Lockdown Diary: Prof John Barclay, Durham University

Life in lockdown is exhausting. Planning, organising, and administering online teaching is sapping all the mental energy and time at the moment, while teaching is less rewarding than usual, without significant face-to-face interaction. (God so loved the world, that he did not Zoom us …).


Also the drama, frustration and anxiety caused by the news takes up so much mental and emotional space, that it is hard to think clearly and well. The result is that there is, for me at least, very little reading/research and no extended writing taking place at all.

On the plus side, the online world allows international interaction across continents without the hassle, pollution, and expense of travel. But if this goes on long, we will find ourselves with less and less to say to each other, and unable to make meaningful new scholarly relationships. An online conference is not a patch on the real thing!

John M. G. Barclay is the Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University.

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Written by
Tavis Bohlinger

Dr. Tavis Bohlinger is Editor-in-Chief of the Logos Academic Blog and Creative Director at Reformation Heritage Books. He holds a PhD from Durham University and writes across multiple genres, including academia, poetry, and screenwriting. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three children.

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4 comments
  • I am a retired pastor who also teaches lay theology, mainly in the form of biblical and doctrinal studies. Zooming for me has been something of a patch that I’m trying to get better at.

    However, I do need medicinal help. It came to me in a bit of divine intervention. We run a sheep farm for the main purpose of training Border Collie sheepdogs. My best herding bitch, Betty, realized I was in a funk when I failed to get her out to do her training and her work, so she looked at me so intently that I soon realized my mistake. We have been working twice a day since, and it has reawakened in me the joy of sunrise, sunset, crisp winds, gorgeous animals, and salvation.

  • Everything was seemingly to be too fine with all of us for so many years after the First Advent of the Lord and we thought that it was true in everything but not realizing that it was not fine in this confused and chaotic world. I believe, the Lord is not alone worried about His chuirch but He is also concerned about the world. We have segregated the sacred and the secular and we have become too inclusive in our heart, mind and soul so that we have failed to prepare the ministers of God to face the challenges found in this X generation. We are still fighting with our denominational doctrines but not preparing the future believers to live a model life in this chaotic world. I strongly believe our God has put all of us in the cross road to check ourselves where we are standing in our sojourn with the Lord in our journey with Him before He returns with a clarion call to bring eternal judgement upon this world. It is a heart ache to see dwindling faith in the west and to see believers in the east trying to fight for their faith with all of their past baggages still on their backs like “Christian” in “Pilgrims Progress.” I think we need to return to the CROSS to be crucified and to wait for His outpouring, the “PENTECOST”. We need a fresh renewal and Revival or otherwise God has to raise the stones to speak on behalf of Him to this world which has already gone deep into the sinking pool of SIN. My cry today: “Oh God be merciful upon us. We have failed you totally and have failed to LISTEN to you and ABIDE in you to be your witnesses and failed to raise Witnesses for you. We have failed to raise godly fathers and godly ministers who could listen to your voice. Be merciful upon us. Listen to our cries today. Bring RESTORATION and REVIVAL among us. In JESUS NAME. amen.

  • I’ve been teaching a study on the art of neighboring during a lock-down. It is exhausting and people are missing the connection with one another. Though there are new opportunities to visit with people globally it will make thing much changeling to continue to have those types of conversations.

Written by Tavis Bohlinger
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