April 15, 2012

The Big Rush: A Thought About Educational Trailblazing

Since I'm graduating, many friends are applying, being accepted to and beginning graduate level programs, even as early as this summer. When I hear things like this I get both excited and concerned.

I'm excited because education is good, formative and at times exhilarating. But at the same time, what's the big rush? I feel like many people are planning on blazing trails through their academics like they're running some marathon, with no foresight of breaks or slowing down. I understand for people in relationships who want to be married (or are married), who want to start a family and don't want to be old geezers when they have kids because they wanted to finish their education. I get that. I also understand that some people just know what they want and how to make it happen!… Hopefully that doesn't change.

But there are others, others—and I was one of these up until recently—who should think about slowing down and taking some time… taking some time off to………




Then think…

Go ahead and try it.

Education is important and something I care about. But since life is short and we are all going to die, we are limited in what we can pursue. This goes for everything, not just education. To be human is to be limited. God knows that I want to study everything! Well… a lot of things: theology, philosophy, history, psychology, sociology and ministry for starters and each of these is a portal to a whole world of its own. There's this heap of potential knowledge with not enough time to conquer it all.

Your studies should be well thought out. I think there is something to be said about, upon graduation, taking some time and honestly evaluating yourself and your life and intentionally putting into practice what you have learned and attempting to live in light of how you have been formed through your education. Obviously, though, for most of us, this doesn't mean chilling around and not working. Unfortunate, right? Life goes on. Bills need to be paid. Relationships happen. Etc.

But what's the point of studying the Bible, exegesis, hermeneutics and ministry if you abandon biblical studies and remove yourself from ministry? What's the point of your studies here and now if all you can think about is "moving on"?

I'm all for higher education. I just want people to treat their education well. Treat your education as if it were your grandmother. Be ethical. If you were your education, how would you want to be treated?

I guess all I'm trying to do is urge people and myself—in the middle of the crazy, up and down, go-go-go busyness of life, work and going to school—to walk in a manner worthy of the calling education to which you have been called received
(Ephesians 4:1 slightly modified). And so I suppose my one (multi-layered) application from this thesis is to stop, sit, breathe, then think about your educational road ahead, being honest in evaluating yourself, your talents, passions, dreams and calling. I don't know what the big rush is (other than the *strange trendiness* of graduate school of late and wanting to be a young, fresh scholarly genius who impresses others with his or her intellectual swag)! Time is not the enemy, it's the gift.

A true story (slightly modified as well):

A good friend of mine—and by no means am I saying this because I think she did not think through her life or education!—went to a very nice school to study education (what a coincidence) to be a teacher. She studied and passed and studied and passed and studied and passed until she was in her fourth year of college. Yet somehow, somewhere down the line she discovered a very sobering fact about herself. Drumroll please………

She did not want to be a teacher… *crowd stunned*

Well, ok then… I tell this story to illustrate the point that someone who thinks they know what they want to do/study in the future does not mean they will end up doing that.

Think about it.

So instead of trail-blazing, steam-rolling and other forms of path-clearing through the academy in our respective fields, we should take some time and properly think about that next step. And while we wait we can do the education that we have received justice and honor by practicing, implementing and influencing our everyday lives.