“Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12.
I hope this post finds you well. If you have not heard, I just graduated from Lee University this spring! Normally I do not write messages of this sort, but I figured this time of my life would be a good one to start with. I could not have finished my undergraduate education without the close support (both from home and afar) of my family and friends who continue to provide unending encouragement and inspiration to my own life. I wish to thank you for all of the aid you have given me during the course of my life that has served to bring me to this place. It truly is incredible to think of all the ways I have been able to grow as a person because of my surrounding system of family and friends.
I cannot remember a time of greater transformation than these past three years of study. I will receive my B.A. from Lee University with a major in Biblical and Theological Studies and a minor in Philosophy (I won the University’s award in Philosophy!). You may think to yourself, “What does he plan on doing with that degree? Be a pastor?” and I will respond to you with a no and a resounding “I’m still working on figuring that out!” As a graduating senior, countless people have come up to ask me what type of career work I will engage in. My normal response is that I really enjoy doing what I do now (school), so I am looking to continue my education for as long as I am able. Regardless of what I plan to do with it, my Lee experience was significant in its own right. I’ve been through 4 separate roommates, 1 dorm, and 1 off-campus house; 45 courses, 27 professors, and 1 study-abroad summer in Israel. My courses have ranged from The Foundations of Western Culture to Feminist Theology, and I have experienced weeks with little to do and boredom to weeks where I needed the days to expand to 30 hours instead of 24. In short, these experiences merely say: I’ve been to college. I’ve learned to write papers, research, and work with others. But above all, I feel that I have learned how to think and apply my knowledge to the world.
Nonetheless, my educational ventures do not stop here. Beginning next fall I will be attending Yale University to study theology in their M.A. program. I’ve grown fascinated with thinking about God and understanding God’s relation to the world. This leads me towards an appreciation of modern culture and how Christianity has the potential to intersect with and speak towards modern issues ranging from the ecological crisis, economics and capitalism, or more existential questions like “what is a life worth living?” At Yale, I will be studying with Kathryn Tanner and Miroslav Volf; two of the most significant figures within academic theology and Christianity as a whole today. I want to learn from the best and, in turn, begin to make my own contribution to theology and the world as a whole, transforming the way people think about religion and the world. Though Christianity has been around for 2000 years, there is still much work to be done as circumstances change and a new, different culture rises with a unique understanding of the world. However, in every time, the Christian must understand for herself or himself what their faith is all about and how they are to live in the world. These two facets of the Christian’s life are my areas of interest and study. As the world adapts and changes, this new, more pluralistic time period requires a renewed expression of Christianity in connection with the everyday lives and decisions of people in the world. The theology that I will do in the future will seek to integrate all the various ways of living in this world (personal well being, relation to God, economic choices, living in a community, etc.) with the grand claims of the Christian religion (salvation comes through Christ, our sins are forgiven, God wants to give us the gift of Godself through Christ and the Spirit, and we have strength to live a new life relying on God for our strength, etc.) I know that these next two years (and hopefully more!) will be extremely taxing upon myself both physically and emotionally, so I wish to thank you in advance for the continued encouragement and emotional support I will receive from you as I navigate the academic world towards the pursuit of my dreams. If you wish to get in touch with me, my personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much for taking the time to read up on my college graduation and my future plans!