When I was about to make the transition from undergraduate study of theology to graduate study of theology (the latter being my MDiv stage), I asked my undergraduate advisor whether he thought I was any good. I’ve never forgotten his reply, which was to this effect: “I’m going to be honest with you, and over the next few years people will tell you what I’m about to tell you so often that it will cause you no end of frustration – you have potential.” He was right – I was destined to hear this many times, and it did become quite frustrating. However, he was right about something else – it takes a long time to move beyond the state of possessing potential to actually becoming a halfway decent theologian. My wife used to make a similar point: whenever I would refer to myself as a “theologian,” she was quick to remind me that I am merely a student of theology.
Of course, toward the end of one’s doctoral program – and especially in the process of writing one’s dissertation – one begins to make the transition from being a student of theology to being a theologian (although, even as a theologian one never ceases to be a student of theology), or from having potential to having actualized that potential in a satisfying way. Thus, it is as one in the midst of such a transition that I feel free to take upon myself the task performed by both my wife and my undergraduate advisor vis-à-vis others coming behind me on this path.
The purpose of this post, other than to serve as a vehicle of my above reflections, is to alert you to the existence of two blogs written by students of theology who have potential here at PTS. The blog titles are Behold and Sign on the Window, and they are well worth adding to your RSS aggregator. So, surf on over, read, and provide some encouragement and conversation to help them along the long road from being students of theology with potential to become (hopefully, some day) halfway decent theologians. Below are some recent highlights from these two blogs as a point of entry:
“What is Glorious About God?”
“God’s Divinity in-cludes God’s humanity”
“Tanner on the Assumption of a Political Privilege by Social Trinitarisns”
Sign on the Window
“Writing for and writing with: Hauerwas and disability”
“Late to the party: advice from a ‘second career’ MDiv”
“A pacifist response to military chaplains day”
(Note: the designation "theologian" is used here in the academic or professional sense, rather than the ecclesial sense wherein every Christian is a theologian.)