Thursday, June 18, 2009

How to share this phase of my life in non-theological terms

Last Sunday I got to know two Christian young mothers who are in the early thirties at a wedding dinner. After knowing that I’m not a Singaporean, they asked if I’m working or studying here.

I told them that currently I’m still working but not for long as I’ll be studying beginning next month until at least three years later.

They asked which course am I undertaking. I told them theology. They asked if that is some studies related to Christianity. I gave an affirmative before I elaborated that it is actually a course combining some historical, literary, and philosophical studies.

They asked further, “That’s pretty general. What subject will you be majoring in?”

“The interaction between the natural sciences and Christian faith,” I shyly whispered while gulping. Probably that’s the best I can put in non-theological lingo.

They asked even further, "Why do you want to take up this subject? Are you going to be a pastor or priest?"

I replied, "So far I can't see myself being a priest or pastor. I want to study because I have huge passion in the subject." And their eyebrows raised.

I have been giving this answer whenever I’m asked what will I be studying. And whenever I replied, “Theology”, the inquirers would just scratch their heads. It’s unsurprising and common.

To say that ‘theology’ is ‘Christian studies’ is of course an oversimplification which is almost false and highly inaccurate. So I devised the answer that it is a combination of some historical, literary, and philosophical studies.

And some inquirers simply replied in kind, “Alright.. It’s some cheem subject”, before jumping to other topics like, “How old are you?”


pearlie said...

Haha... I hv exactly the same problem. I can't use the word "theology" without having them give me blank looks and I'd end up saying something along the line that it is church related which is not entirely accurate as well. I think the next time I'm being asked, I'd just simply say Christian Studies, since that is what the masters degree I'm doing is called anyway.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Pearlie, yes it's difficult to communicate with those who are not in the circle.

What's worse is after telling them what you are studying, sometimes the conversation stuck there because they don't know how to relate to what you just said.

pearlie said...

So true, and it would feel so uncomfortable. Which is why I usually just relate it to the church and then move on to other subjects.