Reflections on Beginning Anew (Semester)

Happy New Year hd wallpaper 2015For as far back as I can remember, the New Year has been something forth looking forward too. In the lull that follows the festivities and joy of Christmas (seeing old friends, eating too much good food, sharing gifts with family), having something to look forward to helps quite the spirit. “New” is invigorating – the past is behind us, our errors may be forgotten, and the future stands bright before us. This isn’t to suggest that everything new is necessarily good; history and experience indicate otherwise, and we would be wise to heed those lessons. Instead, the New Year and its accompanying newness offer us an opportunity to better our world, those around us, and ourselves. There is something cathartic about ringing in the New Year that propels us into the winter (at least for a while). 

And while my inner skeptic often finds New Year’s Resolutions silly, the optimist within recognizes the importance of fresh starts, forming new (and hopefully better) habits, and pursuing a positive and healthy outlook on life. For Christians, any talk of newness should remind us of the newness we have in Christ and encourage us to live in love and joy. Many of us are in the habit of celebrating our new things this time of year – our new gifts, new resolutions (newly engaged friends – my there are a lot of you out there this year). Let us not forget to celebrate and share the gift that comes from the Incarnation of the Lord and the new life that He provides.

Hopefully it doesn't look like this too much this year...
Hopefully it doesn’t look like this too much this year…

For those of us who are students and/or work in education settings, the New Year means a new semester, often with new classes, new faces, and new opportunities. This semester my doctoral classes are on Medieval Christianity, Modern Christianity, and Early Christian Interpretations of the Psalms, so expect those courses to influence my writing, as will my continual work as a research assistant for David Bentley Hart and managing editor for Conciliar Post. This semester will also see a couple of presentations at regional meetings, so it will be even busier than normal.

On the tentative blogging docket are the continuation of weekly book reviews, our Church Search, and the series on Early Christian Authority (which will hopefully delve more deeply into some early Christian sources before too long). Many of you will be glad to hear that I have exhausted my musings on Martin Luther and the Reformation 9at least for the time being). In addition to the ongoing series (and, of course, whatever pops into my head), this semester I hope to introduce three new series. One (beginning later this week) involves reflections on Conceptions of the Ultimate; another involves Ephrem and Syriac Christianity; and the third, reflections on method in historical theology–what it means to be a faithful theologian and good historian and how those two concerns interact. Given the busyness of my schedule, I hasten to (again) note that these are tentative plans.

Thanks for reading Pursuing Veritas and my (too often muddled) reflections on Theology, History, and Culture. I look forward to this coming year, with all its attendant challenges, opportunities, and blessings. Thanks for following along with me! JJP

*Also, bonus points if you caught (and snickered at) the pun in this post’s title.

Published by Jacob J. Prahlow

Husband of Hayley. Dad of Bree and Judah. Lead pastor at Arise Church. MATS from Saint Louis University, MA from Wake Forest University, BA from Valparaiso University. Theologian and writer here and at Conciliar Post. Find me on social at @pastorjakestl

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