On Saturday, I walked as a part of Biblical Seminary‘s graduating class of 2011.
As a testimony to Biblical’s attempt to move away from a more scholastically based education style and move towards a more missional approach, I can honestly say that I made just as many long lasting friends and mentors as I gained new ideas.
These pictures are the record.
The first pic is of Nicki and I. These past nine years have been a combination of me working full-time and going to school full-time, and Nicki sacrificing by picking up the many loose ends that I left behind. No more. If I pursue any more higher ed. degrees (which I hope to do), honey, I’m giving you more of me and less to work.
The second pic is of my parents, who also helped pick up the loose ends that both I and Nicki missed. All of us have been blessed by people who lend us their hands to help us along … I’ve been blessed to have those helpers also be my parents.
The forth picture is me receiving my diploma from Biblical’s President, Dr. David Dunbar.
The fifth picture is of my best friend from seminary, J.R. Briggs, who has authored a number of books, including When God Says Jump, he has the blessing of being mentored by Eugene Peterson, and is the pastor of cutting edge missional church, called Renew. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever met.
The sixth picture is of me and Jung Mo Koo (a MDiv. student who will graduate in about two years) and his lovely family who blessed me with so much of their wonderful Korean food and love that I’m probably a good five pounds heavier for it and a good 20 degrees happier because of their graciousness to reach out to an American.
On that note, one of the great parts of Biblical is the diversity of the student body, which is about one third white, one third Asian and one third African American, with nearly one third of the total being women.
The seventh picture is of me and my good friend, Dr. Derek Cooper, who is the professor of Christian history and author of So You’re Thinking About Going to Seminary and about three or four books that are forthcoming.
And finally, the ninth photo is of me and Dr. John Franke author of Beyond Foundationalism with Stanley Grenz, The Character of Theology [which is by far the best postconservative theology introduction] and Manifold Witness, as well as numerous other contributions. John’s had a bigger influence in on my thought life than I’ve allowed him to know, for fear that he might think I’m a stalker. The photo captures him telling me the most encouraging words of the day … he said, “When you do your Ph.D and need a reference, let me know … you’re a really bright guy.” Coming from John, the Oxford grad, it meant a lot especially as I consider the path ahead of me.