christianToday was the first Presbyterian College chapel for the new year; and while I didn’t expect much from a sermon titled “First things first” (I thought I’d heard it before), I was struck by the reminder that we needed to keep Jesus as the center of our (academic/ministry) focus… the center and circumference of the gospel. I know this sounds same-old, same-old, but three months in a secular university (McGill), doing a section in my dissertation that leans more towards philosophy of religion than theology (at the moment), I found myself drifting in my christ-focus. Hearing the call of Paul, Calvin, Barth… to focus on Christ Jesus… was a strong reminder that I should find Jesus even in my dissertation… Jesus was to be the center of my work.

To keep Jesus center, I discovered, wasn’t hard to do… and I already found myself reorienting priorities and purposes… I found myself seeing how “theology” is important… and especially for my dissertation… and (dare I say it)… I saw the “missional” call in all this as well!!!

Anyway, to answer… where is Jesus… I discovered that my entire dissertation is not only written because God through Christ and Spirit has called me, but also with the strong faith that I seek to clarify issues about talking about God… in the context of the faith that I hold, that Jesus revealed God truly to humanity, as God’s own Son, and if there is any salvation in the world, in the church or outside the church, it is certainly through Jesus Christ.

Yes, I know that is a “belief”, a “faith”… but I see more than ever that in academics, especially higher academics, faith may be the key ingredient needed for the highest-honest standard in truth-talk.