Continued from Pt. 2.
As I explained in my first post from this series, I’m done with seminary—or DWS, since I want to save space. I went to SBL this year even though I’m DWS and am currently not planning to go any further in the field. I know I looked like a tag-along to my husband (who wants to get a PhD in New Testament), but I was there because of my own interests and desperately wanted to be acknowledged as not totally out-of-the-loop. It’s something I felt as there, but also something I feel here at home. I always wonder if “the boys” will include me in their conversations—after all, Jeremiah and I both just finished our degrees in September, so should we be on equal footing? Yes, he took a couple Greek and NT classes I didn’t, but I took a Hebrew exegesis of Psalms class, so we’ll call it even. Sometimes I feel simply not having ambitions to go any further in the biblical studies/theology realm leads to people seeing me differently. I want to yell at them, “I went to seminary, too, for goodness sakes!” but I’m not sure that would do any good.
While I understand that SBL is generally meant for people with a more active role in the field, I think there are ways for others to be more inclusive of DWS people, more generally. Sometimes I see myself and other seminary graduates accidentally exclude our Bible-college-graduate friends or undergrad-reli-major friends from conversations—conversations they could probably be a part of if we just explained two or three words/ideas/authors/whatever and made it known that we wanted them in the conversation. The same goes for seminary graduates who aren’t getting PhDs in a related field. We still took Hebrew and Greek, we still know a bit about church history and theology, we still try to be thoughtful readers of Scripture, so please, don’t run over us with your words. Let us know it’s ok to join you and give us space to do so. In my dream world, the people in the field of biblical studies would be so wonderful to people who are DWS that youth pastors—yes, even those wacky youth pastors, of all people!—would think it was cool to come to SBL. We who are DWS will never be the experts you are, but it’s a good and glorious thing when we care about the field and want to stay engaged with it in some way. That’s a lot more than 90% of Christian ministers are interested in, so please, let it count for something. We DWS people really appreciate it.