Studies in Scotland

So I’ve really neglected blogging for some time and there are a few of y’all that read this for updates on my academic, literary, and personal development. I’m very grateful for the support of so many so I wanted to throw up one such update regarding my most recent life event (after, of course, my marriage to Laura Tardie in June).

While preparing to apply to doctoral programs last fall, I discovered I had another full year left of funding on my GI Bill. I was under the impression that my MTS from Duke effectively exhausted it, but most programs I was interested in were fully funded and I therefore would not have to pay tuition any way (many theology or religion PhD programs justify funding by basically enjoying copyright privileges on any research you conduct while in their employ). The discovery of 9 more months of funding coincided with numerous commentators suggesting that spending our first year of marriage in the first year of a PhD program was not a hot idea. So Laura and I ended up switching my applications and rethinking our first year. On a hunch, I began looking at UK schools and finally applied to two (St. Andrews in Scotland and Kings College, London) with a Duke ThM as a backup plan.

I was accepted and confirmed an offer at the University of St Andrews in their Master of Letters program in the Divinity School. Originally, I was confirmed under the Scripture and Theology track, but recently switched to the Systematic and Historical Theology track instead. So shortly after our wedding, we began planning our one year move to Scotland, including all the packing, storing, and stressing that would entail. It was a lot.

But last week, after an extended and very enjoyable move away from Durham, NC, we moved into our “flat” a few blocks from St Mary’s College, the name of the divinity program at St Andrews. Classes begin in about a week, and I am finalizing all the stress-inducing details around funding, accommodation and everything else. I look forward to taking the required Origins in Christian Theology under NT Wright as well as a slew of other intriguing classes by well-spoken of professors and lecturers.

Laura and I will be keeping a blog together to chronicle our adventures here across the pond, and you can find us at artsyfartsyoc.wordpress.com if you’re so inclined. I’ll be presenting a paper based on my MTS thesis at the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain’s annual conference next week at St Mary’s University College near London. I have some new writing projects, including some articles for a SAGE encyclopedia on sociology and war as well as a book tracing various manifestations of combat stress (like posttraumatic stress, shell shock, soldiers, heart, and others) across medical and theological history with academic publisher Wipf & Stock. Because of this workload, I’d like to think I will be focusing on my writing more effectively than I have been, but you’ll just have to watch this blog to see if that comes to fruition…

Thanks for reading.

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