It’s hard to believe I’ve been at MCC for seven years, but here I am on sabbatical. Right now I’m studying at home, and enjoying time with Elijah when I can. Soon I will be leaving the country.
I will be working with a church in Buckie, Scotland, as interim minister and mentor and tutor to a young minister who will eventually be taking over full time. Scotland, as my former Colleague Scott Caulley says, “has a fine theological heritage.” Unfortunately, at least in the northern region near Buckie, there is a shortage of ministers. The church in Buckie has been served by American preachers for over thirty years. A young man from the congregation is now ready to take on the task of leading and guiding the church. I will be there from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in April.
Then I plan to spend a week in Tuebingen, visiting Scott Caulley at the Institute for Research in Christian Origins. While there I will present two papers to seminars led by Dr. Caulley. We also plan to worship with the church that has been planted by the mission that sponsors the Institute.
Sonja had planned on joining me for part of the time in Scotland and Germany. We have decided that she needs to stay home to take care of the dogs and ‘possums, and I’m sure to spend some time with the new granddaughter Ariana Grace. I am going to learn where all the best shops and restaurants in Tuebingen are, and maybe next year the two of us will take a vacation trip there to visit with the Caulleys and wander in the Black Forest.
In May, I will go on to Klaipeda, Lithuania, to teach a class on epic literature.
Lithuania Christian College was founded in 1991 when the country gained its independence. After fifty years of communist oppression, the country’s leaders recognized communism was morally, spiritually, and economically bankrupt; so they asked Christian leaders to establish a Christian university that would train a new generation of leaders.
They want young people with a spiritual and ethical foundation and also an entrepreneurial spirit. They offer degrees in business and psychology and include a core curriculum of biblical and theological studies. The college has a good website: www.lcc.lt.
My friend Alex is going to join me the last week in Lithuania. He is going to rent a car, so that we can take some short day trips in the afternoon, and some longer weekend trips. I hope they don’t have an autobahn in Lithuania, because Alex likes to drive fast. In his job as a pipefitter he is used to walking on narrow beams 30 stories in the air, carrying heavy pipes and equipment. He doesn’t consider that living dangerously.
Alex’s ancestors are Lithuanian, and he is looking forward to seeing some ancestral places. He will also be sitting in on my class. He is reading all the books now: Gilgamesh, Homer, Vergil, Dante, Beowulf. Alex has a great love for life, and we plan on having a great time.
After returning home to check on the tomatoes Sonja will have planted, my plans include one more trip to Europe, this time to Prague for the Tenth International Bonhoeffer Congress, where I have the unique privilege of presenting a paper together with my daughter Tabitha. We are currently working separately on different parts of the research, but will compare notes and work together on compiling the finished paper.
My travel plans are an unusual combination of professional development and academic work, mission work, and personal vacation.