Help ESN Choose a Devotional Name

Sabbath rest

Thank you so much for your response to our academic devotional survey last week! We’re thrilled to have so many graduate students and faculty participating already, from a wide variety of institutions including state and private universities, engineering institutions, and universities in the UK and Australia. Thanks so much to everyone who participated so far. We’ll be in touch soon! If you haven’t filled out the survey yet, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Soon, the devotional needs a name. Here’s a list of some possible ideas. Please let us know your top three and/or contribute your own idea in the comments below.

  • Gathered Pieces
  • ‪InSeason
  • ‪Kaleo
  • ‪Midnight Oil
  • ‪Rivers and Roots
  • ‪The Table
  • ‪Tasting the Call or Tasting the Call Together
  • ‪The Scholar’s Compass
  • Work in Progress

We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Photo credit: Thomas B. Grosh IV. The Ends and Goals of Higher Education in Twenty-First-Century America: Change and the Calling of the Christian Educator (Cedar Campus, June 21-27).

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Hannah Eagleson

Hannah Eagleson is Interim Associate Director of InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). She launched and still edits ESN's collaboratively written devotional for academics, Scholar's Compass. Hannah also crafts other community-building events and materials for ESN. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Delaware, and an MA from St. John's College in Annapolis, MD. she’s working on a novel about a dragon who gave up fending off knights to become a tea importer in eighteenth-century England.

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  • David Eric Carlson commented on July 24, 2014 Reply

    well-versed – — adj
    comprehensively knowledgeable (about), acquainted (with), or skilled (in)

    Emily Lo Gibson commented on July 25, 2014 Reply

    Top three choices:
    Work(s) in Progress, The Scholar’s Compass, Midnight Oil

    Some other options/variations:
    Deeper Roots, The Scholar’s Table, Thriving in Season

    And maybe something about Paths or Pathways, but my fount of inspiration has dried up for now.

    Gary T. Meadors commented on July 25, 2014 Reply

    An academic name and a devotional name? Why? This feeds the bifurcation of these two categories.

    Hannah Eagleson commented on July 25, 2014 Reply

    Thanks so much for these comments and suggestions! They’re great, and I’m excited to think about all of them.

    Gary, thanks for your point. We definitely want the academic and the devotional to be combined in the name, and we definitely see them as working together. It’s sometimes tricky to get both ideas across in just one word, though, so we have been playing around with combinations of words that try to convey both as a unity. My apologies if that didn’t come across as clearly as I meant it to in the post.

    If you have any suggestions for names that describe the intertwined nature of academic and devotional life, let us know. Thanks so much!

    Hannah Eagleson commented on July 25, 2014 Reply

    For anyone interested, we also have this overview post which gives more background on the philosophy and goals of the devotional:

    John Mulholland commented on July 25, 2014 Reply

    Work in Progress.

    The University of Chicago law school faculty have a weekly lunch in the library area, where one of their number presents on progress in their current research. They call these lunches “Work in Progress”.

    This phrase seems to me to best address the goal of the Christian’s academic calling, always investigating, always revising, never fully satisfied with the results –
    with both one’s academic work and one’s efforts at Christian discipleship, or apprenticeship as Dallas Willard would most often say.

    If “Work in Progress” were the name, then the goal for each person who might write would be presented as such, not as a “definitive” statement, but as a report along “The Way” of Christian apprenticeship in academia,
    sharing with one another what we are learning in this demanding work.

    It is still unclear how this new name would work in the overall ESN blog – would this mean you are planning to develop a separate blog for “devotionals” – I share Gary’s concern about bifurcation, if this is the case.

    I note this because “Work in Progress” best describes for me the entire ESN blog effort. For me “Devotional” or “Weekly Prayer”, probably posted at the beginning of a week, would then work as a clear note for those writings, as part of the overall “Work in Progress” goal of the blog.

    Thanks for the important work the ESN blog is doing.

  • Meagan commented on July 25, 2014 Reply

    Top three choices:
    Work(s) in Progress, Midnight Oil, The Scholar’s Compass

  • Gerald Rau commented on July 25, 2014 Reply

    How about: Choices on the Way

  • Bethany Bowen commented on July 26, 2014 Reply

    I like Work in Progress, The Scholar’s Compass, and The Table. I also think that Emily’s suggestion of The Scholar’s Table is very good.

    Kelly commented on July 27, 2014 Reply

    I like midnight oil – it captures both a sense of academics burning the midnight oil (and needing refreshment), as well as the the parable of the virgins waiting for the bridegroom and being prepared with oil when he arrived at midnight.


  • Kevin Birth commented on July 28, 2014 Reply

    Because it combines both humility and our awkward position in the academy, I like “Balaam’s Donkey.”

    While Midnight Oil seems popular, as someone who studies the effects of our cultural ideas of time on our lives, I’m not wild about the name. Sleep loss is a bad practice that causes impaired cognitive functions. While grad school and academia may cultivate and even celebrate burning the midnight oil, it is not a healthy or laudable practice.

    W. Brian Lane (@WBrianLane) commented on July 30, 2014 Reply

    My three favorites:

    Gathered Pieces
    Work in Progress

    Joe Thackwell commented on July 30, 2014 Reply

    I like Works in Progress, but thought of a one word equivalent that you all might like . . .


    Speaks equally to the formational processes of results-pitching lab research, paper-crumpling dissertation writing, and the daily walk of a scholar seeking the kingdom first.

    David Russell Mosley commented on July 31, 2014 Reply

    How about Ora et Labora?

    Heather Peterson commented on July 31, 2014 Reply

    I’d recommend a name that for marketing purposes outside of Emerging Scholars shows what the book is about such as “Scholar’s Compass” or “Work in Progress”–a metaphor that doesn’t need explanation.

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