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.
The thing that drew me into listening and growing with you was when you said, “we are all in this school of love.” I remember as a kid thinking that I would love to be a perpetual student, always learning. I am constantly fulfilling that dream.
I always thought my Master of Divinity degree sounded like something from a candy kitchen–or some kind of so-called spiritual designation from the latest woo-woo guru. Why not a Master of Ministry? Just think, the abbreviation would be MOM. What could be more humbling on Mother’s Day!
Old-Fashioned Divinity Candy — This is a soft white candy made with light corn syrup. My Mom made it, sweet and good. If you want more food for the gods or those who study them, check Ambrosia Salad! You and the Divine Miss M(idler) deserve the adjective.
Tagore said, “Love is the only reality and it is not mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.” John Lennon is even more succinct: “All you need is love.” We are all perpetual students in “a school of love”—M.Div degree or not.
Divinity. To me it’s a touch of the infinite, a taste of that transcendence which we experience from time to time. There is something so real, so uplifting, so unmistakably powerful- and yet invisible (except in its visible effects)… yes, call it life; call it love. Thank you.
The Don Quixote picture picks up nicely on the whole theme of apprenticeship. As a fellow master of Divinity I share your sentiments!
Something similar happened whn I graduated from law school and was awarded a Batchelor of Laws degree. Due to a movement within the ABA, some didn’t consider the LLB lofty enough, so pretty soon I got in the mail a substitute certificate saying I was a Doctor of Jurisprudence! I always had a little trouble with the term, “jurisprudence.” Not so sure about the prudence part.
Squire Tremba! I like it. I agree with you; Master of Divinity is a wee bit pompous, but then pomposity is the goal and the achievement of so many of us. Master of Biblical Studies might be better – MoBS – nice acronym, yes? Thank you for another great insight into the human condition. Terry