I've lived and worked within academic circles for most of my adult life, studying in various universities, teaching within university circles, and having university professors as close friends and colleagues. What's that world like? What kind of folks inhabit academic circles? writes Ron Rolheiser.
Perhaps my experience is atypical because most of the scholars under whom I studied and most of the theologians and other scholars who have been my colleagues became professors and university lecturers in function of ministry, as a vocation, rather than as a career.
Thus, instead of struggling with faith and church, they were driven to become academics in function of their faith and church commitments. In some ways, professors in theology schools and schools of ministry aren't typical of academic circles.
But an academic is an academic and graduate and post-graduate studies, whatever the motivation for doing them, have some of the same effect on people. And so I suspect that the circles I have been part of, in the end, are more typical than atypical. And what is typical?
Academics, scholars, and university professors, like any segment of society, are a complex mix: In university circles you will find some of the most humble, gracious, faith-filled, and genuinely good people you will ever meet; just as you will also find some of the most arrogant, self-absorbed, amoral, and cynical people in the world. The academic world looks like the rest of the world.
Given that truth, I have long been haunted by a saying of Jesus that, often times, the deep secrets of life and of faith are hidden from the learned and the clever and revealed instead to children, to those of a less-complex mind. I don't doubt the truth of this; I wonder why.
FULL STORY Things hidden from the learned and the clever (Ron Rolheiser)