The Monday Mission Project, Part 5: Me

Now that we’ve reached the other side of this series I called The Monday Mission, I really do hope for anyone that has been reading that you gained something out of it like I did. Even though this project was focused on others’ perspectives on how they live out their walk with Jesus in the everyday workplace, I really found myself internally processing their responses. I realized how much I have in common with all these people in my life while having my own unique ideas on the topic as well. The body of Christ is like that, isn’t it? Perfectly synchronized as a whole, but as you look closely at each component they each have a specific role. I believe that is just what God has in mind as he gives us all our own perfectly tailored gifts and leads us down different career paths. If every single Christian worked directly in churches or the mission field, who would be the people out bringing Jesus to the worlds of business, medicine, the arts, or engineering? In my Christology class we often take a few minutes at the end of lectures discussing how do we apply what we learn about the person of Jesus in this academic and interpretative setting into our everyday pedestrian lives. How can we take what we read in the biblical text and really let the words and heart of Jesus be an overflow to others, specifically when talking about our profession?

In thinking back on the various featured posts in the series, here are a few things that really struck me from each of the interviewees:

Megan & Stanley: Simple prayer is powerful, embrace changing seasons of life, flexibility is invaluable, and don’t put God in a box. The Holy Spirit can work through any and all situations, so be bold when he’s leading you.

Chelsea: Dream big with God, and be moldable enough to realize when he has something different (and far better) in mind for you ever did for yourself. Being a disciple for Jesus often involves creativity and physically being his hands to serve the least of these.

Jason: As a doctor, my patients and my staff can equally be my ministry. When they are in a vulnerable and anxious state, I can extend the peace and love of Jesus to them. Getting the chance to partner with God in healing really gets me pumped.

Danny: The worlds of business and politics desperately need Christian leaders to step up and be bold. It is definitely possible to be an ambassador for Christ in the corporate workplace if you remain centered on the things of God and understand that businesses can be some of the most powerful agents for change. Embrace new and exciting opportunities for where God is leading next.

Anyone that knows me knows I’m a HUGE Jon Foreman fan. Not only has his music been so integral in my life, but he just has a way of speaking truth and articulating his thoughts so beautifully surrounding difficult topics. He was asked (more than once I’m sure) in an interview where would Switchfoot classify their music in terms of specific genre. Are they rock, pop, “Christian?” They often are seen as an outcast to these genres simply because a lot of the time they aren’t willing to stamp a label on their art. Jon responded with the following explanation of “why Switchfoot won’t sing ‘Christian’ songs” that I absolutely LOVE and think is very relevant to our conversation surrounding career path or vocation. To read the full response click here.

“Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s Christian? What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds. The view that a pastor is more ‘Christian’ than a girls volleyball coach is flawed and heretical. The stance that a worship leader is more spiritual than a janitor is condescending and flawed. These different callings and purposes further demonstrate God’s sovereignty…So there is no hierarchy of life or songs or occupation only obedience. We have a call to take up our cross and follow. We can be sure that these roads will be different for all of us. Just as you have one body and every part has a different function, so in Christ we who are many form one body and each of us belongs to all the others.” – Jon Foreman

When I think about how I will use my future career as a dentist or surgeon to serve God and the people I’ll meet every day, I love that I never have to feel like I’m being any less “spiritual” or “Christ-like” than my friends going through the discipleship school or moving across the world to bring the gospel to the nations. Who are we to limit how God can work or who he can work through?

IMG_3872I can’t wait to use my platform as a doctor to make an impact on the kingdom. I know each and every one of my patients will be someone I can show Jesus to through the way I genuinely care and provide the best treatment for them. If the Holy Spirit is calling me to approach my staff or other doctors I might be working with about their relationship with God or pray with them on a regular basis, I hope that I will respond boldly. I look forward to serving globally and providing dental care to those who have never seen a dentist and letting them know they are seen and they are known by the Creator of the universe. I pray that I will wake up on early Monday mornings and be filled with joy and purpose, knowing that I’m going to work that week to live out my mission.

The Monday Mission Project, Part 4: Danny

This will be the final feature in The Monday Mission Project before I wrap the series up tomorrow. Catch up on the first three posts back on my home page and read about why I’m doing this here. As I was thinking about this idea originally, I wanted to be sure and include a variety of perspectives from different types of professions to show just how creative our God is when he gives us each unique gifts and passions, so today I’ll be featuring my friend Danny for a business point of view. Danny is also a senior at Baylor and is headed to Boston (#EastCoastBestCoast) after graduation to work as a management consulting analyst for the company Accenture. I’m not kidding when I say he is a Business Fellows, Economics, and Finance triple major with minors in Math and Political Science. He is one of those people that just seems to do it all and do it all well. Even still, I’ve never heard him complain about his workload. His humility is a testament that he doesn’t do it for the glory, either. I’ve known him since freshman year, and I’ve always been extremely impressed by how he is able to balance everything on his plate. Danny is the definition of diligence and really does point others to Jesus through the way he works unto the Lord and how he leads and serves others so well. He is an encourager to the core, too. Any time you leave a conversation with him, you’ll always find a refreshed perspective and motivation. One last thing about him (and why I think we get each other so well) is that he is an unbelievable dreamer and full of ambition. I believe God has marked his life to be a vessel for the Spirit and to ignite change where there are desperate needs for it. Danny has (and will always have) such a place of influence in so many different areas of his life, and I’m beyond excited to watch how God uses him and continues to lead him.

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1. Describe the process of ultimately choosing to pursue business for your career. How did God lead you into this profession along the way and when did you know you were really walking in his calling on your life?

Ultimately, I chose to begin my career in management consulting (business) because I think my God-given talents apply very well to this area. I’m a problem-solver, and I love going into new situations and finding out how to make things better. The business world runs by “mutual benefit.” Companies are only successful if they produce useful products or services that customers want. For a time, I thought I really wanted to go into politics – perhaps because of this same desire to “solve problems” on a societal level. Over time, however, God showed me that beginning in the private sector would be a much better way to build an expertise and learn how to make sure organizations are able to reach their highest potential.

2. How do you hope to practically show the love of Jesus through your work and be a light to the people you interact with everyday? How do you see yourself serving God and others through your profession on a day-to-day basis?

My dad is always an optimist, and so that carries through in everything I do. I think a key to success is not complaining about the little things. The people around us, whether in business, graduate school, or whatever career you’re in, will make mistakes and have hard days too. It’s important to show the love of Jesus through your work by maintaining a positive outlook and encouraging those around you. Make their lives easier. Thank them for their dedication. As a result, you’ll be more productive and show how Christ has changed your outlook on life.

3. What opportunities, big or small, do you hope to have to partner with God and make an impact for his kingdom that you wouldn’t have otherwise if you weren’t doing what you are?

I think this position in management consulting will teach me many valuable skills that can translate to all aspects of life. Whether a business, non-profit, university, or political campaign, there are always problems that need to be solved. There are things that are going to go wrong, and the world will need people to take a fresh look at each situation and find ways to improve. I believe this job will prepare me to do that, and I hope to use those skills in whatever way I can to glorify God.

4. What are you looking forward to most about your career and the next season of life?

Honestly, I’m looking forward to a new adventure in Boston! I grew up in Chicago. When I came to Baylor, it was my first time in Texas and I didn’t know anybody. Then, I spent each summer in DC – where I didn’t know anybody. Now, after building those connections, it feels like I have “3 homes” – and I’m excited to jump into a new city and build a 4th.

5. How do you think you’ll stay enthusiastic/passionate and find the motivation to continue to work diligently for his glory?

I think the most important factor is to be grounded in the right habits. I plan to find another church where I can dive in and get involved, continue reading the Bible every day, and ultimately trusting God to show me the next steps. I have to constantly remind myself that everything I do on this Earth will pass away.

6. What would you say to others entering corporate business or politics about incorporating your faith in a career where it might be challenged more than in other fields?

Business and politics are often described as immoral. But that’s exactly why we need more Christians in those fields! After my time in DC, I met so many powerful people who were committed to their faith. It influenced their interactions with people so much so that people knew them as trustworthy, honest, and yet still incredibly influential. God works through all things. Most Americans spend the majority of their week in a workplace not directly related to Christianity, so it’s important to bring a Christ-like attitude to those places as well.

7. What advice would you give to college freshman on discovering and pursuing what God has for them in terms of their major, future career, etc?

Don’t worry. For almost all of my college experience, I was sure I was going to DC. But at the last minute, I really started to reconsider – and here I am, taking a different path, but one that I am more excited about. Don’t put God in a box, and recognize that our “plans” can change faster than you realize. Work hard, get involved in things outside of class, but also just have fun. Don’t spend your entire college life stressing about the things that you can’t control – you’ll simply be wasting your time.

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Thanks so much for your thoughts, Danny! Also, this guy has his own blog at Consider Again (and is a contributor for endless others and has had the chance to write for some pretty cool projects). To quote his description of his site, “Consider Again is a blog by Danny Huizinga devoted to encouraging critical thinking. It features an archive of all of my published articles, both profiles on successful entrepreneurs and small businesses and op-eds on current events. Rather than taking articles and opinions at face value, I challenge you to think a little deeper. Being able to know why you agree or disagree with an opinion is one of the most important life skills.” He writes about current issues in politics, business, and a variety of other topics. Check it out!

Oh and be on the lookout for him to run for president one day. And win.

The Monday Mission Project, Part 2: Chelsea

Tonight for part two of The Monday Mission Project (click here to read the series intro and background), I’m featuring someone very near and dear to my heart – one of my own roommates for the past two years, Chelsea! Living with Chelsea is nothing short of a blast. We are on the same page when it comes to so many things like our love of food, traveling the world, music and concerts, all things Shauna Niequist, big crazy dreams, and late night popcorn and red wine when we are in denial of all of the homework we should be doing. Chelsea has also taught me a lot about what it looks like to chase after God and the things He has for us. I am constantly encouraged by her heart for others, her passion for life, and the incredible diligence she pours into her work for school. She is majoring in Interior Design with a minor in business. Before living with her, I would have completely stereotyped it as another Family and Consumer Science department major where they never study and still make straight As in classes that they should be ashamed of paying Baylor tuition for. Well let’s just say I was beyond wrong. Even as a biology/pre-health major, I think it is safe to say Chelsea puts in more hours than I do for my schoolwork, mostly consisting of all-nighter projects and slaving away for weeks for assignments that might be graded so subjectively. I’ve definitely gained a major respect for design majors and been convicted of my ignorant assumption that it’s a piece of cake. She has another year at Baylor, but I am beyond excited to watch how God continues to lead her in this plan for her life. Design and Jesus might not at first seem like they go hand in hand, but let’s not forget he was a carpenter.

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1. Describe the process of ultimately choosing to pursue design as your career. How did God lead you into this profession along the way and when did you know you were really walking in his calling on your life?

I started college as a Medical Humanities Pre-Physicians Assistant Major (joke?), thinking I was going to go to PA school and be a successful person in the medical field. God quickly humbled me by nearly failing my freshman biology class and finding zero interest in my pre-health classes. I went to career counseling mid-way through the semester, and after a number of tests and prayers I landed in the Interior Design department. I’ve always had a love and appreciation for all things creative but never viewed it as a profession. Honestly, I always thought interior designers were just “decorators” (false, they’re not. You don’t need a degree to decorate a space and I have yet to have a class that teaches me how to pick fabrics or where to place wall art). I knew with certainty that I was in the right place when I first heard my professor talk about public interest design/design for social justice: “human-centered and participatory design practice that places emphasis on ecological, economic, and social issues”. I knew I wanted my career to have a purpose and meaning and God shouted at me loud and clear after that lecture. I have also been on a number of mission trips that involved construction of some sort. Those was always my favorite parts of the trip because I love working with my hands, creating something, building, you name it. Through further reflections I felt confident that I was in the right place.

2. How do you hope to practically show the love of Jesus through your work and be a light to the people you interact with everyday? How do you see yourself serving God and others through your profession on a day-to-day basis?

I want to help those who do not have access to good design – those who don’t have solid roofs over their heads or a place to gather with community. I hope to use my skills in design and knowledge of sustainable building to improve the lives of others. Jesus acted for and with those who were in desperate places of need, and I hope to be there with those people. I want to forget about myself and partner with people who could use a space or a building. My hope is that on a daily basis I live in such a way that places others before me. No matter where I am – working in a firm, overseas, or in a classroom – I pray that I can be someone who takes genuine interest in others and seeks to show love through small acts of kindness or simple conversation.

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3. What opportunities, big or small, do you hope to have to partner with God and make an impact for his kingdom that you wouldn’t have otherwise if you weren’t doing what you are?

I hope to have the opportunity to travel to places where there is a design-related need and help meet that. Had I not been pursuing interior design I would not know what social impact/justice design was, or that there were ways to tangibly help communities with design. I hope to meet people from all different backgrounds and learn what it is that shapes their communities. I hope to hear peoples’ stories and let those stories drive the way a space is constructed.

4. What do you love most about your current season of life and what are you most excited about when thinking about your future?

I love the thought that God has something ahead of me that I most likely can’t fathom right now. That may cause anxiety for most people, but it’s exciting to me. I love that I am in a place where I can learn and absorb tons of information that I hope will serve as an aid in the long run. I feel as though there are so many opportunities right now ahead of me, and I am excited to see what those are over the next year and a half. Maybe grad school?!

5. How do you think you’ll stay enthusiastic/passionate and find the motivation to continue to work diligently for his glory?

I think it will take continual reminder of why I am doing what I am. It will take prayer and encouragement from my community to keep going when life seems to hit a wall or feel impossible. I don’t doubt there will be times when it is less exciting, but I hope to be the type of person who continues on despite my circumstances.

6. What advice would you give to college freshman on discovering and pursuing what God has for them in terms of their major, future career, etc?

Do not let money dictate what career/major you decide to pursue. You may be great at something, but if it doesn’t bring you life, or if your potential career doesn’t excite you, choose something else. God takes our passions and uses them in extravagant ways. When we are pursuing something we love, something that makes us come alive, something that brings us joy, that is when God can do his extravagant work. You have to trust Him.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because the world needs people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman

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Chelsea never fails to ignite something in others’ hearts when she talks about her passion. She’s a listener, a dreamer, a laugher, a beauty, and a woman after God’s own heart.

P.S. – Fun fact: last semester she interned with Magnolia here in Wacotown (a.k.a. THE HGTV Fixer Upper’s own Chip and Joanna Gaines). So naturally she loves goats just like the ones at “The Farmhouse.”

Someone hire this girl. Also, she’s single. 😉

Thanks Chels and part three will be coming at you soon!

The Bread That Satisfies

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Bread in all its forms is such a staple in diets across the globe and has been for thousands of years. I’ve always said I don’t think I would have a problem living off of bread and cheese (and if I’m being honest, wine) for the rest of my life. I’m not about that low-carb life, and I can talk a convincing nutrition science/biochemistry-based argument why it’s actually far from ideal for overall healthy (and let’s face it – enjoyable) living.

I’ve never actually made a crusty-yet-soft artisan loaf from scratch, aside from my tried and true homemade thin crust wheat pizza dough or a quick bread like pumpkin or banana, so I asked my master baker brother-in-law for his go-to recipe (yeah, he’s a Renaissance man). Who doesn’t need to know how to whip up delicious homemade bread? I tweaked it slightly by adding dried Italian herbs and fresh ground black pepper.

Granted, I normally would be all for a whole wheat and grainy loaf, but for the specific circumstances (in-class religion project, see below), I wanted to keep it as pure and simple as possible.  Sure, I could have gone the traditional Biblical route of unleavened bread with something along the lines of pita or naan, but I also like to make things relevant, appealing, and connect to my classmates with possible memories of taking the Lord’s Supper in church (that is unless they’re more accustomed to the tiny square crackers).  When I pulled out the hot, golden-brown beautiful piece of art out of the oven, the trial loaf was quickly inhaled by my more than willing taste-tester roommates and me Saturday night.  I then enjoyed the small amount of leftovers for a couple of fantastic sandwiches the next day.

If bread that beautiful is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

If bread that beautiful is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

Ingredients

3/4 cup water

1 T honey

1 package (1/4 oz) dry active yeast

2 cups bread flour

1 t salt

1 t dried herb blend (optional)

fresh cracked black pepper (optional)

1 T extra virgin olive oil

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How can these limited, basic ingredients come together to make something so delicious? I think it’s a lot like Jesus taking our broken and lacking pieces to write our life into an incredible story for His glory.

Directions

1. Warm the water with the honey (I microwaved for about 40 seconds)

2. Add the yeast to the honey/water mixture and let proof for about 5 minutes.

3. Combine flour, salt, herbs, pepper, and oil in a large bowl.

4. Add yeast mixture and combine to form a soft, sticky dough texture.

5. Knead for 5-10 minutes on a floured surface until it comes together and is smooth and elastic.

6. Place in an oil-lined bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until more than doubled in size and slightly wet and bubbly (ideally overnight, but I did for only about 6 hours one time and 10 another).

7. Preheat oven to 425, and place a pizza stone or baking sheet on a rack about 2/3 to the bottom. (It’s best if it’s preheated for about 20-30 minutes before putting the bread in)

8. Turn out the dough on a floured (plus a small amount of cornmeal) pizza peel and shape into a free-form loaf/round.  Score it with a sharp knife, spray or brush with olive oil, and let rise a second time for about 30 minutes while the oven gets hot.

9. Transfer from the peel to the stone and cook until it’s golden brown, feels hollow, and cooked through (I checked mine at 25 minutes and let cook another 3-4 minutes, it just depends on your oven).  Once it cools, the texture can change slightly, so don’t worry if it seems a tiny bit doughy in the very middle right at first.

This bread isn’t just your ordinary sliced Wonder Bread, though.  It represents something much more. I’m making this as a component of my creative project that is a large part of my grade for the “Jesus and the Gospels” religion course I’m in for my minor this semester.  The project could literally be anything that could potentially tie in with any topic we’ve covered in lecture.  JESUS or the written works about his life – that’s about as incredibly overwhelming and open-ended as an assignment can get.  Just when I conquered the research paper I slaved over, I had to quickly decide what exactly I could do for my project that would meet Kelly’s (my professor insists we don’t call him Dr.) high expectations.  My roommate is also in the class, and we’ve talked about the reason we over-stress about this class sometimes is because we respect and like him so much that we want to do our absolute best to please him and somehow prove ourselves despite being non-Religion majors.

I had originally thought about doing the alternative journal project as a blog series, but I casually joked to my professor that I could just bake some symbolic bread and there’s a creative project. He laughed but still seemed really intrigued by the idea and encouraged me to not completely dismiss the idea of using some aspect of cooking or food for my project, since I would be his first student that had done that. Well, if you tell me that I could be the first to do something, then by all means I’m doing it.  I hate just following the crowd and being unoriginal. I love pushing the envelope and showcasing my individuality in college, when it’s easy to blend into the sea of thousands of other students. I thought using my blog as an outlet for this project fit perfectly given the title of my site.  This is something that hits on all three aspects of the focus of Eat Pray Learn: food/recipes, spiritual growth, and my academic/professional journey. Sure, I may not be the next Picasso or up and coming singer-songwriter, but I know I’ve got kitchen skills, and cooking is one of my biggest passions. Believe it or not, this nerdy science major/future doctor can bake bread and write poetry.

“Give us this day our daily bread…”

Promise Box - Our Daily Bread. I vividly remember exact thing being on my great-grandmother's kitchen table.

Promise Box – Our Daily Bread. I vividly remember this exact thing being on my great-grandmother’s kitchen table.

This well-known phrase from the Lord’s Prayer can be seen on everything from kitchen wall art to handmade aprons in a typical Christian home, but do we fully comprehend its meaning? What is the significance of this “daily bread” that we’re to ask for based on the model prayer? Jesus and the true message of the gospel is the central, life-giving, spiritual “food” we can feast on each and every day.

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Being an obvious foodie who loves eating, I’ve always placed a lot of emphasis on the role of food in my daily life: What should I eat for breakfast? When’s lunch? What can I make for dinner? Where should we eat out? It’s not just me, though, it’s our culture.  I also went through a season in my life towards the end of high school and beginning of college when I was very concerned with what, when, and how much I ate, because I just wanted to be the healthiest version of myself. It was never about depriving myself (like I said, I love food), and I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder or anything, but I know that it could have easily become more serious if I wasn’t careful. Instead of relying on God to satisfy my spiritual hunger every morning with the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit, I was constantly thinking about the exact science of nutrients that I needed to fuel my physical body for my daily activities.

The emphasis that I placed on food and health sometimes consumed my thoughts throughout the day more so than God’s voice or truths I read in His Word. Since then, He has lovingly and faithfully removed this bondage of nutrition obsession from me, and I walk in the freedom that only He can give.  It’s always refreshing to look back at how God has perfectly moved in our lives, and one specific instance is when He revealed to me that I shouldn’t keep pursuing my minor in nutrition.  That is how I ended up where I am now on track for a religion minor instead. I still would consider myself health “conscious,” and an advocate of eating the fresh and natural foods God has provided for us, but I really no longer let it have such a grip on me.  My prayer is that I continually focus more on my hunger for righteousness, so that I’m filled with more of Him each day (Matt 5:6).

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For my presentation, I’m also accompanying this edible visual aid with a poem that connects this symbol with Jesus and His character in the Bible. Bread is arguably the most mentioned motif in the gospels with references in the bread miracles of Markan narrative “sandwiches” (couldn’t resist the pun), Kingdom of Heaven parables, the Last Supper, the Sermon on the Mount, I AM statements, the Lord’s Prayer, and probably more that I’m forgetting. Time and time again, Jesus uses food, and especially bread, as a way to provide physical satisfaction to those who are desperate. He ultimately connects with people through their bodily hunger and thirst to reach the depths of their spiritual emptiness that only He can fill.  In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will not hunger.” Another major declaration is with his disciples in the upper room, He explains, “This is my body, which is given for you” (Luke 22:19).

The following is a poem of reflection I’ve written on the significance of this metaphor of Christ as our “daily bread,” and it draws on these as well as other verses in the gospels that connect this symbol of basic nourishment to the ultimate sustenance that He provides.

I am the bread that satisfies,

All those who taste will never die.

I am the grain that forever thrives,

Full of righteousness and life.

I am the manna falling down,

Lift your eyes up, see I’m all around.

Leave behind what you’ve heard before,

Come to me and hunger no more.

This is my body, broken for you,

The reason I came, what I had to do.

Believe when you eat this piece of bread,

I can make alive what has once been dead.

I am bread so that the world may live,

Sustenance is what I’ll always give.

Man cannot live on other bread alone,

Fill up on me, or be empty on your own.

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Saturday Studies

Sometimes I find myself resenting those college kids who literally never have to do any studying or homework between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.  Many weekends simply can be translated to “Oh good, no class Saturday or Sunday, so I actually have time to get all (or maybe just part of) my work done.”  It’s times like these that I sometimes question my choice of study when I’m posted up in the library doing research for my religion paper and studying the chymotrypsin mechanism while everyone on social media is posting annoying football acronyms and pictures of alcoholic or Greek-life celebrations.

I have to quickly snap out of my temporary pity-party and stop to take the time to be grateful to find myself in this situation of my life right now.  I’ve been given the privilege to attend a world-class university surrounded by supportive, intelligent, and similarly loaded-down-with-schoolwork friends as well as professors who genuinely care and always have an open office door.

As much as I wish I maybe had a little more free time on the weekends for sleeping late, spontaneous road trips, or just mindless TV watching, my time spent learning and studying is investing in my education.  These are the only four (now with just two to go) years that I will have the chance to explore all my interests and take classes like “Jesus and the Gospels” while every additional science course I take is one step closer to becoming a highly trained and knowledgable doctor.

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My research paper for my religion class has already been a source of unwanted stress this semester.  I had to plow my way through about twenty different ideas I had for topics until I could focus it enough in order to get my professor to approve. I finally decided to head in the direction of looking deeper into the implications of the Messianic secrecy theme seen in the gospel of Mark.  Sounds totally legit, right? I honestly feel like I’m in seminary with all this new critical/theological/biblical vocabulary and having to go so far beyond what I think I already know about the text.

My professor (who before he did anything on the first day, prayed over our class) is one of the most sincere teachers I’ve ever had at Baylor, and I’ve already spent about an hour in his office discussing the paper as well as just life in general.  He was generous enough to lend me his book including his contributions to the subject matter that he himself finds fascinating.  My first thought was, “Bonus points for quoting the professor?” followed by, “Wait, I’m in trouble if he’s such an expert on this.” This assignment has already been pretty eye-opening to me,  and it’s caused me to really look deeper into the gospels and how Jesus is actually represented in a way I’ve never thought about before.

I’m mainly writing this to bring my focus back to why I’m doing all this in the bigger picture.  I’m taking upper-level religion classes voluntarily with the end result ultimately being to graduate with an additional minor.  Having said that, I’m choosing to spend my Saturdays doing research instead of partying because it challenges me intellectually and allows me to discover more about what I believe as well as new things I never would be exposed to otherwise. Looking at the Bible academically some would say takes away from their faith, but I’d argue that it does just the opposite.