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Miniblog #131: Why I’m Taking A Break from Studying Theology

by Carson T. Clark on October 1, 2012

In June I began a six-month hiatus from formal, academic theology–books, articles, etc.1 Obviously I still think and write on theology quite a bit, but I’m not actively studying it. A number of people have expressed bewilderment at this. One mentor who was concerned about my faith asked about the condition of my spiritual life.1.FYI, I’m increasingly leaning toward it being a full year. Likewise, a college friend supposed I must be going through a serious bout of depression and left a heartfelt voicemail inquiring about my psychological state.2 So, to alleviate the lingering worry of some I wanted to summarize why I’m taking this break. In no particular order, here are my major reasons:32.While I appreciate their thoughtfulness I cannot help but chuckle since I’m intellectually, psychologically, and spiritually doing better than I have in quite some time.

  • While I love theology, it seems as though a lot of people have wrongly perceived it to be #1 field of interest rather than fourth behind history, cultural studies, and political science.
  • While I’ll never attain confidence in my overall theological perspective, I’ve finally reached a point where I feel like I’ve got a decent handle on the issues that had long plagued my mind.3.Each of these centers around the fact that I’d been engaged in continual theological study for nine consecutive years.
  • While I think a certain measure of theological literacy is important for all Christians, I remain woefully and unacceptably illiterate in a whole host of other areas important for Christians.
  • While theology will always play a crucial role in my future as a pastor and/or campus minister, I think it anything but the be-all, end-all of intentional christian thought.
  • While my love for the life of the mind is not waning, I was experiencing some serious disciplinary fatigue and needed an opportunity to recalibrate my areas of active exploration.
  • While I always intended this blog to be a platform conducive to honest, rigorous theological wrestling, I most certainly never wanted this to be a theology blog as such.
  • Adam Cirone

    So the focus of your future blog writings will move away from pure theological issues and toward other thoughts about the Christian faith? Of course, many of your posts are not primarily concerned with theology already. Regardless, I am interested to see where you take your readers.

  • Brian LePort

    I respect and appreciate your decision. While we face an epidemic of pastors who are theologically illiterate there remains the equal and opposite danger: pastors who are buried in theological jargon to the point that they cannot communicate their thoughts to the people to whom they are ministering. I like that you are taking time to read broadly, to allow your mind to relax from the overly-academic side of theology (my guess is that even if you sit down to read a novel you will still find a “theological” point upon which to meditate), and to give some time to other areas of life. You’ll be better for it, I’m sure.

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