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The Fall semester begins tomorrow, and I feel that nervous energy that always attends welcoming a new school year. Given everything going on in the world at the moment, and all that has happened over the last couple of years, I feel gravity and gratitude. Gravitude?

This will mark my fifth year teaching at Dordt University. One of the things that I love about being a professor is the rhythm of the academic calendar. People often think that we get the summers “off,” but most of us see it as one of our most important times to work, when there is space to pursue our most important projects.

Don’t get me wrong, being a professor is still a dream job, one that I am grateful that I get to do almost every day.

In any case, here are some of the highlights of the summer:

Whitewater rafting in Colorado Springs
  • Family: Lots of time with the Bailey clan, + trips to South Dakota, Colorado Springs, and California
  • Ministry: Speaking engagements in Phoenix, Los Angeles, & San Fran (virtual) + 2 weddings for former students
  • Writing: Concentrated work resulted in the first draft of Your Interpretation is Your Life (Baker Academic). There’s still a good amount of work to do as it heads into the editing process, with a projected release in the fall of next year.
Hit the goal of 60,000 words!

And here are the things I’m anticipating this semester:

Some books for this semester!
  • Continuing to teach Dordt students about the Bible, culture, and discipleship.
  • Serving as chair of the theology department, which now includes two new members
  • Hosting season two of the In All Things podcast (new episode dropping later this week)!
  • Finishing Your Interpretation is Your Life and discerning what comes next.
  • Preaching regularly at Bridge of Hope CRC (preaching dates here)

In other news, my children are getting older (two middle school students!) My pants are getting tighter. It’s getting harder to want to work out. It’s getting easier to eat a whole package of chocolate covered almonds.

Also, the world continues to elude my comprehension. Sometimes it makes me very sad.

Nevertheless, I am thankful. The longer I live, the more I realize how very small I am. For as much as I worry about it, my work is also quite minor and its ultimate significance is out of my hands.

A younger version of myself would have found this disheartening. But the forty-year old version of me finds it comforting. To quote Gandalf: “You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you, but you are only quite a little fellow in the wide world after all.”

“Thank goodness!” Bilbo replied. And I will say thank goodness, too. There is great comfort in knowing that the world does not rise and fall on my work alone. Thank goodness, indeed.

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