14 July 2011

An alternative type of networking

At the Society of Biblical Literature conference last week, I discovered an alternative form of networking. As this was the kind that gets you home-made chocolate chip cookies at break time, you can imagine that I was immediately interested.

Julie, who'd attended most of the sessions on prophets with me, was the one who introduced me to the networking. (She was also, incidentally, the one who'd baked the cookies). She, after all, lived in London - and thus had the resources available to do this. She also had the resources available to bring lunch for those she knew really couldn't afford to be buying it every day.

And so if I hadn't already been intrigued by Julie's brief mentioning of the fact that she frequently taught classes in the majority world - this hospitality for others certainly caught my attention. It illustrated to me an alternative to the 'publish or perish' way of thinking that seems to overwhelm academics. What I saw in Julie and her networking was instead a strong desire to use her gifts and resources to help others - whether it be local hospitality to visiting theologians in London - or whether it be her sharing her Ph.D. in Old Testament with those in other parts of the world. And that kind of desire is something that I'd like to develop more and more in myself.

I do want to do my best with my biblical research - and that means being very much a part of the academic world. Yet, at the same time, I don't want to get completely lost in academics - I don't want to forget that the gifts that God has given me are not only to be a blessing for me but also a blessing that I am to share with others. It was thus delightful, in the midst of an academic conference, to be reminded of both academic excellence and generous hospitality.

1 comment:

MB said...

Herkenbaar, zoals ik gisteren ook al zei. De combi van de ivoren toren en de gemeenschap is interessant en lastig.
We hebben contact, groet,