(1) Who are you?
As you already know, I’m Derek Maris and I’m in my first year of PhD work in Systematic Theology at Luther Seminary, St. Paul MN. While this is my first year as a PhD student, my family has lived here for approximately 18 months now, since I started as an MTh student for a year before transitioning into the doctoral program in the fall. Before moving to St. Paul I had already studied in several institutions, receiving a BS in Family Ministry at a small bible college in Manhattan KS, and an MA in Christian Ministries at Friends University in Wichita KS. I also briefly pursued a Master’s for a year at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City for good measure.
My aforementioned family consists of my wife Beth and our dog Max, and we have also been fortunate to have my wife’s retired father in the twin cities as well, so we are not completely separated from family while we are “up north.”
(2) What can you expect from me at DET?
Here I will shamelessly crib from our editor’s introduction and initially say “only God knows.” This is not merely evasion but an admission that although I’m a doctoral student I see myself as still being very much a work in progress as a scholar. Additionally, I look forward over the next several months to gaining insight into the specifics of the roles I will play and niches I will fill here at DET.
With these caveats in mind, I will say that readers can expect me to engage a wide variety of theological topics and thinkers as I continue to wrestle with traditional and contemporary theological concerns, though some will crop up more often than others (see below). Furthermore, I’m always attempting to strengthen and deepen my grasp of relevant secondary disciplines, so if I come across something interesting and within the scope of DET’s goals I will include that here as well. Also, I am very excited to learn from my other contributors so you can expect me to be a frequent commenter here.
Lastly, as is evident from my briefer bio in the “contributing authors” tab above, I have a deep concern with how what I do as a theologian aids in personal and societal transformation. The reasons for this are both theological and personal, and in due time may be explored when possible and/or appropriate. I anticipate that in reading my posts these concerns will often be discernible.
(3) Which theologians do you most like to read?
I first encountered Karl Barth in my MA program at Friends under the tutelage of Dr. Christian Kettler, a former student of the “Barthian” T.F. Torrance. Barth impacted me greatly then, and while not a hard and fast “Barthian” I anticipate Barth being a constant dialogue partner. My primary interest right now is in the work of Jürgen Moltmann, and Wolfhart Pannenberg is a thinker who is beginning to receive my attention as well.
With my interest in Moltmann and Pannenberg it is evident that eschatology is intriguing to me, and in that vein that I have a burgeoning interest in apocalyptic. In addition to eschatology I am also interested in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and over the next couple years I hope to explore how these two loci can be related in a way that aids in understanding how God works in transforming personal and societal life. Hopefully in that process of exploration a narrower topic for a dissertation will be discovered.
I look forward to writing and interacting with you here at DET, and thanks in advance for reading!