This is a busy week for me.
Beginning on Saturday, my family and I will be moving. We have been renting a house in Tennessee because we still own a home in Indiana (anyone want to buy a charming Cape Cod style home in Upland, IN?), and we don't yet know the long-term outlook for me at UTC. Our landlord had been trying to sell the house we currently rent for two years. The rent on Signal Mountain is unbelievably high because the town boasts one of the best public school systems in the Chattanooga area. Our landlord offered to reduce the rent for us if we would be willing to show it to prospective buyers. After nearly two years on the market, the house finally sold. Thankfully, we found another home to rent for about the same monthly cost. A bonus for us is that the new house is close enough to my sons' elementary school that they can walk to school. Although I wish we could have arranged to move earlier in the summer, and not during the academic school year, I am thankful to have found a home to rent on Signal Mountain that is reasonably priced and roughly the same size.
Second, I am busy preparing for Ed Blum's upcoming lecture at UTC. I am excited to hear Ed speak on Thursday, September 19 on "Satan Was the First Secessionist: Devil Talk and the American Civil War." This week, I need to make sure that copies of The Color of Christ have arrived at the UTC bookstore and will be made available for sale at the lecture, the catering has ordered the correct food items, the tech person is scheduled to be present at the lecture, and the ads for the lecture in the Chattanooga Times Free Press and WUTC are running.
Third, I am starting a weekly meeting for young adults. William Eavenson, the college minister at Mission Chattanooga, and I are starting a group for students over the age of 21 that will meet at 3pm each Thursday at the Honest Pint to discuss theological questions. We hope to create a space where older college students can meet up, enjoy a beer, and bring to the table theological questions that are relevant to discuss in today's culture. I am looking forward to participating in this group.
Fourth, my EDO is due this week. EDO stands for Evaluation and Development by Objection. Each year, faculty members at UTC are required to turn in an EDO to their department chairs. In my department (Philosophy and Religion) we are asked to give our goals for the academic year in three categories: teaching, scholarship, and service. About a month ago, I was thrilled to find out that I was awarded an "Exceeds Expectation" ranking for the previous academic year. Last year (2012-2013) was an exceptional year for me. I had published a number of peer-reviewed articles and essays, completed a book-length manuscript (Early Evangelicalism: A Reader), brought in four outside scholars to speak for the LeRoy Martin Distinguished Lecture Series, and designed and taught several new courses.
Fifth, I begin working with a student on my next research project, a transatlantic study of Jonathan Edwards's publications and print culture in the eighteenth century. My student Tim Haley and I won a grant at UTC so that he can help me do research on this project during the fall semester. I feel blessed to have a top-notch student helping me with this project.
Sixth, my wife and I will be attending the Mountain Education Fund charity dinner on Thursday evening. This is an annual event that raises money to support the Signal Mountain school system. This year Tony and Jonna Mendez will be speaking. The movie Argo, starring Ben Affleck, was based on Tony's involvement as a CIA agent in rescuing hostages from Tehran at the end of Jimmy Carter's administration.
Is it Fall break yet?