People that don’t like L.A. haven’t lived here. Being a student at Fuller allows you the opportunity to become BFFs with this bizarre, unique and truly epic city. It’s not entirely visitor-friendly but by the time you’ve finished your degree, you’ll know this place inside-out. Here are my five favorite things to do here, in no particular order.
Norton Simon Museum
Let’s start close to home. Pasadena has a lot of must-see places: the Huntington, the Rose Bowl, Gamble House, Caltech etc. But my personal favorite is the Norton Simon Museum. Continue reading
Theology isn’t exactly renowned for being practical. You know those ads on TV for trade schools? They plug programs for electricians, nurses, dental assistants. But not theology (“I was sitting at home on the couch, enrolled in school to study theology and then – BAM! – I got a great job and a great life!”). Now, I’d take issue with anyone who would accuse theology of being purely an Ivory Tower discipline but, well, most theology classes at Fuller take place on the third floor of Payton Hall, which actually looks literally like an ivory tower. But in an old double-wide* behind Coffee By the Books (Fuller’s cafe), I took a class that was totally a hands-on, get-ya-nails-dirty, practical class: “Preaching in the African-American Tradition” with Dr. Carolyn Gordon. Continue reading
It never ceases to amaze me how a bunch of squiggly lines on a page can have such an earth-shattering effect on the observer. But such is the power of words and books. At seminary, there’s a lot of squiggly lines, but thankfully most of it is well worth the time, effort and money. So here are the five most formative books for me during my Fuller program, in the order that I read them:
Mañana: Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective – Justo L. Gonzalez
The most Hispanic we get in New Zealand is opening a jar of store-bought guacamole, so I didn’t expect a book on Hispanic theology to resonate with me much. Continue reading
In western culture, Christmas is the major holiday.
In evangelical theology, Easter is the major event.
Ironic, right? That, as a culture, we embrace Christmas with such festive gusto, yet we Christians tend to grow up majoring on Jesus’ death and resurrection, almost to the point of overlooking the incarnation. Sure, Easter is a thing for people – but not on the same scale as Christmas, which has been endlessly mythologized in modern times.
So it’s a strange thing, given our overwhelming preference for the Christmas season, that growing up I didn’t hear much about the incarnation. I mean, we were all thankful that Jesus showed up – that’s reason enough to celebrate Christmas – but we didn’t really have much more to say about the meaning of Christmas. But for me, that all changed when I read Athanasius of Alexandria.
Who? Continue reading
I’m thankful for the fact that Fuller is big.
It’s an ugly thing to say, right? It’s a little embarrassing, like I’m acquiescing to the simplistic notion that bigger is better. Let me be clear up front: bigger, including in theological education, is not always better. There’s a lot to be said for smaller seminaries (check out Dr. Mouw’s thoughts on seminary size in his How to Choose a Seminary). But, personally, I like the BIG seminary experience. And with over 4000 students, Fuller is one of the biggest seminaries in the world. So here’s why I’m thankful for Fuller’s size: Continue reading
I never thought I’d go to seminary. I didn’t even particularly want to go to seminary. And yet here I am, a graduate of seminary. How did that happen? I blame Fuller’s Theology and the Arts (TA) emphasis. I was vaguely – repeat: vaguely – considering studying theology but, realistically, it was never going to happen. That is, until I saw that I could study theology and arts together at some place in America called “Fuller.” Long story, short: I applied to do an MA in Theology – Theology and the Arts emphasis, and I’m mighty pleased that I did.
How has doing the TA emphasis helped me? Continue reading
As the never-ending disclaimers tagged onto the end of medical advertisements (international students: these American ads are totally bizarre – just one of the many things you have to look forward to living and studying in the US) testify, even the best medicine comes with a warning. Seminary is good medicine, but there are a few things that I think it pays to be aware of before you get started. Here’s my seminary warning label:
1. Brace yourself for Syllabus Shock. Continue reading
I can honestly say I never took a bad class at Fuller. Sure, some were better than others, but every class played some role in hammering and beating me into ever-so-slightly better shape than when I started. But there is one class that stands out from the rest. My favorite class at Fuller was…
TC588: ENGAGING INDEPENDENT FILMS a.k.a. “The Sundance Class” Continue reading
Where did you grow up?
Cambridge, New Zealand. A small, rural town, quasi-famous for its horse studs and preponderance of Olympic rowers. And I know you’re all dying to ask so here it goes…Yes, I grew up 30 minutes from the Shire in LOTR.
What brought you to Fuller?
The Theology and the Arts emphasis. I had no idea you could actually study theology and arts, much less at a seminary. But when I found out that you could at Fuller, I was instantly sold on it. It has allowed me to reconcile seemingly disparate parts of myself.
What is your favorite…
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Continue reading