Immediately after completing my psychology degree from a small state school in Texas, I moved across the country to Indiana. Licensed as a minister and commissioned as a missionary, I began working as a Christian campus minister at a large, public university. I thoroughly enjoyed campus life and working with the vibrant, intellectual, and strategically positioned college population. I developed wonderful relationships with a few, devoted students and had opportunity to debrief their learning in terms of a biblical, theistic worldview. I quickly realized, however, that these few students were already interested in pressing into a Christian perspective and were not representative of the broader university population. I began to see that in my role as a Christian campus minister I would be part of but always ancillary to the university community. This revelation motivated me to pursue a Ph.D. with the goal of joining a university faculty.
I now am a Christian scholar working at a large, research-intensive, public university. To clarify, I am not a Christian scholar because I study Christianity, Christian groups, religion, or any other social form related to Christ. I am a Christian scholar because my identity is fundamentally that of a Christian, a follower of the Way, a disciple of the Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth. I do not believe there is any way to separate my identity as a person from my occupation as a scholar. As literary scholar C. S. Lewis (1962) once wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” This underpinning philosophy expresses itself in aspects of my identify within the pluralistic university environment.