A Brief Thought for a Lean Week

Howdy, all. Once again, I’m not going to write a full-length piece, mainly because my bosses are expecting final grades for my freshmen in a week and a half, my Old English professor expects a full-length seminar paper on King Alfred’s translation of Consolation of Philosophy in just a couple weeks, and three professors are expecting me to take comprehensive exams for doctoral candidacy a week after that.

Griping aside, finding the “hidden Christians” in our English department encourages me, both because God’s grace is present where I didn’t expect and because some of these folks see in me a comrade when grad school gets hostile.

By “hidden Christians” I mean folks whose confessions I didn’t know of (no doubt due to my obtuseness) until recently. Some of them, because of their transience as grad students and because of bad experiences with former congregations, aren’t at the moment affiliated with any congregation (the Ooze would likely call them “emergent”), and others quietly attend and serve congregations without the fanfare that I tend to bring to graduate seminars. (It’s a defense mechanism more than anything–if I announce myself as vaguely evangelical and then demonstrate that I can walk and chew gum, some in the department are pleasantly surprised.) But late in this semester such things have come up in a number of conversations, and hearing other folks’ stories has at once humbled me and encouraged me to continue as an “outed” evangelical (though admittedly a bad one) in a profession that does not expect evangelicals.

If my wandering thoughts have a point, I suppose this might be it: just as the CRM welcomes me even though I’m evangelical only by loose labeling and conservative less than that, I’m glad that my “emergent” (they don’t call themselves that) colleagues want to claim me as brother and make me a part of their journey. I’m a traveler in this world, and the hospitality of strangers to a stranger has always been a blessing.

I know there’s not much there there, but I thought I’d offer a little something encouraging before (or after–I’ll have to see) Jeff posts the Friends of Grace Fridays selections.

About Nathan Gilmour

Nathan P. Gilmour is a Christian, a husband, a father, and a college English teacher. He tries to do all of that and write something worthwhile on occasion.


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