IVP - Strangely Dim - Academic Polemic

May 29, 2007

Academic Polemic

I live in a theologically intellectual bubble (I promise you that this is due mostly to my surroundings rather than myself). My husband is a full-time student, pursuing a degree in biblical studies, and we live virtually next door to his campus, enjoying all of the theological forums and Bible conferences and spiritual conversations that Christian colleges provide. I also work at a wonderful, theologically sound publishing house, in an office filled to the brim with extremely intelligent, God-fearing people.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my life. Usually, I enjoy the stimulating conversation that takes place every day, as well as the provoking questions that arise in the course of reading books, interacting with ideas and pondering theology. There's always something to figure out, always something to wrestle with in my mind. It makes for an interesting existence.

It also makes for an exhausting existence sometimes. I have come to realize that I am not the kind of soul who is always encouraged by having more questions than answers. Sometimes thinking about the depth of God for too long makes me weary, even confused.

I am thankful for academia, thankful for those who are deep theological thinkers and can constantly dive into the mysteries of God and the universe. It truly is a gift to have that calling, and it is these people who often keep the church in check if it swings too far in one direction.

But I am not one of those people, and I think it's time I start embracing that aspect of my personality a little more completely. With an appreciation for academia planted firmly behind me for the moment, I am going to try and center my life on one thing:

Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.

Posted by Ann Swindell at May 29, 2007 10:29 AM Bookmark and Share


At the end of theologian Karl Barth's life, someone asked him what he had learned from his lifetime of theological study and reflection, and he said exactly what you said: "Jesus loves me, this I know."

I used to be an academic wannabe geek and read apologetics and theology and biblical studies and four views books for fun. But over the last few years I realized that I'd gotten tired of the endless abstraction and theological debate and nit-picking that goes on in certain circles. I think academic life is one of my alternate realities, a road not taken - I thought about going down the doctoral study route before I concluded that I preferred life in the publishing world. For me, it's a sense of calling - I'm not called to be an academic, but I'm something of a mediator or bridge between the academy and the church, between theology and praxis. And I love being in the world of ideas but also contributing to the life of the church as well.

Comment by: Al Hsu at June 12, 2007 9:43 AM

Thanks for helping to bridge that gap, Al. It's an important role and one I appreciate!

Comment by: Ann at June 12, 2007 3:17 PM

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