In case you didn’t know (or hadn’t noticed), I am a master of divinity. And I’m pretty sure you aren’t. And that’s okay. We all can’t be good at the same thing. I’m sure some of you are masters of the kitchen, or masters of the sea, or masters of the universe.
I’m a master of divinity.
I never wanted to be. That designation was bestowed on me as an earned degree. When I completed seminary in 1973 I was awarded an MDiv (master of divinity).
I entered Fuller seminary in 1969. I expected to earn a bachelor of divinity (BD), one of the oldest degrees in the country. But after earning bachelor’s degrees as undergraduates, some seminarians felt slighted, perhaps even insulted, by yet another bachelor’s degree after three or four years of additional graduate level studies.
So the Association of Theological Schools took a vote.
Master of Divinity won. (Master of Humility wasn’t on the ballot!)
I voted to keep the original degree.
After all, the BD was rare, venerable, and therefore cool. “Masters” I felt were becoming a dime a dozen. Besides, bachelor originally meant an underling, a person of low status, serving under someone great—for example, a squire in training for knighthood.
So I guess a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS) designates one in training in the arts or sciences. In other words, a bachelor is really just beginning to learn, a squire to knowledge.
So give me that bachelor’s degree. I’m no master.
I don’t even know what divinity means—although I do like the word if only because it reminds me that there’s something other and beyond humanity. Or there may be. Or could be. Who knows? I’m also an agnostic. Still, I’m pretty sure humanity is not the be-all and end-all.
And whatever divinity may be, I’m guessing it’s love, because love is divine.
Still, I’m no master.
I’m a bachelor of love.
See Paula’s photo “Redbud Sunset” on the home page. Posted May 9.