Saturday, March 08, 2008


Well now my life has gotten complicated.

I'm 3 for 4 in the doctoral programs: GTU, Wilfrid Laurier, and Fuller all took me. This means I have some seriously tough deciding ahead of me. J was joking that I've gone from having Republican candidates to choose between to Democrat: that is, they are all pretty much equivalently good, and therefore deciding who to choose is infinitely harder than if somebody would just be wrong already.

But they're not wrong, they're right, in different ways, admittedly. So now I have to decide who I want to be and what I want to get from my PhD, what career I might think I want. Now according to my own mentor who'd be the one working with me at Fuller, I'd hit a ceiling there and their resources are not really adequate to what I want to study. Not to mention that they just couldn't afford to give me nearly the kind of package I've gotten from the others. So while I'm not rulling anything out this early (I just got all this news yesterday), Fuller is probably off the table pretty soon.

That leaves us with GTU and WLU. The more I learn about the latter the more interesting it becomes. What I would learn there would be intense religious studies stuff, topics I'm not familiar with and that sound extremely interesting. It would prepare me very well for an academic career and for teaching, specifically in the area of religious studies. The program has an excellent reputation, and I think the faculty are well-known in their fields. It would set me up to teach in Canada, probably, a bit more easily than the US, but it wouldn't hurt me I don't think. I might even be able to use it to get into religious life work, since I'll have a broad knowledge of many religions.

Yeah, this is all really interesting stuff. I love the interfaith aspect of it. And I would almost certainly be able to travel for field research, and would produce work that would be relevant to more than just Christians.

And then there's the little matter that they've offered me more money and living there is FAR cheaper than Berkeley. I mean, we could get a house. That's huge. Health insurance for all of us is about 2/3 cheaper than here in the US. The falling dollar might hurt a bit, but the generosity of their offer more than makes up for it. We could actually get our feet under us, financially, for the first time...well, nearly ever. There's a lot to commend living there.

So it's extremely tempting. I'll be chatting with people from the program in the next weeks, alumni and faculty. And with people who know people who live there. Gotta try to get a sense of it. I really wish I could travel there, but I'm not sure how wise it is at this stage of my pregnancy (if I were to go into labor, I wouldn't be covered by Kaiser unless I found a Kaiser to go to). In a couple more weeks, airlines wouldn't let me fly anyway.

Still, being able to visit would make such a difference. Just to know what it feels like. I'm such a gut person. That's why, despite all this, I can't let go of GTU. My gut still wants to go there.

And there's other aspects also. I feel like where WLU would make me an excellent academic, adept at evaluating and studying religion from the outside, GTU would allow me not only to be academic but also practicing - that is, I would be able to engage theology from the inside without suspicion. I could make my project very Christo-centric, and it would likely be targeted more to the Church than to a broad audience.

I originally wanted to study liturgy so I could help reform it. I feel like GTU better prepares me for that. I just don't know if, after my interfaith experiences, that's still my final calling. It seems GTU would prepare me more to be a minister as well as a teacher, rather than just an academic.

And then there's the little matter of spiritual support. Being near the CDSP is a huge draw - to be around the Episcopal seminary puts us within a community of believers, which may be particularly important with the new baby. There are multiple prayer and fellowship opportunities. And I would imagine that my ordination process wouldn't have to be on hold for long - it could possibly get going again even while I'm doing the PhD, if I wind up in the right place. I just don't know what, if any, spiritual resources I'd have at WLU. I know the Anglican Church in Canada is great, but is it enough?

So am I a priest or a professor? Or put another way, do I want to teach at a seminary or at a university? Am I called to the church or to the world? I didn't want to make that choice. At least not yet. I genuinely love both. I actually feel like I can work in both worlds.

I really feel like this is what my decision is coming down to - more than the money, it's about the future I'd be heading for. GTU would prepare me to work in the Church and really make a difference there - advising on liturgical theology, taking my ideas about food to the masses, and working with people (hopefully students) in more than just an intellectual capacity. WLU would prepare me to work in the academy, and likely prepare me very well for interfaith work.

And WLU makes my family more financial secure. Which isn't nothing.

I just don't know. I have a couple weeks to figure it out. I'll keep you posted. It's incredibly difficult. I can easily talk myself into either way.

1 comment:

Grebelette said...

Hi! I have greatly enjoyed reading your blog as a student of theology with a strong interest in liturgy. I am from Waterloo, Ontario where I am presently completing an MTS degree. I am sure you have plenty of contects in Waterloo, but if you have any questions or are looking for another perspective feel free to send me an email. Best wishes as you make this difficult decision.