In September, 2013, I moved to Toronto to pursue Graduate studies at Wycliffe College and Toronto School of Theology. I was going for a Master of Arts in Theology degree and I was in the Biblical Studies department, focussing on Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).
As I approached the end of my course work I had to decide on the subject for my MA Thesis. On my graduate school application I said that I wanted to study something in the Book of Ecclesiastes. I had been fascinated by the book ever since I stumbled upon it as a teenager.
I have pursued academic scholarship with the understanding that it needs to benefit the church. If it does not connect with the church at all, then what is the point? I have also been concerned with social justice ever since around the same time I discovered the book of Ecclesiastes. (After all, Jesus came to proclaim the Kingdom of God was at hand, and that meant good news to the poor, and freedom from oppression.) So it seemed I had two things about which to research; Ecclesiastes and social justice.
I began my work and people would ask about my research topic. I would respond, “Social justice issues in the book of Ecclesiastes.” People were never too sure what to say about that. It’s not an obvious study. People don’t look to the teacher of Ecclesiastes for advice on dealing with social justice issues. But that is why I wanted to write about it. And I think it was quite interesting.
If you want to know what the guy who claimed that all of life was meaningless, vanity, transient, had to say about social justice issues, then go ahead and read it for yourself.