Religion Professors: What We Really Do Meme


I had not yet seen a contribution to the “What I Really Do” meme depicting religion professors, so I thought I’d try my hand at one. What do you think? Any suggestions for improvements?

EDIT: Here’s another one, on the same theme, lest it seem that I either think that all religion professors are men, and lest in trying to divide the roles in one meme image, someone read too much into which ones I assign to men or women.

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  • Labaron123

    Make it less sexist. Thanks.

  • Dan McClellan

    That’s Don Parry, my old professor and boss in the upper left. 

  • Judy Redman

    Yes, but all your religion professors are male. And there are two responses to having taken classes – one is as you have pictured and the other is the “Oh, thank goodness – there are ways of understanding scripture that don’t mean I have to live my life in two compartments!!!

    • I honestly thought about interspersing men and women in the frames, but I kept having second thoughts. If I put a woman as the Sunday school teacher, am I just engagin in stereotypes? If I picture a woman in a “she-devil” Halloween costume, am I complicit in the sexualization and objectification of women? If I fail to find a good image online of a female scholar poring over manuscripts, and use one of a man, am I fostering gender stereotypes? Every possible combination of images seemed to be potentially controversial, or open to interpretations that I did not intend.

      So in the end I went with men for all of them, which reflects my own gendered perspective. I would love to try some different versions of this meme that reflect not just different genders but also the very different institutional experiences and student responses that surround religion professors. Would anyone else care to help me, and try their hand at one? I would love to share it here, and suspect that the result will be infinitely better than the one that I threw together.

      I am also thinking that there needs to be one about bibliobloggers…

  • I’ve added another one with women in the various frames. Please feel free to take these and try improving on them, mixing and matching, switching between them, or starting over from scratch!

  • William Tarbush

    So, in the end you objectified women while making it perfectly okay for the devil to be a man with a mustache. I demand as a man that used to have a stache that you picture him without one.

    My point is that this kind of separating of sexes never stops until some people have enough peace of mind with who they are you allow someone to address all people in a party as ‘he’ or ‘she.’

    • So where does that leave us on the whole mustache issue? Does giving Satan one or not giving him one demonize a certain category of people? 🙂

  • William Tarbush

    I don’t really think so. Neither do I think that you objectify women by placing them in cat suits. For to have them in cat suits (barring cases of human slavery), they placed themselves in that suit. Same as men with mustaches.

  • mattkelley

    There could be a “what some churches think we do” panel with someone ripping up a Bible or otherwise destroying someone’s faith

  • Dan McClellan

    James, I threw something together real quick. I put it here:

    If anyone likes it, feel free to use it. If not, feel free to ridicule me. 

    • Dan McClellan

      Note the spelling error, a subtle hint regarding what else we really do.

  • Not bad. The devil made me laugh. For “what I think I do” you should have had a Jedi with a light saber. 

  • I was trying to make it applicable to religion professors in general – although I know quite a few besides myself who think of themselves in that way! 🙂

  • Tom

    Check out for a generator of those pictures!

  • Ed Jones


    A viable historical solution to the Jesus puzzle has taken
    place within the only discipline capable, not only of identifying our primary
    Scriptural source of apostolic witness, but of appropriately interpreting this
    source.  However, “few are they who find
    it” even among well-known NT scholars. Finding it is “a task to which
    specialized knowledge in the areas of philology, form and redaction criticism,
    literary criticism, history of religions, and New Testament theology necessarily
    applies.” (Hans Dieter Betz). “Over the last two centuries, there gradually
    emerged a new access to Jesus, made available through objective historical
    research.” (James M. Robinson).  Under
    the force of present historical methods and knowledge this new access has been
    brought to a highly creditable understanding. This calls for a radical
    reconstruction of posthumous Jesus traditions. Schubert  Ogden: “We now know not only that none of the
    Old Testament writings is prophetic witness to (Jesus), but also that none of
    the writings of the New Testament is apostolic witness to Jesus as the early
    church itself understood apostolicity. The sufficient  evidence for this point  the case of the New Testament writings is
    that all of them have been shown to depend on sources, written or oral, earlier
    than themselves, and hence not to be the original and originating witness that
    the early church mistook them to be in judging them to be apostolic. (Indeed
    what they do contain supplies the grist for blogosphere mythicists’ mill)  – – the witness of the apostles is still
    rightly taken to be the real ‘Christian’ norm, even if we today have to locate
    this norm, not In the writings of the New Testament but in the earliest stratum
    of (Scriptural) witness accessible to us, given our own methods of historical
    analysis and reconstruction. Betz identifies this earliest stratum to be the
    Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3-7:27). “This source presents us with an early
    form – deriving from (the Jerusalem Jesus Movement) of the ‘Christian’ faith as
    a whole, which had direct links to the teaching the historical Jesus and thus
    constituted an alternative to Gentile Christianity as known above all from the
    letters of Paul and the Gospels, as well as the later writings of the New
    Testament.  (All are written in the
    context of the Christ of faith, not the man Jesus). If the – – Sermon on the Mount
    represents a response to the teaching of Jesus  critical of that of Gentile Christianity, then
    it serves unmistakably to underline the well-known fact – – of how little we
    know of Jesus and his teaching. The reasons for our lack of knowledge are of a
    hermeneutical sort and cannot be overcome by an access of good will
    (apologetics).  The Gentile Christian
    authors of the Gospels transmitted to us only that part of the teaching of
    Jesus that they themselves understood, they handed on only that which they were
    able to translate  into the thought
    categories of Gentile Christianity, and which they judged to be worthy of
    transmission.” (More to the point they included no more than they felt
    sufficient to lend credence to their Christ of faith myth). This calls for a
    new reconstruction of posthumous Jesus traditions.  is such an
    attempt, in the form of a letter to R. Joseph Hoffmann.  (Vridar, of all places?  So it is, but only by a unique happenstance.)                   

    • Ed Jones

      R. Joseph Hoffmann comment to the above Ed Jones comment: Ed: Thank you so much for that – – filled with wisdom and understanding.  Like Job!

  • Peter M J Hess

    Why don’t people who complain about non-inclusive memes make up their own memes?

  • gail_d

    Nailed it.