Monday, January 23, 2012

Thesis Submission

I haven’t updated this blog in several months … but there is good reason for that: I’ve been focusing on the PhD thesis and it’s now ready to submit! 

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(final copies will, of course, not feature a crumpled title page …)

The final product is 271 pages (not including front matter and bibliography), approx. 80,000 words long.   

Final proofreading has revealed some humorous typos, including “penal substation” (have the dept. of corrections and the power company joined forces?) and “Calgary Reveal’s God’s Final Judgment” (is Canada really that bad?  In my defense, the ‘g’ and ‘v’ keys are right next to each other …).  I suspect I could drive myself mad trying to find every last typo, so at some point one must say, “go little thesis, fly away and do your work …”

More seriously, there are many people who deserve an expression of gratitude for their support.  Below are my acknowledgements and dedication sections—I am painfully aware that I cannot name everyone and will inevitably leave someone out, so please accept my apologies in advance: you are appreciated!

Acknowledgements

Scotland and more particularly the small university town of St Andrews has provided an idyllic setting for thinking theologically about the gift of the Christian faith. This is largely because of extraordinary relationships we have had with fantastic people. In addition to the empowering support from our families, illumination and encouragement from a number of people have made the time researching this project in St Andrews so very enjoyable. Several deserve recognition.

The donors who have supported us through the Ministry and Education Foundation have proved invaluable. Without their prayer support, encouragement, and financial assistance this project would almost certainly not have happened. Such value and support of academic rigor wed with Christian commitment is truly exemplary.

It has been a privilege to participate in the St Mary’s postgraduate community. These friends have provided a remarkably supportive and intellectually vibrant Christian environment. Special thanks to my colleagues from the Hadow room and all those in the Roundel who have sharpened my thinking, warmed my heart, and encouraged my faith. Further thanks are due to the spouses and families of colleagues who have shared in life and faith with my own family.

The worshipping community at the St Andrews Free Church of Scotland have provided a place for us to grow in our faith and put theology into practice. Special recognition of thanks is in order to Alasdair MacLeod and Grant Macaskill for affording me the opportunity to hone my preaching skills through regular pulpit supply.

The St Mary’s faculty have been enormously helpful and supportive in this project and in my academic development. I am particularly thankful for the interaction given by the participants, both by faculty and students, of the Theology Research Seminar.

While I am thankful to all of my postgraduate colleagues and their families, several merit specific mention for special assistance beyond friendship and support. Patrick Egan, Stephen Presley, Andrew Johnson, Allen Jones, Sheree Lear, Ryan Mullins, and Jim Watkins, amongst others, have been instrumental in my theological and academic development. David Sonju and Ian Church, in addition to being similarly instrumental to my development, deserve a heartfelt expression of gratitude for their personal and emotional support during the times the weight of this research topic became too heavy for one person to bear. In various ways they each have been to me on this quest as Samwise to Frodo, and for that I am grateful beyond words.

I am thankful for my friend John Feinberg, whose mentorship throughout my seminary training has provided the best of foundations for doctoral study. His wealth of experience, his excellence in theological thought, and his commitment to serving the church through academic ministry have illuminated the path I intend to follow; it is an additional pleasure that he continues to walk with me along this path as my friend.

My supervisor, Stephen R. Holmes, has exceeded all expectations in guiding me through this process. His theological insight, probing feedback, and tenacious encouragement have brought me to where I am; his academic and intellectual rigor, theological acuity, and service to the local church are an example of what I aspire to be.

It must be said that my lovely wife Sara is the real heroine of this period of our lives. She worked several jobs to support us financially, bore our two daughters, and propped up our family with countless acts of service and love. Her support and perseverance through the chaos of young children and my erratic work schedule have made all the difference, and the depths of my gratitude for all she has done elude the proper expression she deserves.

Finally, I am thankful for my dog, Piper, who happily accompanied me on countless runs as I sought cathartic release from prolonged reflection on quite depressing topics. You’re a good boy.

Dedication

To Sara; as the first could only be hers.

5 comments:

The Egan Family said...

Congratulations, Shawn!! How wonderful to see all of your hard work come together into the finished product! It has been great fun to walk this road with you and Sara. Enjoy your submission celebration!

Amber said...

Congratulations!!! Wish we could share a pint with you to celebrate!

Amber said...

(not the same pint)

Zack Skrip said...

Congrats bro! Well done on a lot of hard work (that's pointed to you and Sara). Looking forward to seeing you all again sometime.

teamjaws said...

With great anticipation, we look forward to seeing you and the family. What a great accomplishment.