Friday, December 12, 2003

We're about ready to get in the car and drive to Gulf Shores Alabama for a Theology Department retreat. I think it will be very productive, in that we're meeting frequently tomorrow. We are trying to decide what we want to do as a department. I very much like my colleagues in the department. Personally I feel sort of at a crossroads in my life academically. Being at Xavier University of Louisiana it is hard to have the support necessary to be a first rate Bible scholar. So much time is necessary for teaching, and committee work, etc. I sort of imagined even up until a few months ago that I would be at Xavier for about 10 years and then move on to a first rate research institution with doctoral students, a huge budget, and loads of release time and other means of support that would enable me to keep publishing. Though at this point in my career I've published much more than others I know, I feel that if I stay at Xavier my publication rate will drop dramatically (which it has already the past year and a half). So lately I've been thinking maybe there is more to life than an obsession with publishing. Maybe my calling has to do more with teaching. I'll explore this at the meeting this weekend and reflect on this. Maybe my talents would best serve the world by staying at Xavier and sacrificing my personal goals such as major publications and being one of the premiere Bible scholas, but I would positively effect many more lives. I think I'll explore this with my colleagues, but my broad goals are three: 1. To make the world a better place, 2. To have students learn about the world especially by bringing them with me to the Middle East and participating in archaeological excavations, and 3. To have the students think locally. There is so much that is attractive about New Orleans, and at times I feel like Xavier being Catholic trys to emphasize that even though they are in New Orleans, they are not part of all the negative aspects associated with this city. I was glad when the homepage of XU put "at home in New Orleans" with a link to NOLA.org. But I want to further this, and have students learn about the New Orleans heritage, maybe even examine Mardi Gras in depth. Not the tourist stuff, but more the local traditions. Anyway, gotta run. The family just walked in the door.

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