Time for an Update

Apparently it’s been around 3 months since I last posted here (on Dec. 23, 2020, about Christmas Papyri). Three days before that I posted about my 2021 writing plans.

In that post I listed three priorities for the year:

  • Finish the Prayer and Amulet papyri fragments
  • Write about papyri letters
  • Write about theological and homiletical papyri fragments

I’m actually almost done with these three priorities. That is, I’ve got a draft of Prayer and Amulet papyri in the can (yay!). Then I realized that papyri letters don’t really fit in with what I’m hoping to do and there are multiple sources to point people to that handle them well. I’ve written about the theological fragments and need to write the discussion for one more homilietical fragment (1,000-2,000 words, likely). The end (of the first draft) is near.

This is good for multiple reasons. The first reason is that I’ve been working on and off in my “spare” time on this since 2018. It really took form in 2019, and went through a few changes in 2020. I’m ready to start tying the whole thing together (around 150 pages or so, I think). The second reason is that I have a few other projects cooking for the next few years (can’t say much about them yet) so it would be good to get the major portions of the papyri volume from the draft stage into rewrite/edit stage.

Now, about the pandemic …

Different people have different experiences. I can’t say I have much to complain about as I am still gainfully employed in a job I enjoy with amazing and smart colleagues. I’ve been able to work from home (er, “live from work”) for over a year now. I’ve actually been fairly productive (we released Logos 9 in October 2020, some of my contributions here), especially considering three kids (now 4, 8, and 13) have been at home for the same period of time, largely because we were not comfortable with the laissez-faire approach their private Christian school was taking toward health and safety in the midst of the pandemic. At times being at home has been a horrible shit-show; at other times it’s been the best thing. Most times, I’m just tired. Our family has various medical needs and constraints (in other words, we will hit our family medical deductible by the end of the month, and that’s normal, let the reader understand), and it can get fairly exhausting fairly quickly.

What has frustrated me has been to witness the pushback that people who claim to follow Christ have regarding social justice issues (especially those related to race and unjust use of force by police on people of color) and regarding public health issues (masks, large public groups gatherings, restrictions on actions in public groups). I am especially horrified by the current rise of Christian nationalism and what happened at the Capitol on January 6. I am a parent in a transracial family, and I have safety concerns for my family based on what I’ve seen and heard (both locally and on the social medias) about attitudes towards people of color.

I have a lot in common with Beth Moore at this point, it seems. If you haven’t read her recent interview regarding her disassociation with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), you need to. Here’s just one of many things I read in the article that resonates with where I am in regards to what “evangelicals” have done in the past 5 years:

In October 2016, Moore had what she called “the shock of my life,” when reading the transcripts of the “Access Hollywood” tapes, where Trump boasted of his sexual exploits with women.

“This wasn’t just immorality,” she said. “This smacked of sexual assault.”

She expected her fellow evangelicals, especially Southern Baptist leaders she trusted, to be outraged, especially given how they had reacted to Bill Clinton’s conduct in the 1990s. Instead, she said, they rallied around Trump.

“The disorientation of this was staggering,” she said. “Just staggering.”

“Disorientation” is a great word to describe this. I have experienced similar disorientation. There’s more, and you should read the whole article.

BUT: Our 4 year old is back in preschool two mornings a week. Our 13 year old is back in school with a hybrid schedule (2 days in, 2 days at home). Our 8 year old is still being homeschooled, and there are both joys and pressures with that arrangement. These are luxuries for us, largely because our public school district has been and is being diligent in putting the safety of students and staff first. Our fingers are crossed hoping that next school year will be a few steps closer to normal.

How to wrap this up? How about a simple plea: People, wear masks when you’re out of your house. Also, get vaccinated when you have opportunity.

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