church history units and really enjoyed them, but they were while I was studying 3 other units at the same time, so they only ever got the attention I could afford, which meant I didn’t come out with as strong a grasp of history as I would like.

Some other criteria:

In some ways I’d like to make the focus a serious research project in the area rather than course work.

I’d like to do it in West Oz if possible but am happy to do it externally.

Any thoughts people?

Any ideas of where to study?

I figure if I give myself a year to chew it thru then the idea will either grow and become something I ‘must’ do, or it will die as a whim and I’ll save myself a lot of pain!

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