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Describe a turning point in your spiritual journey while here at NWC.
 

As I embarked on my first summer as a camp counselor, I was confident in my ability to reason Christ into the hearts of all my future campers. I knew my stuff, but I discovered, as I was bombarded with question after question, challenge after challenge, from these young middle school girls, I did not have all the answers. And it was the most uncomfortable thing I had ever experienced. Not knowing. Doubting. Wondering for the first time if I might, in fact, be wrong about this Bible I’ve centered my life around. Did my faith conflict with history, science, reason? What about all the apologetics I had spent years studying? It wasn’t supposed to crumble in the face of sassy adolescent girls. I came back to school my sophomore year, confused and doubting my faith. Everything I knew was being shaken, so I concluded it was time to start back at square one. And square one, for me, was the Bible. How are we supposed to read and interpret this cultural document that is frequently questioned by scientists and historians? 

After many books and many papers and many conversations, I concluded that it’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s not my job to “defend” the Bible. In fact, that mindset may prevent me from appreciating the Bible in the way it was meant to be understood. Being “fired” from the job of protecting and defending the Bible brought so much relief to my life. I no longer calculated ways to construct the best apologetic argument, but understood the best apologetic to be a faith that acts fearlessly well toward the other–regardless of who that other is. I could explore truth freely, without worrying about breaking the rules. Instead of being a “defender,” I got to be an “explorer,” continually searching for understanding. 

What advice would you give to underclassmen regarding their personal faith walk while here at NWC? 

Be curious. Ask questions. Even those really hard ones. The ones people are scared to ask. Curiosity is totally allowed, and even justified, by the Christian faith. We don’t have to agree with everything we hear in church. In fact, as a psychology major, it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with some of the seeming contradictions between evangelical faith and science. However, I’ve been able to stumble upon ideas that seem to make sense. It just takes a lot of reading and a lot of deconstruction. While the first “phase” of questioning was extremely painful for me, I’ve come to semi-enjoy the process. As older and wiser Christians have shown me, it’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to disagree with things, even if, for example, you’ve believed these things to be true for a long time. It’s okay to let ideas go and allow your beliefs to change. It doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian. In fact, it may be a demonstration of a living, growing faith. 

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n your time at NWC, who (past or present) has shown you a bit of God’s love?  

One person that always comes to mind is Rik Dahl.  He has been my wrestling coach the past four years here at Northwestern.  I have seen a bit of God’s love in him in that he has always shown an interest and investment in me as a young man.  Our relationship has not just been in the wrestling room, but I have seen his care and support for me in all aspects of my life while at Northwestern.  I have been so inspired by the love he has shown me in this way 

How has your view of God changed or been strengthened since coming to NWC?  

Since I have been at Northwestern, I have been consistently and constantly surrounded by a faith based community.  In this I have also been encouraged to continually be cultivating my own relationship with Christ, which has strengthened my faith.  I have also been challenged in a lot of my beliefs through different courses, chapel speakers, D group conversations and discussions with other people.  This has encouraged me to dig into the word and develop strong convictions and understandings around my beliefs.  

What advice would you give to underclassmen regarding their personal faith walk while here at NWC?  

Don’t be so stubborn in your beliefs and convictions, that it inhibits your ability to have meaningful and respectful conversations with people who have different views or opinions.  Sometimes the best growth and conversation come from a connection with someone who has contrasting beliefs from your own. I would encourage younger students to use this time to develop strong convictions, and to let your roots grow deep in the word and in a relationship with Christ.  However, that doesn’t mean to be closed off to others who might have different understandings than you. Have an open mind and an open heart to others.  

In what ways is God challenging you to grow now?  

Last summer I began a new stage of life as I became a married man.  This has been a huge challenge for me to grow in my faith and my rootedness in Christ.  I understand that I am called to be a leader in my marriage and in my household, and in order to do that effectively, I need to first have a solid faith and trust in Christ, that is continually growing.  I have experienced shortcoming in these aspects of my marriage, and have been challenged by God time and time again to continue to strive to grow in this way. This will be a never ending challenge for me, but I am thankful for the marriage I have been blessed with, and the leadership position that God has called me to through my marriage.