Posts by Anthony Smith

Hawaii

A large percentage of PhD students don’t follow a career in academia … will it all turn out to have been a waste of time?

This is something of a ‘farewell’ post from me, as I’m stepping down from the Faith-in-Scholarship blogging team, in order to concentrate on my studies, as I move to Durham to train for ordained ministry in the Church of England.

It’s easy to be gloomy as an aspiring academic. Will I ever finish my thesis? Will I ever get a lectureship? And even if I do, will I end up spending my entire life chasing arbitrary citation statistics and student satisfaction ratings? Will my research and teaching make a real difference? Do I have anything to look forward to?

‘We all need hope,’ say Antony Billington and Mark Greene in The Whole of Life for Christ. ‘Jesus did. After all, it wasn’t just his love for the world that helped him through his terrible sufferings on our behalf; it was because of “the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:2). The hope of his glorious future helped him through his earthly agony’ (p. 49).

The Whole of Life for ChristSuppose for a moment that Jesus really is interested in every aspect of your life.

So begins an excellent little book of Bible studies by Antony Billington and Mark Greene, entitled ‘The Whole of Life for Christ’.

And so begins this short series of blog posts inspired by those studies.

At the recent Faith-in-Scholarship conference, ten participants spent an intensive 22 hours with the six FiSch Fellows and two guest speakers: Jonathan Chaplin and Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin. This post is the first in a short series giving you a flavour of the three main talks.

The first talk was by Jonathan on ‘Scholarship as a Christian — and a human — vocation’. Jonathan is a specialist in Christian political thought, and is Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE), which is based at Tyndale House in Cambridge.

Popularity of FiSch blog posts plotted against their length

Popularity of FiSch blog posts plotted against their length… Are we obsessed with our economics?

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For most of us, particularly academics, New Year really takes place not on 1 January, but on 1 September. Term might not have started yet, but the holidays are definitely over, the inbox is starting to fill up (again), and everyone around you is getting ready for the imminent influx of students. Happy New Year!

So what better time for some New Year’s resolutions?

There are plenty of resolutions you could make in academic life: read more, write more, be more active in various ways. But I’d like to encourage you to consider making some New Year’s resolutions to support your university’s Christian postgraduate group(s).

If you read our “About” page, you’ll see that Faith-in-Scholarship is all about “Dynamic Christian thinking in the university and beyond”. Within that, there is a particular focus on supporting postgraduate students. Today we have an announcement about one aspect of that.

One way in which Christian postgraduates can grow as Christian scholars and thinkers is through local groups. These provide an excellent opportunity for people to work through what it means to follow Jesus as a postgraduate student.

While I was an academic astronomer, I probably spent most of my time not peering through a telescope, but typing away at a computer, wondering why my code didn’t work. Now, computer software wasn’t my area of research, so I didn’t give much attention to it from a Christian perspective. But is there a Christian approach to writing computer software? Should we be “coding for Christ”?

A very good friend of Faith-in-Scholarship is Andrew Basden, Professor of Human Factors and Philosophy in Information Systems at the University of Salford. (Indeed, Andrew will be speaking, along with Professor Tom McLeish, at next month’s Faith-in-Scholarship Christian Postgraduate Leaders’ Conference: places still available!) A few months ago he came to Liverpool to speak to the Postgraduate Christian Forum on the topic of Engaging with secular thought. What follows is my personal re-presentation of that talk (mainly based on an earlier version from Andrew Basden’s website).

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