Words with Elise: "Expert"

To try.



My friend Jennifer is quick to point out that I’m always speedy to tell people what I’m not: I’m not a theologian, I’m not an academic, I’m not a scientist, etc. I love to disown or denounce my own expertise…and let’s be clear, I’m not a scientist or a theologian. See? I’m doing it again. But I actually love the etymology of “expert,” because it’s surprising. It actually comes from experi, which is “to try.” In many ways this makes sense, you don’t ever achieve any level of expertise until you’ve tried and tried again. But there’s something inherent in trying, which is that you’ve never arrived. I like this idea of expertise, that it’s a continually evolving process, that there’s an endless learning curve, that it’s never a fixed point. That in a way it’s available to all of us, should we want to put in the time.