Sunday, January 18, 2009

Return Our Lives

I have finished my personal statement for an application to SPU. I found it to be an interesting summation of where I have been and where I intend to go.

Discourse is the method by which we as individuals are able to share ideas in community. Ideas are the methods by which we come to understand our personal worldview. Thus, ideological discourse is an integral part of continued community. In short, this concept is the crux of my desire to continue my education. While completing my bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of Washington, I had the opportunity to be a Christian voice in a community willing to give and take ideas. During this time, I had many positive experiences in which I was able to present a Christian outlook to my peers. Despite these experiences, I fully acknowledge how much work is left to be done in my Christian thinking and my personal relationship with Jesus.

I grew up in a Christian home; my parents were and still are heavily involved in the same church. While I ‘accepted’ Christ into my heart at a very young age, a relationship with Him did not fully make sense until I began Junior High. At this point, a few Godly youth leaders invested a great amount of time into helping me understand that Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross gave us this gift of salvation by grace. Upon realizing this, I began to study the scripture intently and to build a relationship with Jesus through faith. While these internal changes started to happen, the same Godly leaders began discipling me in apologetics. I was immediately drawn to this study due to its way of explaining that distance between faith and reason is not as far as others would lead us to think. When I was accepted into the University of Washington, my foundation in apologetics led me to study philosophy. I enjoyed studying Philosophy as an undergraduate because the Christian Worldview held an equal amount of weight as the rest of the worldviews at the table.

My undergraduate years also mark a significant shift in my Christian walk. The church of my youth held a mildly fundamentalist stance in culture and thus I went to college viewing my classmates as enemies in a culture war. However, as I began to dialogue with them, I came to see the ‘us vs. them’ ideology as detrimental to furthering God’s Kingdom. I found myself viewing unbelievers as a project and not a person whom God loves deeply. I saw myself trying to change the morality of a person before they had a change of heart. In other words, my unbelieving friends needed to know the Jesus of the Bible before they could change their immoral exterior actions. This epiphany led to a shift in my view of culture. Where my prior belief was that culture needed to be changed and ‘Christianized’, I began to believe that culture had the capacity to be redeemed. To put it differently, instead of rejecting all things secular, I started to focus on Christian elements that existed within secular culture. Whether it is creation, fall, redemption, or glorification, I found that everyone was pursuing something that could be considered a partial truth of the Christian worldview. In this way, I slightly shifted my worldview without changing my beliefs concerning scripture. With my friends, I focused on trying to find Jesus within the culture that my friends presented. Secondly, I focused more specifically on the saving power of Christ and less on the immoralities in their actions with the expectation that if my friends became Christians, the morality discussion would ensue. Due to these circumstances, my Christian walk changed from an ‘us vs. them’ mentality to a redeeming culture mentality.

In terms of career goals, I have a few options. On one hand, I would love to continue my education and receive a Ph.D. I have the desire to teach at a high level and would enjoy administrating discussion on topics in which I have expertise. If I were to take this career path, I would have a goal to develop a Systematic Theological curriculum that can be understood by the newest of Christians. Likewise, I would love to pursue creative avenues in which Theology can be introduced. Whether through fiction, poetry, film, painting or music, some of my favorite works have clear Theological foundations. Whether I become a professor, high school teacher, or pastor, I aspire to open the doors of reasonable faith to others similarly to how they opened to me when I was thirteen years old.

On the other hand, I have a strong desire to begin a career in the non-profit sector. For this reason I am drawn towards the study of Theology and Business. I love the concept of Business as Missions and the practice of investing capital into people in need rather than increasing profit margins. It is my goal to bring the notion of ‘Acts of Mercy and Justice’ to the business world. I want to be a wise steward of the money in which God has entrusted me. Too often we get complacent in our urban centers and focus on who has more money than us rather than how we can live within our means in order to free up money that can help someone who is less fortunate. In this career path, my ultimate goal would be to help educate corporate America to invest in people over a bottom line.

In conclusion, as I continue my education, I am intrigued at the possibility of learning the different Philosophies that exist within the realm of Theology. I understand the differences between Armenians and Calvinists, Reformed and Dispensationalists, but it is my goal to learn how both conclusions are made, presented, rebutted, and revised. It is my hope to apply my education in a relational way whether I pursue the career of an educator or a career in the non-profit sector.

No comments:

Post a Comment