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the next chapter

Spring provides a wonderful opportunity to start a new endeavor, to cooperate with God’s good creation, to turn the page on a new chapter. On January 30th of this year I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation. To those of you who have been praying long and hard for that day to arrive, “thank you!”

What joy to have my wife, our children, and my parents in attendance as I presented my ideas and engaged questions with PhD students and the Biblical Studies faculty at Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Writing a dissertation is a solitary enterprise that is funded by the contributions and sacrifices of so many. After breathing the atmosphere of Luke-Acts and its commentators for so long, I remain ever grateful for Luke’s gift to the church which bound together scattered, struggling congregations with a larger sense of their identity as the people of God.

But, Luke’s narrative of the advance of God’s Word and Spirit “from Jerusalem . . . to the end of the earth” has led me into a deeper understanding of the importance and power of reforming discourse in general and of intertextuality in particular. All of us, in the various roles we play as family members and citizens, use the texts that form the tissue of our cultures and identities both to conserve and transform our sense of who we are, to understand and enact our place and purpose in God’s story and world.

On these pages, I intend to engage that intertextual interplay both professionally in terms of biblical studies, theology, and the church’s mission and, more casually, as a family man, church member and citizen of both the U. S. and the world.

As the nameplate on my blog indicates, this corner of the blogosphere is committed to “plotting hope.” A double entendre is intended. In the first place, I believe our lives are caught up in God’s larger story of covenantal faithfulness to all He has made. We are actors in and conveyors of that story, the story that reached its climactic turning point in Jesus Christ the Lord and which is moving toward the shalom (peace) of the new heavens and the new earth under His just and wise reign. In the second place, “plotting” refers not only to the story’s plot but also to our responsibility as citizens of God’s world and disciples of Jesus to strategize, “plot” and work for the peace of Christ. Christians have not only been adopted into God’s family by God’s Spirit, they have been enlisted in and gifted for God’s family project to disciple the nations. It is in no way passive, but requires every ounce of our energy, time, money, relationships . . . our lives. I hope to interact with you here and in your corners of the world and blogosphere to “plot” together for hope.

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