Dear Readers,

I find myself at something of a crossroads, and I would welcome any advice you can give me.

A position in Eastern Orthodox practical theology has opened up in the university here at which I used to teach.

Do I apply for it or not?

I have been an acting professor of church history there before, for three years. And a replacement lecturer in Orthodox systematic theology for one year.

I began teaching theology at the postgraduate level in 1993. My field is history of Christian liturgy and asceticism. I have interests and expertise  in other areas as well: patristics, systematic theology, comparative religion, ascetical theology, historical theology, ecumenical theology.

When I applied for a permanent professor’s position in church history at this university one of the criticisms of my application was that my field was really practical theology and not church history.

I am a good teacher, a good lecturer. I have not published anything since leaving that university in 2007. I haven’t been able to find an academic position in my field since 2007.  I still have a passion for teaching and research.

I have been the head of the Eastern Orthodox theological house in Cambridge, England, and I’ve been an affiliated lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.  I have studied at Harvard, Oxford, and the University of Notre Dame.

My Finnish is good enough for everyday life; I do not realistically think I can lecture in Finnish right now. I could well be able to if I were to focus on my spoken Finnish.

To be honest, my experience of two previous applications for a permanent position here has led me to the conclusion that at least in theology there are considerations and interests beyond the academic and scholarly that ultimately lead to a candidate’s being chosen for an academic position here. I am pessimistic at best about my chances.

I’m genuinely torn about what to do.  Thanks for your help.