Since the whole purpose behind this little adventure of ours is so that I (Mark) can finish my education, I thought it would be a good idea for me to actually post something informing you of that aspect of our time here.
Last Friday, I was able to meet with my supervisor (Dr. Andrew Clarke) and thankfully it went very well. For whatever reason, I really made no effort to contact him prior to arriving here. At any rate, it was good to finally meet with him and I'm pleased to say that I think we will work well together. Dr Clarke seems like a man of high character and is quite personable. He is actually a Baptist and though we really did not talk much about matters of faith, I do get the sense that he is a believer.
An aspect of doing a PhD here that will take some time to get used to the reality that the relationship between a supervisor and supervisee in the UK is more one of colleagues than a teacher-student kind of relationship. So, my supervisor prefers me to address him as "Andrew" rather than the "sir" that comes much more naturally to me. It will probably take some time to get used to this, but it is somewhat flattering. A former PhD at another British university once told me that the traditional model here is that at least when it comes to his/her topic, the supervisee is actually seen as the expert and not the supervisor. This is certainly a much different way of doing things than in the US. I suppose the idea behind it is that a PhD student will someday have something fairly important to say and until then is "given the benefit of the doubt."
At any rate, over the last couple of days the library has been my second home (I should get an "office" to share with at least one more student in about month) working on my first assignment. Essentially, I'm supposed to get a feel for what others have already said about my topic (very briefly, the eschatology of Ephesians). My goal is to basically hit my research hard from 9-5, Monday to Friday, and put in a little bit of extra time in the mornings and nights as needed and as I am able. Prayers for strength and motivation would be appreciated. Thus far, God has been faithful to help me push forward. But, I know Thursday's and Friday's will be my hardest days (I can already feel it coming).
May God richly bless you all!