I’m sitting with a shawl wrapped around my head, a Canadian equivalent of the Indian monkey-cap, looking like a Bengali tourist visiting Mussoorie in summer, waiting in fear/dread and anticipation for what tomorrow will bring.

Tomorrow I meet Dr. John Vissers, the principal of Presbyterian College, to hopefully begin to chalk out a plan of how I want to spend my 9 months here in Canada. The dread/fear is simply because it feels like ages since I did any productive work for my dissertation. Ever since the possibility of doing a doctoral exchange in Canada became a reality… ie. ever since I had to begin the application process… I’ve been working really hard running after passport applications, visa applications, funding, and travel arragements etc. Honestly, while I have done some work, it isn’t half as much as I had hoped to accomplish by this date. So when I meet Dr. Vissers tomorrow, and he asks me, “So where are you in your dissertation?” I really wouldn’t be able to give an answer that I would be happy with.

Be that as it may… now I’m here (thankfully with my family)… to restart. I’m looking forward to doing some serious academic work here… perhaps getting one chapter out of the way… but certainly checking out sources for two other chapters in my dissertation.

Mainly, for the two people who are reading this, my dissertation is on the theology of religion in the context of the problem of religion; I am particularly looking at the work of Chenchiah and evaluating Chenchiah from a biblical/theological perspective. I would have liked to have finished my Chenchiah chapter, that was not to be. But I think there has been a restructuring of my own work, where I will probably begin with the ‘problem of religion’ in detail… chapter two… and then see Chenchiah within this.

So my chapter structure would be…

Chapter one: introduction
Chapter two: the problem of religion; and developing a methodology for a theology of religion
Chapter three: Chenchiah’s theology of religion
Chapter four: Biblical-theological evaluation of chenchiah’s theology of religion – I (Negative religion)
possible engagement with Barth (and biblical texts)

Chapter five: Biblical-theological evaluation of chenchiah’s theology of religion – II (Positive religion)
possible engagment with Ajith Fernando (Acts 17)

Chapter six: constructing a theology of religion and its implications for a theology of religions
Chapter seven: conclusion

and suddenly, I feel I’m back… this structure, quite unlike my previous structure presented in my doctoral proposal, may indeed by the way forward to get things in order… and see how best to use my time here in Canada. Ie. work on chapter two, which will be foundational for all the chapters to follow!

If there was a good time to pray, now would be it!