My name is Harold Hofstad.
This is my second year at LTSG, although since I'm part-time, I suppose 2015 is more like the 2nd half of my 1st year. I'm in for the MAR program, and having retired from my 35-year career as a technical writer, I'm not really looking for a second career. A theological education for me is edification, and its purpose is enrichment, plus whatever I will be able to share with others, either inside or outside the Church. My main interest is in Church History/Historical Theology. I've done some reading in theology over the years and it has been a long-term interest. Attendance at LTSG is a way for me to formalize and focus that, in a more rigorous and comprehensive fashion. If I had to pick a secondary interest it would be Eco-theology. I have hopes that this can be one useful avenue for addressing the most fundamental problem facing the future of the human race - global warming. We face extinction at the worst, and civilizational collapse at best, if we do not change the way we live, both individually and collectively. What does the Church have to do with this, what does God have to do with this, and what would Jesus do? Where is the hope in a seemingly hopeless situation of our own making? These are questions I hope to explore, and to try to help whatever way possible. Hearts and minds have to change radically, of course, and there is little sign yet that this is taking place on the scale and with the speed that is necessary. But I care and I protest, just to preserve my sanity.
I can't say that I'm a fan of social media or digital media, and have kept it at arms length so far. The behavior I have observed in this area mostly indicates addiction, distraction, and a lot of inanity. The postive aspect is the more ready availability of information, though I think that needs to be filtered heavily to avoid overload. Tools to communicate better and reach people with a message or an invitation to engagement perhaps have much potential. So, I will put aside my personal predudice in the hopes of learning how to use some of these new tools for good purposes.
I have spent the last 2 weeks in Thailand, visiting my daughter who lives and teaches 3rd grade at a private school in Bangkok. I'm including a picture that I took at Erewan, a public square in the midst of a Bangkok business district. The square is a meeting place with a shrine, and is used for making offerings of incense and flowers. In the picture below you can see the ritual dancing, singing, and performance of prayer requests submitted by folks at the square. The other picture was taken yesterday from a long-tail boat on the canals in Thonburi. I'm having lots of fun - it's a beautiful country with lovely people, 95% of whom are Buddhists. This is my third visit here.
Other life interests I have include music, record collecting, audio equipment, and books.