On Running and Being a Theologian

About a year ago, I started running in an effort to counteract the amount of time spent at my desk. In honor of my upcoming “runniversary,” I thought I would reflect on some ways in which running is not unlike being a theologian.*

  1. With both running and theology, there are certain milestones that correspond roughly to one another: the 5K (conference presentation), the 10K (peer-reviewed article), and the marathon (dissertation/book).
  2. With both running and theology, certain people seem more cut out for the aforementioned “events.” Likewise, in both disciplines you always finish these events by making promises to yourself about what you’ll do differently next time.
  3. With both running and theology, you’re engaging in a task that will be respected by many, understood by some, and will impact/affect relatively few who are not also runners and/or theologians.
  4. With both running and theology, you can injure yourself if you push too hard without the proper training and/or equipment.
  5. With both running and theology, you find yourself constantly surrounded by people with whom you can “play,” but who seem to be much better at what they do than you are.
  6. With both running and theology, you find yourself thinking about new places that you could explore…sometimes, after you have explored them, you realize that they are too hilly or marred by potholes.
  7. With both running and theology, you find yourself looking at some people and saying, “That’s not actually what this is all about.”
  8. With both running and theology, you consider your particular discipline to be just slightly better than all others.
  9. With both running and theology, there are times at which you will be exercising with others, and times at which you will spend long periods alone.
  10. With both running and theology, new equipment can get you only so far…at the end of the day, it’s not about the gear.

*I think one could fairly apply these observations to nearly any discipline in the humanities.

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4 thoughts on “On Running and Being a Theologian

  1. #5 is definitely very true. I would add that with both running and theology, you can “play” one time with someone and not actually know how hard he or she is trying. there are several people we know that I suspect can’t “run” as far as they let on.

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