The last time I met my supervisors, two awful things happened. One was that I was instructed to revise every single last piece of my results and run every single last statistical test on them all over again.

The other was that I was given exceedingly strict orders to do absolutely nothing apart from work on my thesis for the next two months. Inwardly, I was crumbling away. They didn’t realise that’s exactly what I’d been doing for the past ∞ number of months already. Needless to say, I outwardly conceded it was a very sensible plan and would implement it with zeal.

So far, I’ve followed the first instruction to the letter. More precisely, I am still in the process of it. This means that I am still hovering around the vicinity of square one, as I clearly can’t polish either my introductory material or my discussions until the results themselves are finalised.

However, I have been sadly distracted from the path of obedience in regard to the second instruction. Far from secluding myself and devoting my thoughts to interpreting anovas and theorising about metaphonology and the relation of melody to prosody, I have been: blogging. I confess I have been doing more reading and thinking around the doctrine of the sacraments and the nature of the church in response to the fervent activity in my comment boxes, than scriptism and Harrisian integrational linguistics. I have done what I ought not to have done, and I have not done what I have ought to have done, and no, that’s not part of my liturgy.

What I plan to do in the future is address, in some order or another, the following mammoth issues. 1. Why foot washing isn’t a sacrament. 2. Sola scriptura in the scriptures. 3. The senses in which my denomination (or anyone else’s) can not, and can, be called the pillar and ground of the truth. 4. Highland presbyterian liturgies. 5. And related issues.*

What I’m going to do right now, though, is call a moratorium on all stressful controversies. That’s as in stressful to me, as (i) I think I’d regret finishing my thesis later than necessary due to wranglings in the blogosphere, and (ii) long-running controversies don’t agree with me anyway. While the canonicity of scripture is in absolute terms more important than phonological representations, nothing hangs on me being able to argue about it either knowledgeably or convincingly in the next few weeks, in stark contrast to my write-up.

Any of my timid reformed readers who wish to shed their timidity and join the fray should consider themselves heartily invited to do just that. I can watch from a distance no problem. Just remember, be nice to guests, don’t feed trolls, and before writing anything take a deep breath and implement Rom 12:18. Meanwhile I’m going to ground and hereby vowing to post nothing controversial until I have the time to handle it.

(Signing off with this link, in case you didn’t see it last time.)

* PS – I mean it. I’m considering moving to If I allow advertising I might not even need this grant proposal to come through.

9 thoughts on “meta

  1. I admire your resolve, and sympathise with your dilemma. I’m at a similar stage – analysis and write-up – and I too find the world of blogging a compelling distraction from the world of disserting.

    I look forward to the end of your cloistering – you are one of the few religious people I know read my own blog, and I rely on your feedback to let me know whether I go too far in anything I write. As well as being thoughtful and intelligent feedback in its own right, of course.

    Good luck with the re-statisticking and writing.


  2. Phew, thanks Tim. I hope my mum will be impressed with my resolve too (hello mum!)

    I was contemplating putting you in touch with James after his recent post, but obviously I’d be the last person to want to put a distraction in your way :)


  3. Ouch! I ended up rerunning all of my stats just to make sure they had an extra partial eta square column (“just in case anyone asks for it”), so you have my full sympathy. Good luck with going to ground again, but if you fancy a (strictly timed) cup of tea and some fresh air I’m happy to join you for a dose of sanity.


  4. Yes but I *want* to reply :) Anyway looks like you have your hands full at the moment. I wanted you to meet Tim the Friendly Humanist who commented above, but too late!


  5. All the best with getting the thesis sorted. I can understand how much of a distraction some of the discussion must have been of late. Been there, got some t-shirts for it.

    Prayers offered for you to wisely interpret your own times and walk in the paths prepared for you to follow (Eph 2.10).


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