First an apology. I have not written. Well it is has been a tough 6 weeks. Going back and forth to doctors all over Central and Southern Alberta is time consuming. The one thing about living in a small town is that services are all somewhere else. And getting to said services takes time. Anyways here goes.
For those of you who know me, I am not one who is big on titles. Going to a new church I am often asked what I want to be called. Do I want to be known as Pastor, or Reverend, or something else? I invariably tell people to call me Darren. Why? I am proud of my title, but I just don't ever want that title to get in the way of my relationship with others. Also I know that not all ministers are Reverends. Some ministers are Diaconal Ministers. Some ministers are what we call Designated Lay Ministers. Some ministers like to be called Pastor. By not insisting that I be addressed as Reverend, maybe I am making it easier for some subsequent minister years from now who has a different title.
I guess another reason why I don't insist on using a title, is that I know in a few instances people use titles as a way of placing themselves above others. Some of my colleagues have gone on to further studies and achieved a doctorate in ministry. Many of those people have done these further studies to improve their ministry which is great. I commend that. Some have a keen interest in an area of church studies and want to pursue that which is also wonderful. But a few colleagues have just done the further studies so they can be referred to as the Rev. Doctor, instead of us lowly Revs. But the title does not necessarily mean they are a better minister than someone else. So my personal take is that I don't put a lot of stock in titles.
Many people do though put a lot of stock in the titles that they have earned. And I can't blame them. They have worked hard at their discipline of studies. They have read countless books, written many papers, and become fully conversant in their discipline. They have earned the right to be called Doctor in their discipline. At university, I had no problems referring to my dean as Dr. Miller. I knew I could not go to him for a sore thumb. He was not a medical doctor. But in terms of Middle Eastern studies he was an expert and deserved the title. The same went true of all of my professors. I had no problems calling them Doctor whether it was in English, New Testament, Ethics, or Philosophy. They have earned those titles.
I was surprised then when I read the article by Joseph Epstein that criticized Jill Biden for using the title Doctor. He said the title sounded fraudulent and fake because her Doctorate was in Education and not medicine. Epstein is wrong in this. Biden worked years as an educator. She studied at universities in Delaware and Pennsylvania. She earned her doctorate in 2007 from the University of Delaware. She has earned her degree and the right to be called Doctor. Her doctorate is no less than that of a physicist, an engineer, or a medical doctor. She is entitled to claim that title of Doctor and to be addressed as Doctor Biden if that is her desire. The fact that she will be the first First Lady to do so is a remarkable achievement. Blessings.