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Whitworth Theology Department Annual Newsletter 2017

Will Kynes (2013-present) Assistant Professor of Theology

This year I was reminded why I came to Whitworth four years ago. It certainly wasn't for the weather, which this winter confirmed with an icy exclamation point. No, more than anything else, I was drawn to the vibrant community of faculty and students in this department and their unified devotion to the mission of this university to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity. This spring, as I organized the new Introduction to the Theology Major course for new theology majors, I had a literal front-row seat to watch how each of my colleagues embraces that vocation. Each week a different member of the department came in for one class period to introduce their sub-discipline through the lens of their personal stories of their discernment of their own callings to the study of theology. Each week I left the class grateful for the knowledge and skill, and the conviction and faith of my colleagues. I'm sure the students felt the same way.

Indeed, their rapt attention and insightful questions bode well for the years to come, as these 27 students progress through the major. Each of them ended the semester by writing about how they see the theology major contributing to their understandings of their vocations. One wrote, "I study theology not so much because I want to pursue a specific career with it, but because it is teaching me about the kind of person I want to be." Another wrote that after taking a few theology courses, she discovered that "a theology major is much more than career preparation. It is giving me the tools I need to be a critical thinker, to be a good communicator, and to be a faithful follower of Christ. These skills will be applicable to any job that I chose." Though they are still far from deciding on a career, both of these students saw the major contributing to their callings to be instruments in the redemption of a broken world in some form. The opportunity to teach students like these alongside faculty like these is what drew me to Whitworth in the first place; it is a high calling for which I am grateful.