Dangerous Species: The Theologically Educated
It's that time of year - graduation. This means a batch of people will be exiting the hundreds of seminaries in America with new letters behind their names: M-Div; ThM; D- Min etc. etc. I speak as one who also has two degrees (Music and Theology): Beware the dangers of theological education. I just finished reading through the book of Luke this morning, in preparation for teaching a summer series about encounters with Christ.
The alarming thing I noticed is that the people who 'get it', who understand Jesus and determine to follow him, are largely uneducated. It's the educated people who have a hard time with Jesus, and it's the theologically educated who have the hardest time of all. I say this with humility, as one who understands the value of theological education. Having travelled the world, I've encountered the dangers of educational shortage firsthand. The Rwandan genocides are a case in point, though it could easily be argued that the problem there was bad theological education rather than a lack of it.
But as one reads through Luke, one finds that it's the educated who understand the scriptures well enough to know that resurrection is impossible, and that Jesus can't possibly be a prophet because he has healed a man on the Sabbath and allowed an unclean women to touch Him. And then you hear Jesus teaching, explaining to the Jewish religious elite how it will be the Gentiles who end up coming to the party because the religious people had better things to do, and how it was the heretic Samaritan who actually did the will of God by loving his neighbor because the well educated people had too many other agendas on their palm pilot to attend to the needs of a beaten down bystander.
Don't dismiss Jesus' criticism of the upper class too quickly. And don't condemn them too quickly either. I think it's simply important to recognize that education carries with it not a right to privilege, but a yoke of service. If I embrace that yoke, my education will becoming a blessing to me, day after day, and will enable me to become a blessing to others as well.