A Really Great Reflection on Running and Theology

So, I simply have to spread the word about an excellent post by Eric Vanden Eykel, who blogs at The Least Creative Homepage in the History of Humanity. A doctoral student in Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity, his posts are often well-done and interesting. The latest is simply great. As a fellow runner who happens to move in this circle called “theology,” I found this post, titled “On Running and Being a Theologian,” very, very entertaining and spot-on. (BTW: there is a weird correlation that needs to be studied among theologians, runners and pianists: there are a lot of us out there!). Props to Eric.  Check out his blog and enjoy this list!

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 justslightly 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.

To view more of his writing or learn more about Eric, visit: http://tacet.wordpress.com

Photo: Stock

One Response to “A Really Great Reflection on Running and Theology”

  1. i am a runner (for 49 years!), minister (for 33) and professional jazz pianist (forever) – of course it all goes together!
    some of my sermon titles:
    “jazz theology” – comparing jazz and theology
    “road runner theology” – linking running and spiritual practice (of course, i run with music blasting from my headphones)
    – and i am 66 1/2 years old – a competetive long distance runner and weight lifter –
    who says old theologs can’t be (well if not sexy) at least healthy?!
    cheers – rev. don beaudreault, unitarian universalist minister (still working), venice, fl

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