I am nearing 32 years of life as a college professor. It is a good career for a Christian.
My specialty is genetics and I have spent my career applying an understanding of genetics to farm animals. God is revealed in many ways through the eyes of a geneticist. I grieve the fact that being a scientist is not exactly on the "A list" of potential careers for young people in evangelical churches.
I have encountered students (both Christian and non-Christian) who are quite startled to discover that one can be both a scientist and a Christian.They had been told that it was not possible to be both.
Francis Collins (currently the Director of NIH) has written that scientific discovery is an act of worship. I agree. When teaching genetics, I have to restrict myself to one use of the word "amazing" per lecture.
Psalm 139:13 says "For You formed my inward parts;You wove me in my mother's womb.I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made". I think about that verse frequently when teaching genetics.
It is fun to teach in a field where the ideas make a difference in people's lives. But then all teaching should make a difference in people's lives.
My most striking instance of teaching making a difference in a student's life happened early in my career. Our oldest child (now 27 years old) has Down Syndrome. When he was about one year old a student in my Genetics class came to the office and asked me if I was willing to visit about our son. I was happy to do so and we had a nice chat.
After a pause, he then commented that he had a 13 year-old sister with Down Syndrome. We visited about her for a while. He paused again. Then he said that he did not know that she had Down Syndrome until I described it in class. He knew that she had some difficulties but did not know why.
I don't know what happened in his family when he asked his parents about it but it has served as a reminder that teaching is much more than just providing information. Genuine teaching affects lives.
As a Christian, I believe that I have a special responsibility to help students understand their world, their place in that world and the wonderful gifts that God provides. I know that one of God's many provisions for me has been the opportunity to spend 30 years doing something that I love and the chance to work with generations of students and fellow faculty members.
My personal quote shown elsewhere on this page is actually an abbreviated form of a longer quote that I have made. The long version follows: "I comment, at times, that God is in every cell division. I suppose, were I a physicist instead of a geneticist, that I would contend that He is in every collision of elementary particles or something of that sort. If He is not in every cell division, then where is He?
He certainly did not just wind up the universe and start it to run on its own. Are we to only say that He steps in periodically and performs some miracle? Then where is he between the miracles?
Although I believe in miracles, that seems to lead us into some sort of 'God of the Gaps' approach. The problem with 'God of the Gaps' is that science is continually filling in the gaps. Where, then, does God go? It works better for me to say that He is in every detail.
We learn, when we are young, that God is everywhere. I guess that I still believe that. I have also reached the conclusion that he is 'everywhen'. He has plenty of time to be involved in every detail.
Somehow He is able to be in complete control and still allow it all to happen naturally. We are not capable of understanding how He does that, but I am satisfied that He does."
I comment, at times, that God is in every cell division. We learn, when we are young, that God is everywhere. I have also reached the conclusion that he is 'everywhen'. We are not capable of understanding how He does that, but I am satisfied that He does.
Fantasy dinner guests
James Michener, George Will, Stephen Jay Gould
Best advice I ever received
Be thankful for the challenges you have in life
My undergrad alma mater
North Dakota State University
My worst subject in school
Apollo 13, Patton, Lilies of the Field, Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
My latest accomplishment
wrote a spreadsheet that calculates swine diets
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