Simpson Colloquium 201
One of the most important questions college students ask is, “What Should I Do with My Life?” This course will help students transition into the Simpson community as they identify their strengths and life goals through a series of readings, written assignments, and interactions with members of the Simpson community. By the end of the semester, students will be familiar with the many resources available to help them get the most of the college experience and discern, plan, and take steps toward their future.
As a biblical scholar and an ordained United Methodist minister, I became interested in reading the Bible from an ecological perspective when I moved to Iowa in 2003 and became “owner” of a 120-year-old farmhouse on seven acres of fertile ground. Raising sheep, watching our neighbor’s cattle graze on our pasture, planting fruit trees, and growing a large garden prompted me to think about the importance of land and related natural resources. In 2006 when I taught a summer course on the “Book of the Twelve,” or so-called minor prophets of the Old Testament, I was amazed to discover how often the ancient prophets connected the well-being of the environment to human patterns of economic justice. The prophets announced, on behalf of God, that when the gap between rich and poor increased and profit-making became more important than nurturing community, the land itself suffered greatly. I realized that the Bible could and should be part of current conversations about sustainability and climate change.
Teaching is my “second career.” As a young adult I entered seminary right after graduating from a large public university (University of California at Davis – about 18,000 students). I graduated from seminary and was ordained in the United Methodist Church. For seventeen years I served full-time as a parish pastor, and then returned to school for a Ph.D. in biblical studies. While I studied, I also worked as a hospital chaplain in a busy trauma center. I came to Simpson hoping that my experiences as a parish pastor and a chaplain would help me to be a better teacher. This fall, I start my tenth year at Simpson. I enjoy teaching because I am always learning. It’s important to me that what we do in the classroom helps us contribute more effectively to the world beyond the classroom. Working in a small college environment allows me to know and appreciate my students through interactions in and outside of the classroom. My spouse and I are avid supporters of Simpson basketball, and enjoy hosting students in our home for meals and conversation.