I had to come up with three possible thesis topics for a class assignment this week. (Thesis work starts in January) So here's what I've been thinking of doing. The first one is the frontrunner right now.
1. Chesterton's Critique of Protestantism
As a Christian with fairly fixed Protestant roots who has been profoundly effected by the writings of Gilbert Keith Chesterton I would like to explore and better understand why he converted to Catholicism and see if there is anything to be learned from him in this post-Vatican II era of increasing dialogue between Protestants and Catholics.... It may be best to frame the question this way:
Properly understood in context, what insight can Protestants today gain from GK Chesterton’s conversion to Catholicism in 1922?
2. Theodicy in The Man Who Was Thursday
Since systematic theologians stumble at the point where they have to concede a great deal of mystery in Theodicy, I would like to study what GK Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday is able to say through imaginative narrative about the problem of evil and the belief in a good and holy God (aka Theodicy).... Particularly intriguing would be the metaphorical connection that there seems to be between Chesterton’s slippery character "Sunday" and some of the ideas of Karl Barth concerning the "shadow" side of the Election of God or CS Lewis’ description of Aslan as "not a tame lion".... It may be best to frame the question this way:
What does GK Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday contribute to theology by probing the mysteries inherent in Theodicy through imaginative narrative?
3. The Rallying Point of the Church
The Western Church conveys an image of itself that seems to say that holiness, or moral rightness, is to be the hallmark and the unifying bond between Christians. However, I would like to contend that while holiness is a common goal of Christians it is forgiveness, or reconciliation, that is to be their hallmark and unifying force. I wouldn’t want to polarize things too much simply in order to simplify the topic, however, nor would I want to miss the essential tension that I think I’m trying to address, but perhaps I could pose the question this way:
What should be the hallmark and rallying point for church health and identity this side of heaven, an atmosphere of holiness, moral rightness or of perpetual reconciliation with each other and God in the name of Jesus Christ?
Incidentally, an awful thing happened when I was saving a paper this week. I had two to hand in and I saved one over the other, meaning I was left with two copies of the same one. Try as we could there was no way we could find in WordPerfect to retrieve teh old one. So I got up at 5:00 the day of class and retyped the one I lost. Not sure if the original or the new one was better, but by that point I almost didn't care. Sheesh that blew.