I’m working at the moment as an assistant to the full time tutors at the OCCA (Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics). I’ve been in the role for a little over a year now. I relocated to Oxford and now stay in Wycliffe Hall, an ordination college for the Church of England. (No, I’m not becoming a priest, I just live there!) The job has been an immense blessing. Perhaps not surprisingly, I love Oxford. Having only lived in Northampton and Stoke-on-Trent previously, it is refreshing to live somewhere that is actually beautiful. I mostly do ‘behind the scenes’ administration and organisation but I’ve also had the chance to do things like edit videos, research, write for the ministry magazine, and even teach an optional class or two. The best part of my whole ‘Oxford experience’, though, is getting to participate in the community of OCCA/Wycliffe staff and students. So many thoughtful, dedicated followers of Christ from all around the world.
Since October, while maintaining my full-time job, I have also enrolled on a part-time, distance learning MA in the Philosophy of Health and Happiness from the University of Birmingham. Surprised that I’m not studying philosophy of religion? I am still, of course, deeply interested in philosophy of religion but I found that the kind of questions I wanted to explore about religion were not the typical kind usually put under the ‘philosophy of religion’ label. And a more experienced friend advised me to acquire expertise in some field outside of philosophy of religion and then bring that expertise to bear on religious matters. That struck me as good advice. That said, there is some philosophy of religion as part of the course. Over the past term, I have handed in essays assessing the view that moral wrongness just is breaking God’s commands and assessing the implications of certain recent theories of religion from the cognitive sciences. Next term I get to look into the philosophy of health and happiness directly and also the philosophy of psychiatry.
As you have probably figured out, full-time job plus part-time education leaves little room for much else. I won’t be making any lengthy blog posts for a while – not till Summer break at least. I hope to not leave this place totally dead though. I have agreed to submit a very small monthly column to chrysolig.org called 'Stuff People Say'. My first contribution (here) is on the common saying that faith is belief without reason or evidence (and how apologists might accidentally reinforce that belief!) I will link to future contributions. Besides that I might post intriguing quotes and snippets from items that come up in my MA research. It is also plausible that I could finish the series on the philosophy of romantic love by then seeing as I just need to re-work pre-written material for that.
In other news, I’m also now a contributor at apologeticsuk.blogspot.com. I intend to post some things there that might have more of a niche apologetic, rather than more general, interest. I believe that the only contribution of mine I have not re-posted is a piece (here) on whether science has proved that things can begin to exist without cause. Oh, I also posted there a stand-alone reworking (here) of the article on anxious religious doubt I wrote as part of a series on doubt earlier in the year. Obviously, further posts on the Christian Apologetics UK blog will be on hold too.
The only other thing is to give kudos to Spence for the new blog banner image. What, you don’t know who Spence is?