Monday, May 16, 2011

Turabian Nights

I've grown to hate footnotes.

One of the most frustrating parts of working on this doctoral project is the "detail" work of getting everything that I write into the proper format.

I value getting things like that right--and Westminster has a great ministry on campus that helps students with their theological writing--from the organization of thought, to word choice to...footnotes.

I've finished chapter 2 of my project on resisting gossip: "Biblical and Theological Foundations," but I've been hampered in turning it in to my adviser because I haven't gotten all of the footnotes into the proper format (all 104 of them).

The frustrating part is that I can't figure out what the proper format is.  The seminary offers a style sheet which says to use Kate Turabian's handbook on the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS).  Simple enough.  However, in the field of biblical studies (of which my field of biblical counseling overlaps), we're supposed to use some formatting guidelines from the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).  Okay.  But, it seems to me that Turabian and SBL don't always agree.  

Which one is trumps?

The helpful folks at WTS have my questions and are going to help me get answers in due course, but in the meantime, I've been pulling out what little remains of my hair in trying to solve these footnotal conundrums. 

On one hand, it's not that important.  It's just footnotes.  If that's the worst thing that ever happens to me, then I've got it pretty easy.  On the other hand, I want to do it right, and I want to get it done, and these footnotes are in my way!

Where is God in all of this?

I'm glad you asked.  He is using this for my good.  Like a piece of sand in the shoe that causes you to slow down at just the right moment, or like a fiery trial that burns off the dross and leaves the precious gold (1 Peter 1), or like a footnote that causes you to call out to God for "HELP!!!!!" God is in the details.

Down to the footnotes.


After a couple of weeks off for vacation and catching up from vacation, I go back into my writing lair tomorrow to try to beard the gossip dragon.

I'm going to ignore the footnotes and format questions and get to work on chapter 3 "Historical Precedents and Current Cultural Conditions" and map out the sermon series on resisting gossip that I will be starting this Sunday.  I'll also be prepping to teach on resisting gossip to a bunch of high schoolers at the Christian School in Clearfield on Wednesday.

I covet your prayers.  

Thank you!