The Evangelical Theological Society Meeting, San Diego, Nov. 2014
For the sake of fairness and historical accuracy, this was by no means the most discouraging academic conference I have ever been a part of. My paper and my panel were well attended and well received, and I was asked to join the steefing committee for a new C. S. Lewis Consultation, an encouraging development in the ETS whether I were a part of it or not. The sonnet here tries to capture one mood that the general experience of attending such conferences generates over time. The reality probably does not justify the level of cynicism expressed in the sextet any more than it does the romantic outlook expressed at the end of the octave. But for the record, I suspect others who have been sharers in the experience of doing academic conferences will recognize the mood and appreciate the fact that it is one we have to fight in order to keep going. We so much want our contribution to be the first thing, but it keeps threatening to turn into the other!
When I consider how my light is spent,
Not lost, like Milton’s–rather, cast away
Like pearls before–That’s not what I should say.
It is uncharitable, and I repent.
Yet here I’ve flown across the continent
For what? To give a paper? To convey
Thoughts like soldiers thrown into the fray
To conquer, plant their flag, and stake their tent
Defending all that’s holy, good, anhd true.
And even if the session’s well attended,
They’ll do with mine just what I do with theirs:
All good intentions notwithstanding, to
File it and forget it. Thus is ended
Another round of boxing with the air.
Donald T. Williams, PhD
For more poetry by Dr. Williams, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and orderStars Through the Clouds: the Collected Poetry of Donald T. Williams. Se also his other new Lantern Hollow books there: Inklings of Reality: Essays toward a Christian Philosophy of Letters and Reflections from Plato’s Cave: Essays in Evangelical Philosophy.
Posted on January 12, 2015, in C. S. Lewis, Donald Williams, Theology and tagged Academia, Academic Papers, C. S. Lewis, Evangelical Theological Society, Scholarly Conferences, scholarship. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.