As I read through Earthen Vessels, I came across a discussion of a few characteristics that comprise the theological academic community: peer-oriented environments, intellectually ‘safe’ places, and highly controlled learning (clear objectives, sequence, and structure). Admittedly, I sometimes bemoan the fact that once you graduate, it can be difficult to find some of these experiences again in the paths of work, family, and other. Unless you attend a church or have family and friends nearby who enjoy investing personal time in reading, researching, and contemplating spiritual and academic issues and can also make time to meet with you once a week or once a month to talk about it, some of these features rather quickly fade into fond memories.
Have you found any ways to recapture some of these valuable moments outside the context of the university? What has worked? Although some of these good things might be lost when you move into different seasons of your life, what do you find replaces these things? How does that push you to keep growing and asking critical questions?