Jewish thinkers are always in the media. They make very profound pronouncements about life, about world events (past, present, and especially future), about the meaning and significance of… well, everything. Thinkers think a lot — that is their job — and they are more than willing to share the results of their thinking with the rest of us non-thinkers. 

Jewish theologians are also widely quoted in the media. They make very profound pronouncements about G d and how He runs the universe, and about the deeper meaning of the daily headlines. Theologians theologize a lot — that is their job — and they are more than willing to share their theological insights with the rest of us non-theologians 

I like reading the distillations of the cogitations and esoteric peregrinations of thinkers and theologians — even though their ratiocinations rarely leave me any wiser (although they enrich my vocabulary). 

I confess that I have never quite understood the difference between the two. I gather that theologians, strictly speaking, deal with G d and His relationship to the world. Thinkers, on the other hand, think about this world, not heavenly matters, though occasionally they can be discerned ruminating about heaven as well. 

Sometimes I think the difference boils down to this: When you ask a thinker how he is feeling, he replies, “I’m fine, but I want to think about it.” When you ask a theologian, he says, “I’m fine, but in truth, only G d knows.” 

I also wonder: can a theologian become a thinker, and can a thinker become a theologian? Are there certain parameters that must be observed? May a thinker theologize? May a theologian think? In these transgender days, are there such things as trans-thinkers and trans-theologians? If I feel that I am a thinker, does that make me one? 

I am not sure how one becomes a thinker or a theologian. Are there special training schools? There are a number of theological seminaries. Are there also thinker seminaries? If someone decides to become a thinker, which are the best thinker schools? How does one become a thinker or a theologian? Is there an examination before one can practice thinking? Does one get a certificate or a license? And if someone without a license is caught thinking, does he get fined for thinking without a license? 

What do thinkers think about all day? Ordinary people think about how to pay the bills, or about their overdrawn accounts, or about the stock market, or the weather, or the latest shenanigans in Washington. Do thinkers think about such mundane matters? Maybe they think about the deeper significance of overdrawn accounts, or the profound implications of a lightning storm. The famous thinker, Rene Descartes — they used to call them philosophers — once said, “Je pense, donc je suis — I think, therefore I am.” Personally, I would turn that around: “I am, therefore I think.” But no one asked me, and since I am not an official thinker, no one will give it a second thought. 

And theologians? Perhaps they theologize about G d’s role in finances, and about His historical intervention in the affairs of man, or how G d views earthly shenanigans. And when they look at their bank account problems, thinkers say, “I think I am overdrawn,” whereas theologians say, “My G d!” 

I really regret that I did not become a thinker or a theologian. What could be nicer than to sit and think or theologize all day —and get acclaimed and quoted and maybe even paid for it? You get invited to conferences, you receive speaking fees, you write books and get royalties — all from just sitting and thinking about man and about G d. They even have their own magazines, such as the American Thinker, and the American Journal of Theology, and literally hundreds of others. (Whether thinkers are permitted to read theology journals or vice versa, I do not know. Intellectual miscegenation is an area requiring further thought and exploration.) 

I would like to apply for membership in these exclusive clubs, but do not know how to go about it. They are not listed anywhere, they have no office or address. Even Google replies with a question mark. All I can do is think about it, pray to Heaven for proper direction, and continue to scour the media for illuminating pearls of insight from the privileged purveyors of metaphysical wisdom. One can always use a little more wisdom. At least, I think so.