I checked the job

June 18, 2003



I checked the job listings before heading out. There were two that caught my eye and that I am, on paper, qualified for. They represent opposite ends of the academic world and I fear that neither would suit me.

A very Christian liberal arts college, affiliated with a missionary denomination, is hiring a historian to teach US history from colonial to the recent past, both as the 2-part survey and as a 4-part upper-level sequence. Their mission statement has two proof texts and talks about saving the city.

"Seek the peace and prosperity of the city where I have called you...because if it prospers, you too will prosper." Jeremiah 29:7-8

"Should I not love that great city?"
Jonah 4:11

Nyack College/ATS NYC, an accredited branch campus of Nyack College, has been called by the love of God to provide a Christian college education in New York City. NCMC endeavors to educate students biblically to pursue God's truth found in the greatness of the city and the diversity of its people, and to prepare students to serve God by seeking the peace and prosperity of the city and by transforming the city into the image of His kingdom.

That is not where my religion has taken me. I am pious, I have been unable to shake the emotional ties of Roman Catholicism. And yet, at a RC service I feel this close to idolotry. They keep talking about Jesus, and I want to hear about God. Intellectually I am a monophysite, emotionally I am a monophysite, but I can't shake the ties of some of the rituals and some of the prayers. These folks are evangelical and Jesus-centered. They appear to be a denomination that emphasizes heart religion over creeds and doctrines, but my heart religion is not that of most evangelicals.

In my personal religious practice I attend Jewish services and follow the prayerbook. The praise and devotion in most Conservative Jewish tikkun's is closer to my idea of proper worship than is reciting creeds and praising a set of miracles. In one person's phrase, I am comfortable in the courtyard of the temple, following the service without joining the tribe. And, just as I edit out much of the Christ stuff when following a Catholic missal, I also edit out much of the tribal stuff when I read the Jewish prayerbooks.

I will think on it, right now I am leaning against applying. I think I can do better than a liberal arts college where I would be teaching 4 and 4, there are only 3 historians, and I would be the token iconoclast.

The other job opening is on the far end of the spectrum. Stanford is hiring a historian in my time period. That is one of the top jobs in the country: I would be teaching 2 and 2, there would be graduate students to run discussion sections and take up some of the grading load, and I would be expected to maintain a LOT of publishing. I write slowly, I rewrite again and again, I have trouble articulating my own ideas even though I am pretty darn good at critiquing and articulating other people's ideas for them. It would be a hard job for exactly the opposite reasons as the small teaching schools.

I will apply, I would be a fool not to, and I will add to their flood of incoming resumes. But I will not apply until after I have defended. That one closes in November so I will have plenty of time later on.

Speaking of which, writing this down has helped me figure out what I want to do about the Christian college job. It has not helped me edit up the beginning of chapter 4.

This time I really am going to write.

Posted by Red Ted at June 18, 2003 10:26 AM | TrackBack