Squaring away my social enigmas takes way more time than I want to put into it. I like people, but then I can only take so much of them also. I need times away from people to vegetate, settle, scrub my brain from the influences and interactions. That is not to say I don’t enjoy those interactions, but the social definition of my self is only part of my being. I need time to return to myself, restore, recharge.
So, lately, I have been pretty busy. Work at school, work at work, work at home, etc. I am in the middle of two class preparations for the two classes I teach at Evangel. I take this seriously, and so spend quite a bit of time getting through this material, and creating presentations that are sequential, rational, well ordered, etc. One thing I have had to do is work Saturdays to catch up and keep up. I am grateful for my job, but Saturday work puts me in a deficit for private time. On top of that, social obligations on Saturday stack up to overload my ability to tolerate people. I start to be inconsiderate, even harsh, and to avoid further breakdowns, sequester myself to some private place. It doesn’t always work. There’s a bitter, harsh edge to my personality that needs free space and time to keep tamed.
I think of the Sabbath laws set in place for Judaism, and the requirement of rest for Christians. OK, I am not the religious sort, the sort that takes to laws and controls like a duck to water. But this requirement of rest, of a Sabbath, is sounding more and more like what needs to happen in my life to respond to my busyness.
Having finished my dissertation over a year ago, I am finally getting my feet back on the ground. I’m not running yet, but I am moving. I still find it hard to read interesting things that are not associated with my schoolwork, but that is getting better. Even though it is for SPS, I am enjoying going through another pentecostal manifesto book by Nimi Wariboko The Pentecostal Principle: Ethical Methodology in New Spirit. He is an African. His writing style is not Western, though it is stimulating and powerful. I will be giving a review of the last chapter in the book and a critique at the SPS meeting in 2013.
What does this have to do with people? I am affectionately attached to the people involved in this endeavor. I have committed myself to scholarship and integrity in order to give a fair look at the material I encounter. I have committed myself to these people, the auditors, readers, and writers. There is a certain pressure to an engagement of this sort, and as I have only recently been recovering from my dissertation, I haven’t been able to give my fully-functioning self to this project. There is a certain amount of envy of the accomplished writers and thinkers in this crowd that I have to get over, and often do so successfully, and a certain mental bruise of the effort of my dissertation that persists, and prevents me from moving out vigorously as I have in the past. There is a loss of naiveté that and that cannot be recovered, and a certain fear that my efforts will again sink me into profound mental turmoil. But I am overcoming that fear, and rising to the challenges ahead.
The scholarly crowd deserves much appreciation for their efforts, and I wish to give it to them both in scholarship and thanks. But the relationships are complicated. I have to avoid cynicism while fostering it at the same time. I am aiming at the golden mean of cynical critique. I really think there is one. It is a living philosophy not a dead text.