B'ham or bust: Three Weeks and Counting

Life seems to be moving at increasing speeds lately, it’s all I can do to keep track of the things that still need done before I depart. I am leaving for England in under three weeks now, and still have tons of books that need read, articles that need to get finished, grading to do, and then of course all the normal (and really important) stuff like spending time with my wife, doing my house chores, working, and blogging!

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I leave May 1st for the UK, I will be living in Birmingham for 3 months. Emily isn’t able to join me until June 22nd because of her school schedule. Once she arrives we will have a month to finish up my studies and travel around Europe like a pair of vagabonds (i.e. we have no idea where we will be going, staying, or eating just yet). But I guess that’s the adventure of it all.

The reason I am going to Birmingham is to study with, (Ben) Pink Dandelion one of the world’s top Quaker Scholars at the University of Birmingham. If you remember, I applied to two schools for my doctoral work, Fuller and the UB, was accepted at both, but then decided to stay in So. Cal and so I could work with Ryan Bolger at Fuller.

I requested that the University of Birmingham would keep me as a provisional student so I could come and study this summer with Ben, and finally it’s all happening. I will be living at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center, and learning what it means to be cross-cultural, since this is the very first time I’ve ever left the US.

Shortly after I land I will be going to Britain Yearly Meeting in London to see what British Quakers are like! I am really excited to not only go there, but also blog about it on the BYM site.

My work with Ben will be focused on Quaker Theology, where I hope to dig into questions of ecclesiology, theology of the Kingdom of God, and ideas of mission and cultural engagement. I also hope to get the chance to gain more sociological tools from Ben, since that’s one of the areas that interests him most.

I expect to be on the hunt for emerging churches to visit while I am out there as well. I hear there are some in Birmingham so I shouldn’t have to go too far. But if I get a chance I hope to visit Ikon in Ireland where Peter Rollins hangs out.

We are in week three of the Spring quarter here at Fuller and I am keeping busy with being Ryan’s teaching assistance for his class, “The Emerging Church,” so that’s been a lot of fun. Actually, I am leading both classes this week while he’s away. Yesterday in class we discussed the first two characteristics of emerging churches: Identifying with Jesus and Transforming Secular Space – it was really fun to do. Tomorrow we’ll be talking about George Barna’s Book, “Revolution.”

Besides the TA work, I am reading Anthony Gidden’s book, “Consequences of Modernity, for a tutorial I plan to do when I get back in August on the “Global Information Culture.” I am also working on a few books Ben requested I read prior to my arriving in the UK, The Apocalypse of the Word, Let My Words Be Few, and The British republic.

When I return in August we’re planning on heading out to Ohio Yearly Meeting (conservative) where a couple of us have been invited to help lead another conversation on Convergent Friends so that will great since we’ll get to go home for a short visit. Along those lines, we’ve been receiving some positive feedback about our time at FWCC, which I hope means you will be seeing Me, Robin, Martin and others traveling more and meeting tons of new people (one of my favorite things in life)!

So with all that things are a bit hectic but really exciting at the moment, I am having the time of my life. Look for more news later.

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Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

9 thoughts on “B'ham or bust: Three Weeks and Counting”

  1. Wow, Wess, that is hectic, but there’s lots of life in there. Enjoy it all!

    I just dovetailed off the link to your TA page and read some of the blogging from Jesus the Missionary last year. Good to do, albeit somewhat of a “whoa, that was me a year ago” moment, and the ready accessibility of the material allows for memory-jogging long after the course ends; mad props on that count to the Daniels/Bolger consortium.

    Finally, enjoy Giddens; I loved the book!

  2. I’m excited. Ohio Yearly Meeting cool beans. Happy to hear about England. Can’t wait to partake in some of that knowledge when you return.

  3. @Work thanks for the props – I am glad your memories are fond from our class. That was a great time. And I think this is the first time I’ve seen reference to the Daniels/Bolger consortium, esp. with my name in front like that. I am tempted to show Ryan… 😉

    @Kristen, no need to wait till I come back, I will be sharing all my exciting learnings and adventure right here on your local channel – so stayed tuned.

  4. oh good to know you’ll still be blogging. I leave the 10th of May for the Philippines till the middle of July so i doubt i will be able to keep in touch with it. Oh well i’ll have lots to do when i get back.

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