Um, hi, my name is Kristine, and I’m an intellectual. However, what I mean by “intellectual” isn’t much, really. I mean that I am inclined to approach life head first, to under-emote and over-think, to go to the bookshelf instead of the refrigerator or another human being when I need comforting. (Admittedly, I am not a pure intellectual–I have a great many books with Cherry Garcia-stained pages).
But here’s the thing–I’m no more proud of being an intellectual than I am of having brown eyes or being 5’3″. It’s not a trait I have much control over, and it’s certainly not something I earned. I don’t expect everyone to be like me in this way, any more than I expect everyone to have the scary Haglund eyebrows or like Cherry Garcia more than Chunky Monkey. (Again, not a good example–I have to confess some slight sense of superiority to anyone who thinks Chunky Monkey is best. Come on!!)
That said, I also don’t expect people to think less of me because I’m built this way. It always comes as a rude shock when someone at church makes a disparaging remark about faithless or proud or arrogant or apostate intellectuals. I may, in fact, be faithless, proud, arrogant, and apostate (usually not all at the same time), but it’s not because I’m an intellectual, real or “so-called.” In fact, if I ever manage to become humble, patient, virtuous, kind, or faithful, it will probably be by applying my intellect to the project of being a Christian. Some people have good instincts, or native faith, or the gift of tongues to help them approach God. I don’t, much, and I have to do it with my brain.
And that is all I mean when I say I’m an intellectual. But perhaps you do not think that word means what I think it means…