The problem with being successful in school (and by successful, I mean particularly earning good grades, which is not really being successful in school, but that will be what it means for this paragraph) is that it can lead to a big head. And I have recently been reminded how big I have allowed mine to get.
I have been encouraged by a number of my professors to persevere on through a Ph.D., and I have really expected that I would do that. I like to think that I am capable. That I think lofty thoughts. That I have a lot to contribute to the ongoing conversation of theology and Christianity. And then I read some discussions about what people are talking about, and I just sit. I comprehend it. But I’m just not there. And I am not even sure that I want to be.
I liked to imagine myself in seminary as someone who would bridge the gap between the ivory tower of Christian academia and the remainder of every day reality that most people encounter and live. But, for the moment, I wonder if it is possible. The pastors of tomorrow will be taught what is being conversed today, and eventually the thoughts will trickle down to the masses. Academia will have moved on to greener pastures, but the church at large will seek to live out the theology of the last century. That’s how I see it as being done throughout church history, and no reason to expect that to change.
So I wonder now if I will contribute to the theology or simply regurgitate what I have been taught. I am not the man I used think I would be. It’s not defeat, just a good dose of humility.