Some of you are aware of my journey about how I got involved in Analytic Theology. When I graduated from UCLA in 2010 I knew that I enjoyed doing philosophy, but still had a burden for the mission Dei in my heart. So I figured I should do philosophy of religion that way I could be on mission at a secular university. But I knew that in order to do that well I would have to know theology well, so I enrolled at Fuller Seminary. During that time my call was sharpened and I didn’t make my way back to philosophy in a secular setting, rather I started employing philosophy for the sake of theology which was being done for the sake of building up the church. That’s why I’m doing my PhD in systematic theology. There is, however, a part of the story I don’t often tell people….
Remember, the burden I had for mission? Well that burden was pretty strong. Before graduating from UCLA I was pretty torn about whether I should do missions or philosophy. (Weird options, right?) I remember driving on Sunset Blvd, talking to my girlfriend at the time (4 years later she would become my wife) and telling her: “I feel like I have to do missions. I’m going to enroll at Fuller’s Intercultural Studies (i.e. Missions) program. Make sure I finish it and don’t give up on it, because after a lot of prayer I feel like God wants me to do this degree.” Well it was a nice plan. When it came down to application time I applied to the Theology program because I wanted to do philosophy. Within a week I switched back to Intercultural Studies. A year later, after taking some classes with Oliver Crisp, I switched back to Theology, and I graduated with an MA Theology. I never finished the Intercultural Studies degree, despite the fact that I took more than year of ICS courses.
I bring this up because I’m finally going to fulfill what I thought was God’s indication that I should get a degree in ICS. Thanks to my friend, Mark Hamilton, who suggested that I look into how many classes I would have left to finish the ICS program I am now on my way towards getting the degree. It turns our I only had 4 classes left to graduate with an MA Intercultural Studies. That ends up being one really intense quarter! Or, what I’m actually going to do is take 1 course each quarter, while concurrently working on my PhD in systematic theology. The timing worked out great because Fuller has a 10 year limit on how long your classes count towards a degree and that 10 year mark is 4 quarters away! So, even thought it looked like Amelia didn’t make sure that I finished the degree, it turns out I will graduate with an MA Intercultural Studies Spring of 2020! I start my first class next week!