Name some fun facts about you that not everyone knows!
I’m a big sports junkie, especially basketball. I played basketball in junior high and high school, and I was a sports analyst for Rivals.com from 2001–2003 covering Iowa Women’s basketball.
I’m probably one of a few guys that enjoys reading a good love story (as opposed to a bad romance novel). I’m a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks, whose work captures the human experience.
Why did you decide to come to divinity school?
I applied thinking I wouldn’t get in. I told myself the only way I would go is if I received adequate scholarship, and that’s what happened. I love theology, and I’d love to write and teach theology someday. I initially went to college for creative writing, and when it came time to graduate from undergrad I didn’t know what to do. But I asked God to knock and God did and so I answered and here I am.
What makes WFUSD a great fit for you?
I came to WFUSD on the recommendation of my chaplain, Brian Ammons. I grew up in the Assemblies of God and, later, the Apostolic Church. I run fairly conservative in my theology but I believe that Love is the principle that governs the gospel message. Brian’s example and the example of faculty/staff at WFUSD has always been one of a gospel that promotes love and inclusiveness. Evangelical is a four-letter word to some people, and the faculty/staff at WFUSD understood that it doesn’t have to be and accepted me despite my conservative background. I felt it would be easier to grow at WFUSD than at a more conservative-leaning school that wasn’t accepting of all people.
Which professors have helped you grow in your discernment process?
It’s really difficult to pick just one. Honestly, they are all great. It’s really a joy to be around such wonderful people. If I had to name a few, I’d say Dr. Walls and Dr. Moyer. In helping me to understand Hebrew, Dr. Moyer opened my eyes up to many of the nuances in ancient Israelite culture. Dr. Walls taught me the Old Testament books don’t have borders. Understanding how the OT books have informed each other has revealed in me a newfound love of prophetic literature and the power it has to speak truth to those who suffer today.
Is there a particular class that’s left a lasting impression on you?
Hebrew readings with Dr. Moyer, because it’s a place to have an intimate experience with the text and with the language. Hebrew readings highlighted how the text is constructed and revealed by many of the literary forms that are present. Coming from a background in creative writing and literature, I feel like understanding the text, the grammar, and the literary forms helped me to really dive deep into the Old Testament and to read and interpret it with a new light and a new passion.
Any words of wisdom you’d like to leave for first years? Second years?
Don’t waste the time you have here. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn, because you can’t grow if you don’t allow yourself to be challenged. You might think you know everything about a topic, or that a topic is boring, but no matter how much knowledge you bring to the table or how little a topic interests you, you can learn something. If you allow the material an opportunity to speak to you, it will, and it can transform your understanding and, in many ways, help you to grow as a person.
I’m taking a year or two off. After seven consecutive years, I need a break from school. After that I’m hoping to move on to Ph.D. work in biblical theology.
What will you miss most about WFUSD?
The friends and the conversations that happened outside of the classroom.
Favorite drink and theologian?
I’m a beer man, especially Trappist beers. Rocheforte 10 is pretty much the best thing ever, but not for the faint of heart. My favorite theologian is Paul Tillich. His “You Are Accepted” chapter in The Shaking of the Foundations is the best portrayal of the liberating power of God’s love that I’ve ever read.