Name: Mark Baker-Wright
Where did you grow up? Louisville, KY
What brought you to Fuller? I had extended family living in Southern California at the time (they’ve since moved elsewhere). Knowing that I was looking to attend seminary, they suggested Fuller. I didn’t respond immediately, as I was really looking for a PC(USA)-affiliated school, but later that summer I discovered via an Internet survey that many PC(USA) leaders had indeed graduated from Fuller. Three weeks later, I drove from KY to CA to arrive in the area on the Saturday before Fall 1997 classes were scheduled to begin. The rest, as they say, is history.
What is your favorite…
- Movie: The Wizard of Oz, at least in part because of a middle-school adaptation I participated in back in 8th grade. I was the Scarecrow.
- Website: This seems to be the place to plug my own personal blog: Transforming Seminarian.
- TV Show: There are several, but I’m particularly fond of Doctor Who and various iterations of Transformers and of Star Trek. I’m also a huge fan of game shows (I prefer old-style quiz shows. Most reality TV doesn’t quite do it for me, although I do watch Survivor and The Apprentice).
- Type of Frozen Yogurt: I quite enjoy anything served at Cherry on Top, although I usually end up with such a hodge-podge that it defies simple description.
- Place to eat in Pasadena: There’s a fun little place across from Pasadena City College called Luigi Ortega’s that’s worth a visit. If you’re willing to travel a few miles to the east, I always recommend Los Güeros in Monrovia, and specifically their tableside guacamole cart!
- Thing to do in Southern California: It’s probably cliché to recommend Disneyland, but the Downtown Disney shopping district is perhaps less well-known, and worth a visit. I also recommend taking advantage of your time in the area to visit a taping of the game show of your choice. I’ve attended quite a few in the years that I’ve been here. Sadly, I’ve yet to be selected as a contestant on any of them (not from lack of trying).
- Class you’ve taken at Fuller: Without a doubt, the winner is Women, the Bible, and the Church as taught by Dr. David M. Scholer. It is perhaps worth noting that I took this course as an audit after I was actually done with my MDiv. Sadly, Dr. Scholer passed away a few years ago, and this course has been struggling to find a home since then.
If you had the opportunity to do a different program at Fuller, what would you choose and why? That’s a toughie. Although I took the MDiv with the intention of becoming a PC(USA) minister, and have since discovered another call (specifically, one in academic administration), I don’t know that any other program at Fuller would have been a better preparation, and since I expect I will always serve some Christian form of academic institution wherever I go in the future, that MDiv is still a nice thing to have, even if it isn’t quite being used for the purpose it’s generally advertised for.
What book are you reading right now? The Opal Deception (book 4 in the Artemis Fowl series)
Who is your favorite Fuller professor and why? I will refrain from singling out any living professor, since my job as Lead Faculty Assistant (at least, that was my title back when this profile was originally written in 2012. My current title is Administrator of Budget and Support Systems) for the School of Theology would make such a declaration potentially awkward. However, I’ll certainly give honors to the already-mentioned David M. Scholer, who besides being a staunch advocate for women to have full access to all forms of church ministry (a cause my wife and I deeply believe in), also became a good friend and mentor during my first years on staff. In fact, he officiated at my wife’s and my wedding!
What is an interesting fact that most people would not know about you? If you need someone to serve as game show host for any game show board-or-party games you may be looking to have, I’m your guy!
If you could give advice to someone who is thinking about coming to Fuller, what would you say? Don’t seek a seminary education because you think it’s what other people want you to do, or because a position of church leadership seems like a way to boost your own ego. There are plenty of cheaper ways to do either. If you’re going to be of any use to the church (whether it be as pastor, administrator, volunteer, or whatever), your call has to be such that you honestly can’t see yourself doing anything else.