Tuesday, May 10, 2005


I'm bothered. I know that there are people in the world who think PhD's are stupid. Pieces of paper that get framed and hung on walls, and if they mean anything, mean something like, "The person whose name appears here thinks she knows more than you and doesn't really know how to do anything practical."

But it's one thing to know that that's "out there" and another to run up against it. Gosh, I'm glad it was only an internet confrontation. If it had been personal, I might've cried. How embarrassing. And not quite fitting for the rude truth speaker.

But of course all of you really know that I suck at speaking rude truth, and that's the real reason for the blog. To practice. Because I don't have nearly the courage required. And somehow, I have to figure out where to get it. So start small: a little blog that no one reads, where I can cuss when the occasion requires and yet feel safe that no one knows. How long will it be before I'm ready to speak the truth to the real, wide, unfriendly world?

A long time, my imaginary friends and readers. In the meantime, here I am. Practicing.

So, anyway, I'm bothered. I wish that people valued what I'm doing. But it seems that if they're not offended by the fact that I'm a woman daring to study theology, then they're of the opinion that studying theology is pointless to begin with. And I feel so beaten down at this point by my studies, wondering if I can even hack it, that I find myself really in need of affirmation. Which is not to be found.


JAW said...


You probably already know this, but I intimately know at least two individuals in Malibu, California (and an entire religion division, for that matter) who are thrilled by what you are doing. Keep it up. :)

Having seen up close what one must do to get a PhD, I can say it's so much more than a sheepskin - even if I don't possess one myself.

If I really wanted to more fully engage this conversation, I'd take the PhD chatter one step further - for example why do so many at some schools merely view a PhD as a hoop to jump over for a teaching appointment? Shouldn't such individuals, if they wish to fashion themselves scholars, see the PhD as a mere starting point for a lifetime career of scholarship and service to their profession, their church, and their world?

That's my most condescending criticism yet - how do we convince PhD holders to view their degree as a springboard instead of merely a hoop?

JAW said...

Ps. Oops, people jump THROUGH hoops, not over them. Usually.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that my wife and I are thrilled that you're studying theology at PTS. We know that you have been called to this form of ministry. Who better to provide the necessary theological perspective for other women (and a handful of men) who feel put out by our tradition. From where I'm standing, there is no better thing to study than theology. I don't know the first thing about doctoral work, but I'm sure you can hack it. Sorry to hear about your negative encounter (the online community can suck sometimes, too).

We'll be praying for a little affirmation to keep that train going. In the meantime, keep practicing, you need to get that voice ready because people really do want to hear what you have to say.


JTB said...

Thanks, y'all. I'm a little sheepish now at my whininess, but hey, this is paper-writing crunch time after all and everyone gets a little frantic around then. Thanks for the boost. :)