Technically I’ve been a full-fledged theology professor since my contract began on July 1st. But tomorrow it becomes real. Tomorrow I teach my first three classes as a faculty member here at Whitworth University, and I couldn’t be more excited… or grateful.
Twenty years ago this summer I gave my life to the Lord.
Ten years ago this summer I graduated from Crown, having abandoned the course that would have led me to med school and a career in medicine, choosing instead to study the Bible, not knowing where it would lead.
Five years ago I was pastoring a church in Montana.
(Insert more laughter)
(Insert even more laughter)
And would you look at me now. My twelve-year-old self would never have guessed that this is where that decision to follow Christ would lead to. And the journey’s not over.
Last week I survived New Faculty Training (where I met the 15 other new faculty), Faculty Retreat (where I met a gazillion regular faculty), New Faculty Commissioning (where I was formerly inducted into the community with lots of ‘I do’s, ‘I will’s, and ‘We will’s), and a host of picnics and events scattered pell-mell throughout the week. At one point I introduced myself to a professor, only to discover that we had had a ten minute conversation just the week previous—a testimony to my life these last couple of weeks.
But this afternoon marks a shift: the end of the last 20-year journey and the beginning of the next phase of my Christian life. Tomorrow I will meet my first 90 students of what will be thousands throughout the career. Praise the Lord.
I figure this might be the last time I ‘speak’ to you for the next three and a half months. Please send notes and emails and calls and voicemails and, more than anything, please, please don’t be offended when I don’t respond. I’ll do so at Christmas. But, as ever, your support and encouragement is more vital to my success and well-being than you realize, so please do continue them… even if they’re presently bound to be unacknowledged. This, too, shall pass.
Perhaps I’ll get a photo or two up here and there over the course of the semester. I am dedicated to keeping some Sundays for times and activities of respite, which will hopefully include local explorations and adventures.
Until then, here’s a photo and story that is just one more testimony to the goodness and graciousness of God:
In Spring of 2004 I spent the semester in Klaipeda, Lithuania with about 25 other study abroad students from around the world. Our study abroad group had a reunion that following winter in Minneapolis, which was the last time I saw the majority of those very dear friends. Fast forward eleven years to yesterday when I got a note from one of them, Beth, saying she was in my neighborhood and had a day to spare. I had just happened to go to the office and check the internet, and she had just happened to send the note a short four minutes previous. And, it just so happened that I was intentionally laying low in celebration of the fact that, well, I could… for just two more days. So I got to spend my last two free days with a dear friend whom I met in Lithuania some eleven years ago. God’s sweet providence, friends.
And now, let’s get this Teaching-Biblical-Studies-At-A-University Show on the road!