I wrote this essay as an entry for the academic excellence scholarship at Boyce. The topic assigned was “the importance of theological education,” but I didn’t have much to say on the formal education side. With the help of my mom and an amazing English teacher, this paper was born. I hope you enjoy it:
Why I chose Boyce, by Anne Russell
I do not think that Boyce is for everyone. I do not need to go to a college campus to learn theology. I grew up homeschooled, and my parents taught me how to study the Bible, and how to learn from books without supervision. For me, Boyce isn’t about the information and books. I can find good books online, or by looking at the library. I go to Boyce because of the professors.
The first dual credit class I took at Boyce was with Dr. Crider. Dr. Crider taught me that a personal pursuit of holiness is one of the best gifts you can give to the people you serve. He also leads the chapel orchestra. By watching how he talked about the music and how he prayed for the group, I have learned that even instrumental parts can be acts of worship and to treat every part as important.
I took several classes with Dan DeWitt. From Dr. DeWitt, I learned that not everyone who disagrees with me is foolish, and that two intelligent people can look at the same evidence and have two different conclusions. Because of Dan DeWitt, I can love Alex Rosenburg’s book The Atheist’s Guide to Reality and think of it as a brilliant book, even while I disagree with it. I have lost the insecurity that demands that I belittle other points of view.
From Mrs. Crider, I didn’t only learn how to write a paper, I learned how to love words and to long to do my best at everything I did. I learned the value of asking for help because she was (and is) always willing to help me when I had writing problems.
From Dr. Lewis, I learned that growth requires intentional change. I learned to care more for other people: to take time to talk to them and learn about them, to rejoice when they did well, to invite them into my life. From him, I learned that it is more important to do my best than to be the best compared to everyone else. I learned to appreciate when other people did well, rather than feel jealous or sad.
From all of the professors who took time to invest in me, I learned the power of investing. I have grown so much in learning to be friendly because I saw how kindness and genuine interest in other people can transform their lives. My teachers have done much for me, and I long to do more for others.
I can find books on my own. I can find sermons online, and learn music theory from YouTube. I can learn theology by reading theology books. Theological education is important to me, but I do not love Boyce because of what I’m learning; I love it because of the people that teach me.