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Musings of an aspiring academic

July 23rd, 2013 No comments

When I was very young, I felt a call from God to teach Scripture.  In middle school, Bible was consistently my strongest subject–I completed in state-wide speech meets, where I recited verses that I had memorized.  I got the highest possible score four years in a row.  Granted, it’s not that much of an accomplishment, but for a seven-year-old, it’s pretty awesome.  It seemed that my sensing God’s call was correct–I was certainly not an exegete par excellence at such a young age, but I was certainly passionate about God and his Word.

As a freshman in high school, I took my first course devoted exclusively to the Old Testament.  It was far more theologically and culturally rich than I had expected.  My experience with Scripture now touched upon critical examination, as well as the beginnings of exegesis. One day in class, we made pottery inscribed with Hebrew and Akkadian symbols (I wasn’t too good at replicating them – I never have been much of an artist).  The course was a systematic walkthrough of the Old Testament, and during the last quarter of the class, we learned a little bit about how the Old Testament intersected with the New.

At this point, I was fascinated with both the Old and New Testaments.  I began to think that I might want to study this in college, but I couldn’t decide where I wanted to focus, or which I found most interesting.

Then, during my junior year, I took my first Hebrew class.

I was hooked.

And so, in Seminary, I devoted most of my time to studying Hebrew and Old Testament.  The journey has been arduous.  I have had a handful of high points, and more than my share of low points. A PhD has always been the goal – I would love to come back and teach at Asbury University.  My GPA, however, might hinder me from getting into a program.  Over the years, there are two question that repeatedly crosses my mind:

“Is it worth it?” and

“Why get a PhD anyway?”

I have a couple friends that really enjoy writing and research.  I have done a bit of that since graduating, and find it tedious.  I admit, I find little joy in researching (unless it is an original idea – thankfully, I have found one of those).  I do not, at present, desire to be a world-class scholar.  I admire those who do have such a goal.  Personally, though, I am not trying to climb the academic ladder for the sake of notoriety and recognition.  I am trying to prepare myself so that I might increase my chances in getting a job.  And, even with a PhD, there are no guarantees that I will find one in my field (though I pray that I do).

For me, rigorous academic work and doctoral aspirations are but a means to an end.  I do not want a PhD to gain noteriety, prove my opinions are the right ones, or make a ton of money; the truth is, from my understanding these are rare occurences indeed.  In today’s job market, though, the PhD is the standard academic degree.  One has the best (though still slim) job options if he or she has a PhD.

My calling is to teach God’s word to his children.  Precisely how this will look, I do not yet know.

But I’m trying my best.

In the mean time, those of us who are aspiring Christian academicians, I believe, should be content to serve God faithfully where they are.  For me, this entails spending time studying, writing, and teaching  (primarily Hebrew).  For others this intermediate situation will, no doubt, look very different.  Until I have an opportunity to enter into full-time ministry, I must, with God’s help, do the best I can.

 

 

Categories: Academics, Theology Tags:
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