Acedie and Academia

Part of preparation for ordination is the academic work which we undertake at theological college… it is an important integral part, though by no means enough in itself. I am now approaching ordination as a deacon at Michaelmas (September 29th) and having completed one degree last year, am in the final throes of putting together my MA dissertation and last essays.

It has been a privilege to be supported and given funding to attend college, and to be put through academic studies by the Church of England… and it’s a hefty responsibility too… a lot of trust and effort and money has gone into educating me, so that my mind flexes its muscles for a lifelong job and so that I can understand and express the Christian faith in a well-rounded and deep way, and in ways appropriate to the understanding of others…

… But it’s also bloomin hard trying to get this last bit done. I have learnt so much and come so far that it seems like almost an impossible task to express all I’ve learnt, and almost impossible to decide what to leave out. There is a piece of me which despite my academic experience wants to do an ‘Educating Rita'(look up ‘do it on the radio’) on the final dissertation and just write one line about loving God rather than to add to the heap of words floating around in the ether… it is especially poignant as Words, Translation and Doxology run through my dissertation as a central theme, and any words which don’t directly point the way to the embodied word of God, feel like empty lies…

… but somehow one has to engage with the stories and lies of the world, speaking in parables to attract the ears of the listeners before speaking plainly, and that is the same in this work: I must approach first the worldly problems that stand in people’s way like an acoustic wall, and speak over them or through them, and gradually bring people closer into the quiet place inside where God, or at least an echo of God’s Word, may be heard in the stillness…

… It won’t, I have to admit, set the world on fire. There is nothing new or sensational about my dissertation because what it is trying to restate is as old as creation, but perhaps saying it again, in a contemporary voice, will make a few people hear and seek the truth of God themselves. But none of it will happen unless I stop distracting myself with blogs and soforth, and knuckle down to writing… so I’d best get on.

The Lord bless us and keep us and make his face to shine upon us, and give us his peace.

Amen

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About Jemma

Learning to be both a priest and a human being in the Anglican Church
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2 Responses to Acedie and Academia

  1. Global Sisters says:

    Dear Jemma, I hope that the last stretch of your dissertation goes smoothly. I’m in the middle of my own dissertation and it is a struggle indeed.

    BTW I love approach: “I must approach first the worldly problems that stand in people’s way like an acoustic wall, and speak over them or through them, and gradually bring people closer into the quiet place inside where God, or at least an echo of God’s Word, may be heard in the stillness”

    Very beautiful. I pray that God will make it easy on you. Ameen.

    • Jemma says:

      Thank you for the encouragement it is much appreciated,
      I hope your dissertation progresses well too, and that you can one day soon look back on it with contentment and relief!
      with love
      Jemma

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