On April 9th I'm scheduled to present my Project Proposal, at which time the University sends me off to write my thesis. What a long haul this has been! But good, I think ultimately the process has been a good one. The key at this point is to identify what do I have the passion to sustain study on long enough to produce a new contribution to my field in? I have been thinking a lot about public and private spheres and the construction of self-identity. I think that is going to be pivotal for my research. But it could also simply reflect my ramping up for some good Taylor discussion. Focus, focus, focus.
I just received the official seminar schedule, we start off with preparing for the comprehensive exams - I've already written these so I'm tempted to come late for that one. But the bulk of the sessions look like they are concerned with this whole idea of process. I think that will help, in order to structure my time I will definitely need to develop a process specific to my research. Along those lines I've been thinking a lot about methodology.
I want to us a dialectic methodology. That is I want to put one school of thought in conversation with another. Specifically I want to put political theology (via Moltmann and possibly Pannenberg) in conversation with conservative evangelical Kingdom of God theology. I think Russell Moore's The Kingdom of Christ lays out what I'm talking about in terms of Kingdom theology, that will be my starting point. What I think I need are a small set of questions to animate the conversation. That means I'll spend a bit of time outlining my intentions and the players, and then I will be posing those questions to each body of theological inquiry. From there I will attempt to see how each of these conversation partners will respond to the approaches of the other partner. Hence, creating a conversation. A good example of this is Moltmann's dialectic style of theology. He is really good at letting the partners have a fair say even before he brings in the next voice. Hopefully I can limit the voices so that the project does not get out of hand. But my intuition is that such a conversation will at least identify some key insights that can be used in the creation of a Conservative Evangelical Political Theology.