A Follow-up to an Education

Note: This is not the second installment of my discussion on clergy and education, but rather an article I stumbled upon today that I thought was quite important.

Props to Dr. Joseph F. Scrivner, professor of Hebrew Bible at Samford University for bringing this to my attention.

Taking a Break from the Lord’s Work [via the New York Times]

By Paul Vitello


The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, and with little notice: Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.

Public health experts who have led the studies caution that there is no simple explanation of why so many members of a profession once associated with rosy-cheeked longevity have become so unhealthy and unhappy.

But while research continues, a growing number of healthcare experts and religious leaders have settled on one simple remedy that has long been a touchy subject with many clerics: taking more time off.

A big, big part of me honestly believes that a good college experience can help combat this. The stress- and time-management skills learned as part of an undergraduate education are invaluable. And, if you attend a Christian university, odds are there’s at least one class dealing with the practice of ministry that will attempt to teach you how to avoid burn-out and extreme levels of stress.

An uneducated and stressed-out minister is never an effective one.

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