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Career: Theologian

A Day in the life of a Theologian

If God is so powerful, can he make a boulder he can’t pick up? If that question didn’t just blow your mind, maybe you’ve got what it takes to be a theologian. If you’ll turn to the letter T in Webster’s Dictionary you’ll see that theology is defined as the study of God and of God’s relation to the world. A theologian concentrates on the rational study of religious history and modern day religious issues. They are the professors of God. Most theologians are found in seminaries -- religious schools -- studying religious texts and passing on what they learn to others. The theologian teaches the religious leader (priest, rabbi), and in turn the religious leader teaches the lay person. Theologians, utilizing the tools and methods of biblical research, spend a great deal of their time reading and writing. A theologian is described as someone who studies diverse denominations from many cultures, are biblically and theologically responsible, professionally competent, intellectually astute, and spiritually mature. A theologian strives to raise his or her mind to the contemplation of God and one who seeks to understand what He believes. An Old Testament professor describes his School of Theology this way: "We’re a traditional seminary with a strong curriculum, doing traditional things well, but we’re also sensitive to how the Spirit is leading the church into new forms and new areas of engagement and service in the world.” Material gain isn’t really on the mind of most theologians. The study of God is a lifelong pursuit with no guarantees in finding the answers until it’s too late to cash in on them

Paying Your Dues

There are two main career paths for theologians. You can become a monk, hide yourself away in a monastery taking a vow of poverty, celibacy, and any other “eey” that denotes piousness, and spend your days reading and writing. Or, you can become a professor, hide yourself away in a university, taking a vow of poverty, and spend your days reading, writing, and teaching. The later choice does involve a career path of sorts. Most young theologians with teaching on their mind, start off as associate professors. After a few years, they may become full professors, and eventually become deans of the religious studies department. In some settings, a theologian can move on to an administrative role, such as principals of private schools or presidents of seminaries.

Associated Careers

Some theologians lead double lives. After receiving a degree from a seminary school, many theologians chose to become teachers themselves, be it in private schools, university religious departments, or other seminaries. Some students of theology become youth pastors or family ministers in churches; some even go on to become religious leaders -- pastors, priests, or rabbis.

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