For our undergrads, I co-teach the Christian Theology Capstone, a small, seminar-style course that meets once a week in my home and that all theology majors take in their senior year. What an amazing group of young men and women — eager for Commencement Day to arrive, yet anxious about the future; thoughtful and confident about their recently acquired knowledge, yet appropriately humbled by all that they don’t know yet; thankful for the love of God that they’ve experienced so bountifully at SPU, while aware of the enormous, seemingly intractable social and spiritual challenges that face them in the world.
Meanwhile, I also teach our seminarians in their first graduate-level class — a five-day, retreat-based, intensive course held at Casey Conference Center on beautiful Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound. There, together in community, these students study and practice historic spiritual disciplines as a grounding for their seminary experience and a lifetime of ministry.
The change that takes place over our five days together is remarkable: 25 strangers become a close-knit group of Christian brothers and sisters; feelings of anticipation and nervousness about beginning a rigorous graduate program are transformed into the first insights of theological learning; and their unfamiliarity with ancient Christian patterns of spirituality is changed into a deep appreciation for the ways these patterns are able to assist them in being renewed more and more into the image of Christ.
By the grace of God, our undergraduates and seminarians are learning and growing to be devoted disciples of Jesus — loving God with all their minds and hearts, and their neighbors as themselves. What an honor we have as faculty to be allowed to be a part of this process of sanctification.
Grace and peace to you!
Dean and Professor of the History of Christianity