Sunday, November 2, 2008

Guest Post

The following is a guest post from my husband Matthew.

The popularity of Ashli’s blog has surprised us both, I think, and this is encouraging to us in that it has revealed just how many people deeply care about us. Ashli has been diligent to keep the blog updated and full of interest; even I check up on it every few days or so and I know exactly what’s going on around here! The blog has helped reduce the ‘distance’ between us and our friends and families and provides, if only narrowly, a brief window to observe that life is well and full of excitement. Because, as anyone who knows Ashli can attest, it is impossible to be in her company for very long without something out of the ordinary taking place, and this is usually because she has said or done something completely unexpected, not because of external circumstances!

For all our storytelling, I have a strong suspicion that a great many people are not entirely sure as to why Ashli and I are in Edinburgh. By this point most of you now know that I am a PhD student at New College, University of Edinburgh. Perhaps at this juncture, having just past our 1 year anniversary of living here in Britain, I should explain why exactly I drug Ashli to such a cold, dark land and what it is about Edinburgh, Scotland that required such radical relocation.

To begin with, let me specify a bit more what it is I’m doing here: I am a PhD student in Political Theology (a branch of Theological Ethics) in the School of Divinity. The School of Divinity is housed in New College, which is one among many colleges under the auspices of the Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences, which is itself one among many colleges within the University of Edinburgh. Since arriving in Edinburgh I have been researching in the field of economic ethics, and without going into more detail than anyone cares to read let me put my project concisely by saying, essentially, that what I’m doing is attempting to address practical questions which affront our daily participation in economic life. For instance, “what is the relationship between the political and the economic? When is any given exchange recognizably good in character? What is the nature of human work and labor? What constitutes authentic political action? Do we have economic obligations in respect to our economic contributions and consumptions?” And perhaps most critical is the question: How does God conduct material exchanges with mankind? That is about as general a description of my project as I know how to articulate. Now, as to why I was obliged to come to Edinburgh to research these questions, as opposed to, say, Nashville, is that my supervisor, Oliver O’Donovan ( is here in Edinburgh, and I came here to sit under his tutelage. He has already had a tremendous impact on my thinking and I greatly look forward to what the next three years have in store.

Part of why I asked Ashli to allow me to contribute a “guest post” to her blog, a reason I purposefully kept from her until now, was to let everyone know how deeply I appreciate my wife. Her coming to Scotland, though it certainly has (and will have) innumerable rewards, is a tremendous sacrifice that will evoke my life-long thanks. She works diligently to support my study here in Edinburgh and has courageously helped bear the burdens that accompany the intellectual demands of PhD research. Ashli is a kind, self-sacrificing woman and I am greatly in her debt.

To all who check up on our lives through this blog, thank you.


Trudy said...

Wow....I'm nearly in tears! This is beautiful of Matt to write...and you know what, he IS right! You are wonderful to be here with him, supporting him, encouraging him and being his loving wife. Thank you for letting him write on your that more often!

Hilary said...

love this.

Mrs. Bubbus said...

Aww . . . great photo and great writing. Thanks for sharing! May the Lord bless you both!

Anonymous said...

I'm very proud of you both!

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