Next month will be 6 years that I’ve been blogging about science and related topics for the Emerging Scholars Network. Which means that just about exactly 6 years ago, Tom Grosh called me up and invited me to write for the blog. Tom and I have been friends for much longer, since I was freshman at Carnegie Mellon and he was a fledgling InterVarsity campus staff worker. He and his family have done so much for me and mine over the years that I knew I should at least give it a try. Plus, I had already started toying with the idea of writing about science, so the timing was apt. And now, 238(!) posts later, here we are!
Those posts are what I’ve given to ESN; what I’m grateful for are all the things I’ve gotten back. I appreciate the most direct benefit of writing practice complete with a built-in audience. The discipline of writing weekly has been valuable, teaching me about my perfectionist tendencies and the value of consistent engagement. I hope I have improved as a writer over that time as well. In researching my posts, I’ve learned about a lot of exciting and intriguing research. And my writing experience here has led to opportunities to write for Christianity Today and BioLogos and to write my first book, Faith across the Multiverse.
Those opportunities are also thanks to the network of ESN. I’ve met so many great people through that network. Some of you are online friends; we’ve chatted here in the comments or over on the Facebook wall. Thanks for all those engaged conversations. Or I’ve read your posts here on the blog, covering everything from practical career advice to contemplative devotionals to theological insights from an assortment of disciplines. And some of you I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person. That includes trips to a BioLogos conference and the ASA annual meeting earlier this year. Getting to connect with other members of the network was one of the reasons I went to those meetings and look forward to going again.
Being part of that expanding network has helped me reach a wider understanding of what it means to be a scholar. As I discussed in my recent posts on postdocs, my academic career path reached a dead end when I couldn’t find any sort of faculty position. While my job in public health software has been fruitful in many ways, it doesn’t provide the same regular connection to other scientists and scholars the same way that an academic community would. Being connected to the Emerging Scholars Network has complemented my job well by providing some of that community.
So I’m thankful for what God has been doing through ESN, thankful to Tom for that invitation 6 years ago, and thankful to all of you for being part of our community! And if I can help you with something in return, please let me know!