Phil Bishop is a professor of kinesiology at the University of Alabama.
Two years ago, he wrote a “Monday Ministry Minute” about the discouragement that has at times accompanied his academic career.
It has been among our most popular essays. (You can subscribe to receive them by visiting the site).
Why is it that so many professors found his essay appealing?
Here is Bishop’s response:
“I write all sorts of stuff, and like most of you, I give all sorts of talks.I am often surprised at what fails, and even more surprised at what works.
“I can only speculate that lots of readers could relate, on some level, to my failure. Many of us feel like we haven’t, or don’t, reach the lofty levels to which we aspire. I think also, we recognize God’s wisdom in putting us into a Body, the Body (singular) of Christ.
“Our vocation requires that we always be competent, professional, and successful. But, in truth, we recognize that we are facing a big job. Journal editors and referees, grant reviewers, even tenure and promotion committees can point out, sometimes gleefully, our shortcomings.
“We want to be reminded that God is willing to overlook our shortcomings.
“Sooner or later we all despair. We forget until some little thing, or some little essay reminds us. We need our fellow believers, and nowhere do we more need the fellowship, support, love and acceptance of our sisters and brothers in Christ, than in the University. We really need others to suffer and rejoice along with us.
“So who’s suffering (and rejoicing) with you?”