I am not so much into resolutions – I’m not driven by willpower in that way. Nonetheless, I am very into planning, timetables, structures, etc., for myself. It helps my discipline a great deal. Here are 5 things I’d personally like to manage in 2009.
1. Language goals:
I have an ambitious and rigorous language study program set up. I’ve been fairly good with it in the latter part of 2008, so as long as I continue to give it a good priority it should go well in ‘09. This year I hope to read through 5-6 Greek anthologies/readers, continue reading 1-2 chapters of the NT daily, develop some speaking fluency, and develop and teach a curriculum to an apprentice in my local church. I’m planning to continue my ‘Hebrew-revitalisation’ program, combining traditional grammar with innovative approaches, and by year’s end hope to be doing a little Modern Hebrew, as well as regularly reading from my Reader’s Hebrew Bible. For Latin, I’m going to be working on some composition, prose and possibly verse, as well as reading Gildersleeve, listening to Adler, and spend some time on both classical and patristic texts. For German, I hope to get through a number of introductory reading and speaking courses, and solidify a basic-intermediate knowledge. For Gaelic, I hope to complete 3 different introductory course-books, and go on to independent learning through internet resources.
In 2008 I struggled somewhat in the first half to get into a good routine. In the second half of the year I adopted the ‘Lifetime Fitness Ladder’ (a quick google will bring up some results), with some modifications, and have worked up to level 15. My minimum expectation for ‘09 is to work up to level 30, and maintain it throughout. Optimistically, the only maximum is limited by the number of weeks in ‘09, but I think 40 would be a solid goal. Level 40 would involve numbers like 48 crunches (modified), 33 push-ups (modified), 34 chin-ups, and the like. Most of my modifications are to make things harder, not easier.
It’s hard to be entirely ‘results’ orientated in Christian ministry (and arguably wrong or ‘unhelpful’), but nonetheless there are a few outcomes I am keen to generate. I’d like to see a strong missional focus in my local congregation, an increasing sense and practice of community, committed prayer-triplets, a number of mentoring-relationships, and ultimately both numerical and spiritual growth.
Re-assessing study progress, I think it’s increasingly unlikely that I’ll complete my MTh before 2010. My patristics studies definitely will require 1-2 more months than I’d allocated, which I’m happy to commit. That said, I’ll be aiming for a real, thorough knowledge of 4th century Trinitarian thought, and a high result on an April exam. That leaves the rest of the year for working on my Chrysostom thesis. I’d be hoping for a strong first draft by the end of 2009, and submission by mid-2010.
5. Reading & Blogging
This year I read over 60 books. I’m fairly happy with that number, and not sure I need to increase it. Next year I’ll be aiming instead to read more discerningly, attentively, and review more books. I’ll more generally be hoping to improve the trends of recent months, to consistent, thoughtful, and hopefully provocative (in a good sense) blogging.