According to the butterfly effect theory, a single flap of a butterfly’s wings moves particles of air, which moves more particles of air, which moves more particles of air, which can eventually trigger a hurricane on the other side of the globe. Preposterous? Perhaps. But take a look inside your own life. We all have butterfly moments —moments that have proven to alter the entire course of our lives.
This is why I collect moments. They can tell us so much about where we came from, where and who we are now, and where we’re going. Such small, seemingly insignificant slices of text can tell us so much about bigger, profound contexts. With that, this is my strategy: to use four of my most powerful Wheaton moments—captured by four quotes—to communicate the essence of my Wheaton College experience and what it looks like to engage in Christian Studies.
- Dr. Joonhee Park: Tools versus knowledge
It was Connection Weekend, and March was having a hard time letting go of a deep, freezing winter. I was cold to say the least, but the welcoming Wheaton atmosphere somehow warmed me up. At this particular moment in my college search, I was specifically interested in film school. With notebook and pen in hand, I attended the department info event, seeking out any professor that could take on the challenge of convincing me that Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts school, could be any match to a top film school.
I found Dr. Joonhee Park, and his quote quickly followed: “It doesn’t matter whether you eat with a fork or with chopsticks, just that you eat healthy.” A film school would show me all the different ways to eat the food, but the Christian liberal arts would make sure I always know how to eat healthy. Why do I need to spend so much time learning a skill set that will eventually obsolesce as technology progresses? Wheaton is unique in that it will give me content, narrative skills, and a knowledge base that will never expire. It was this very conversation with Dr. Park—that very quote—that ultimately convinced me to go to Wheaton and pursue Christian Studies. And here I am.
- Dr. Christine Folch: Doubt, is it bad?
While Dr. Folch is no longer teaching at Wheaton, one of her quotes did change my life, so I’m going to share it anyway. During her final lecture on Wheaton’s campus, she left us with her perspective on the familiar story of Doubting Thomas. Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he put his own fingers into Jesus’ holes in His hands. She challenged us to read this story from another angle. Why do we always assume Thomas’s doubt was a bad thing? If it was bad, wouldn’t Jesus and the disciples have confronted Thomas? Would they have kicked him out? No, Jesus met Thomas where Thomas needed Him. With that, Dr. Folch said, “Jesus doesn’t have a problem with your doubt. He will meet you where you need Him.”
It’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to want to know, to wonder. Here at Wheaton, you’re not just a number to professors. They want to see you get the grade, but they also care deeply and truly about you as a person, not just a student. If you’re wrestling some of life’s difficult questions, they’re there to walk alongside you, every step of the way.
- Professor Lovett: Life is now
This past summer I traveled to Germany and Switzerland with Dr. Schuchardt and Professor Lovett. To say that this trip was academically, intellectually, personally, and spiritually stimulating would be an understatement. If I could make this trip a general education requirement for all Wheaton students, I would. While so many moments on this trip impacted me, one in particular stands out.
I was sitting next to Professor Lovett on a train in Switzerland, telling her about my first-year-of-college struggles. As a planner and dreamer, I had found myself constantly looking ahead, especially during the winter. While I still loved my life in the present, I was living for the future, for returning home to sunshine, family, and mountains in Colorado. After sharing this, Professor Lovett surprised me with her response: “Life is what happens while you’re waiting for it to begin.” I immediately felt so convicted. There’s no better time than now to make a permanent impact in my community. If I think in terms of temporary chapters of my life, then I’ll be tempted away from giving my full self to my community, church, and relationships. Life is now.
Right now, I’m almost at the end of my first semester of sophomore year, and I’m already beginning to reap the rewards of taking her words to heart. I’ve invested more deeply in my relationships with professors and friends. I’ve plugged into a local church. I’ve grown more in my identity in Christ. And I’ve discovered on a deeper, more profound level just how enriching the Wheaton College life truly is.
- Dr. Schuchardt: The eyes of faith
A couple months ago I road-tripped to Winnipeg, Canada with Dr. Schuchardt and a van full of other students to attend the Marshall McLuhan Faith and Works conference. (This is yet another reason why Wheaton College is so awesome. Random and enriching opportunities like this pop up regularly). The purpose of the conference was to explore how McLuhan’s faith informed his works, and how his works informed his faith.
Although he was a devout Roman Catholic, McLuhan never explicitly or publicly discussed his faith in his work. Or so people thought. Dr. Schuchardt commented during his presentation, “Marshall McLuhan never talked about his faith because he talked about it all the time. …People who can see don’t go around announcing ‘I’m seeing things’ all day. They just go on seeing.” Faith is a perception; it’s a way of seeing. Faith shouldn’t be a separate entity from our works. Faith should be our eyes. At Wheaton, I’m learning how to see through faith. In other words, not only is my mind being stimulated academically in the traditional sense, but my mind is also (quite literally) being transformed.
While I enjoy examining the tiny moments and experiences that make me who I am, I also enjoy stepping back to see the big picture. My entire being, my whole self, is being molded into a better disciple for Christ. At the end of the day, I am confident that Wheaton College is on a mission to cultivate the life of the mind. And it’s working.
At Wheaton, Christan studies and liberal arts go hand in hand. Wondering what you can do with a liberal arts degree? Click the button to download our free video and find out!