Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Reading and writing
Well we had a good break in Northern Ireland and now its back to a month's worth of writing before the students, and there are going to be more than ever before this coming academic year, arrive back in Aberystwyth. At the minute I'm trying to spend no more than a week working on the revisions to my essay on the Calvinism of the Calvinistic Methodists. As always this is turning out to be a slightly bigger job than I expected, but I've done a fair bit of additional reading since I wrote the first draft of the paper earlier in the summer so its worth trying to incorporate as much of that as possible. Hopefully next week I can then start writing my essay on evangelicalism in Wales, after finally deciding to go for it in the end. I decided to do it mainly for the reasons outlined in my earlier blog post, but I think I'll definitely skew the chapter towards the twentieth century. The past month or two I've been awakening an interest in reading fiction. I'm embarrassed to say that its taken the best part of 35 years, but it was reading the Marilynne Robinson books that really sparked my interest - its a good diversion from all the history and theology at least. The past few weeks I've been reading some of the novels in the Library of Wales series (http://www.libraryofwales.co.uk/). The first one I picked up was Rhys Davies', The Withered Root (1927), which is the fictional account of Wales' last religious revival in 1904. It follows the story of Reuben Daniels, a young charismatic revivalist, and his followers the Corinthians, who shoot to fame almost overnight. The book is a thinly veiled satire on Evan Roberts of course; Daniels like Roberts ends his life in obscurity, although unlike Roberts, Daniels is unable to come to terms with his sexual desires and finds them overpowering his religious devotion in the end. I've moved on to Gwyn Thomas this week, and am trying to read his 1940s novel, The Alone to the Alone. Alongside this I'm reading Dallas Willard's new book, Personal Religion, Public Reality? (2009); I'll blog about it in due course.