I’m sure every profession comes with its own stereotypes. Professors are absent-minded, construction workers are crude, garbage collectors stink, and doctors have bad hand-writing. We all have our burdens to bear.
As a theology professor at a seminary, I’m fascinated by the stereotypes that come with the job. Like many good stereotypes, some come with at least a grain of truth. That’s what makes them sting so much. Others say more about the people who use and believe them. Either way, theology stereotypes are fascinating.
So, instead of fighting these stereotypes, I’ve chosen to embrace them. All of them. Let me know if I’ve missed any.
I teach theology. That means…
- …half the time I don’t even know where my Bible is, let alone read it.
- …I think reading a verse in context means finding it in my favorite systematic theology book.
- …I get paid to start fights.
- …deep down I wish I had a cool-sounding German name.
- …my only friends have all been dead for 1000 years.
- …I’m right. Always.
- …I enjoy sucking all the mystery out of life.
- …real people confuse me.
- …I’m not even sure what “exegesis” is.
- …I spend most of my time thinking up alien categories to impose on the text.
- …I’m not even sure what ministry is.
- …I’m not truly happy until I’ve confused someone.
- …I think the fruit of the spirit is arrogance, strife, certainty, intelligence, perseverance (in study), loneliness, literacy, irrelevance, and stubbornness.
- …my favorite books are…never mind, you wouldn’t understand them anyway.
- …I’ve been trained to speak unintelligibly whenever possible.
- …no one likes me but I’m so bad with people that I don’t notice.
- …I think anyone who disagrees with me is a pagan, heretic, unbeliever, Cowboys fan, or some combination of the above.
- …I confuse belief with knowledge and speculation with reality.
- …if you saw how I dressed you’d swear I was colorblind.
[Thanks to those of you who offered suggestions for this list via Facebook or Twitter. And, feel free to suggest more!]