Plotinus in the Jungle

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Five Reasons We Are Going to Papua New Guinea


1. To Serve the Church. When we met Archbishop Douglas Young of Mt. Hagen, under whose jurisdiction the seminary falls, he said that his greatest pastoral need was priestly formation.  Papua New Guinea has had to transition from the Stone Age to the Modern Age in about 70 years.  There are few traditions of academic learning and it is very hard for seminaries to find the resources and teachers for their classes.  Thus, a professionally trained philosopher will be a great boon for Good Shepherd Seminary.  Priests receive training in philosophy (human wisdom) before studying theology (divine wisdom).  Brandon will be teaching national priests and the seminary itself is run by nationals.

2.To Have an Adventure.  We have always enjoyed adventures.  We like to hike and canoe and to see new places.  We are also inveterate fans of fantasy and scifi literature.  Instead of vicariously having adventures through others, we’ve decided to go have our own while we are still young.

3.  So Brandon Can Teach and Dissertate. Brandon is still working on his dissertation and probably will be for some time.  It is important to us that Anastasia is cared for by her parents.  Since he only has an M.A., it is unlikely that Brandon can find a good job teaching philosophy in the US, and if Rebecca were working, than Brandon would be spending most of his time with Annie.  Moving to PNG allows Brandon to teach a light course load (only two courses a term), such that he’ll be able to work on his dissertation, and we’ll be able to spend time together as a family.  If all goes as planned, Brandon will have six years of teaching experience when he goes on the job market!

4. To Grow, Mature, and Learn.  In both Christianity and ancient philosophy, one is exhorted to turn one’s back on the things of the world, namely to not confuse human flourishing with material comfort and security and to let go of the illusion of control.  In PNG, we will have to live simpler lives and focus on the most important things.  We will also have to learn to adapt to new challenges and less-than-ideal situations.  Our experiences in PNG will no doubt help Brandon as a philosopher by giving him a better grasp of human nature and helping him focus on what is most essential in his teaching.

5. As an Opportunity for Rebecca.  Since our marriage in 2008, Rebecca has worked to support us while Brandon was in graduate school and then stayed home with our daughter.  Papua New Guinea gives her a chance to use her training in anthropology.  The seminary is also interested in Rebecca teaching anthropology to the students.


6. Anastasia will Enjoy Many Tasty Fruits and Vegetables

7. Best Climate in the World!

1 Comment

  1. […] we first started packing to come to PNG, this was one of the first questions to spring to my mind: which cookbooks to bring? […]



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