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Thursday, July 12, 2007 

Difficulties in Communication

One of the things that I frequently have trouble with is communicating to people what it is I am pursuing as a career. I currently work in Healthcare as an ER registration person and I have been getting this question a lot from my fellow co-workers. The question arises when people in the ER figure out that I am not pursuing a career in the Healthcare industry and so quite naturally they want to know what I plan to be when I "grow up". But I keep encountering difficulties trying to explain what is I'm wanting to do with my life.

This problem partly arises because I try to avoid saying things such as "bible scholar" or "NT professor." I do this for two reasons: one, my interests are wider than the discipline of biblical studies and/or its subsets (e.g., NT, OT) and, two, when you tell someone, especially here in the "bible belt", that you are studying something bible-related the response is always something to the effect of "oh, so you want to be a preacher!" And when I say no and try to explain that my interests are more academically oriented most of these people respond with blank stares. I have found that it is simply futile to try to explain to many of these people that one can pursue the bible in a purely scholarly and/or academic fashion without necessarily doing so from a devotional perspective.

However, I have tried in vain to come up with alternative explanations that I feel are adequate. I have attempted things like "historian of Late Antiquity" or "historian of ancient Mediterranean Society" but the response is usually more blank stares because the majority of these people do not know what is conveyed by these terms. Thus I have to spend lengthy amounts of time trying to explain "Late Antiquity" and "ancient Mediterranean Society".

Therefore, my questions to scholars and budding scholars of biblical studies related disciplines are:

1.) Do you have the same kinds of difficulty explaining to people what is you are doing and/or are pursuing as a career? and,

2.) How do you usually explain to people what is you are doing and/or are pursuing as a career?

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