It has been a week of academics. I spent Monday and Tuesday at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal for a post-graduate seminar of progress reports. I found it beneficial to get my brain back into thinking critically, although my own work has been very slow. Hopefully, now that the direction of my thesis is confirmed I can get stuck in again. One of my supervisors invited me to submit a paper for a New Testament conference at UNISA later this year. I am terrified . . . I have to make a choice, as I will explain just now.
Wednesday and Thursday morning were spent at Stellenbosch University Winter School. This was less mentally intense than the postgrad thing, but also good to be part of. I think this must be the first time that I have experienced fellowship with NG Kerk theologians and church people. Very Afrikaans! Although they spoke English almost throughout, one could feel the effort it cost.
But it has all helped to reinforce the unsettled feeling that has been developing in me for the last four or five weeks. What am I? Why am I in ministry? What is my long term destination?
More specifically - do I persevere with academic work or do I focus on working in this community where poverty is the order of the day (and the academic stuff is pretty much irrelevant)?
Probably I will continue to do my best to do both, but ideally I should either drop the theology and academics or I should pick up the pace and do it properly. I can't possibly submit a paper to a conference without deciding to do it properly!
John Wesley said to go to those who need you most. Who is that I wonder?