The aptly-named first post

by Cole Matson

The First Week of Lent, 2009

Welcome and well met!

My name’s Cole, and I’m a blogger. I’m also an actor and arts administrator here in lovely Charm City, Baltimore, Maryland. I perform children’s theatre in schools, and am the office administrator for the Baltimore Theatre Alliance, a collection of approximately 65 theatres and film companies and about 250 theatre and film artists in central Maryland. As of October 2009, I will be an undergraduate at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, reading Theology for a second BA. I will also be a Junior Resident Fellow at the Kilns, Christian author C.S. Lewis’ former home, now maintained as a study centre by the C.S. Lewis Foundation. As a Scholar-in-Residence, I will be living there my first year.

The purpose of this blog is to provide an account of one American student’s time at Oxford and at the Kilns. When I was accepted as a student and Scholar-in-Residence, I searched the blogosphere to learn more about the day-to-day life of an Oxford student, and a Kilns resident. While I found a lot of good information on Oxford and C.S. Lewis, I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for. So, for the benefit of future Oxford students and potential Kilns residents and visitors, I’d like to provide a glimpse into day-to-day life at Oxford and the Kilns.

My residency begins in September, and my course begins in October, so in the meantime I’m going to be posting weekly about my preparation and local acting career. One of my goals before I start is to learn Biblical Greek. I was accepted as a Senior Status undergraduate because I had already earned a good undergraduate degree (BFA in Theatre & Psychology from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduated 2006). Therefore, I’m skipping the first year of the 3-year Theology degree, along with Preliminary Examinations. The first year is generally when Theology students learn either Greek or Hebrew, so I have no scheduled Greek coursework before Finals in Trinity 2011. (The Oxford academic year is divided into three 8-week terms – Michaelmas, October to Christmas; Hilary, Christmas to Easter; and Trinity, Easter to June – with lengthy holiday vacations in between.) However, I have to be able to translate New Testament passages into Greek for Finals, so I need to learn it before then, and preferably before I start. I’ve got my copy of Jeremy Duff’s Elements of New Testament Greek, and my Greek New Testament, and 7 months to go. Oh, and my reading plan includes a theology book a week, plus re-reading the Bible. So far I’ve read David Brown’s Invitation to Theology, and re-read the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Woohoo!

Oh, and on a side note, I recorded my commercial voiceover demo today. For the past two years, I’ve made my living primarily as a performing artist, so even though I’m moving to England in the autumn, I need to keep working on my business!

If you’ve gotten this far (and even if you’ve skipped to the last paragraph), thank you for reading! I love comments, ideas, and suggestions. If you have any questions, post in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to answer them. I plan to get a blogroll of online resources on C.S. Lewis, Theology and the Arts (my academic area of interest), Oxford, acting, the Inklings, theology, and other relevant subjects. So, if you have any suggestions for links, or want me to link to your blog or website, just ask in comments, and I’ll evaluate your suggestion.

Thanks again, and Dominus Vobiscum!

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