Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Good News on the PhD Front

Official as of 11:00 pm last night, and so now public knowledge: I have formally accepted an offer of admission to Yale's Department of Religious Studies to pursue my PhD in theology. My wife and I will be moving up to New Haven at the end of May, and I will begin my studies in the fall. I am looking forward especially to working with Kathryn Tanner, Miroslav Volf, and Christopher Beeley (among the other numerous remarkable scholars there).

Those who have gone through the process before can imagine my surprise, delight, relief, and sheer gratitude. For all the obvious reasons, I could not be happier about this next step. Along with those I note two particularly gratifying reasons: it establishes simultaneously that I will never have to apply for a doctoral program again and furthermore that I will -- by God's grace -- complete a PhD, neither of which facts are promised, much less expectable, aspects of this career path.

Most of all, as I have shared before, this is the fulfillment of a dream I have had for some time; in fact, when I begin my studies in August it will have been exactly eight years since I realized for the first time that I wanted to be trained as a theologian and scholar. What a gift it is to be given the opportunity to fulfill one's vocation in the best possible place, with the most conducive conditions, in the pursuit and practice of something one actually loves. I am profoundly thankful to be in such a unique and happy place.

As it happens, to a large extent this blog has served to chart my way through my Master's degree, linking undergraduate to doctoral studies in what will be a full three years of "in between the times." By way of the blog I have gotten to know (by text, by contact, by meeting) a host of other folks in similar positions on the same career or disciplinary continuum, whether out ahead or somewhere behind.

In that light I thought I would invite any others (some of whom I already know, though it is not my place to share) who are in a similar place, with knowledge of the next step into a graduate program, to feel free to share in the comments where you're headed. Even at this point, I can already testify to how nice it is to know others in the same theological "class," since in a real sense we'll be working our way through together. In any case, I'm sure we'll all be seeing one another soon enough.

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