Jordan requested that I tell everyone a little bit about myself. So I'm going to do that; specifically, I will discuss how I came to be a Christian.
In 1980, Charles Malik, a former UN ambassador and Greek Orthodox Christian, spoke on the campus of Wheaton College. His talk was entitled "The Two Tasks of Evangelism." These two tasks, he said, were "saving the soul and saving the mind," converting people both spiritually and intellectually. As such, I think it is unwise of me to tell the story of my conversion to Christianity without recounting both.
I grew up in a wonderful family, attending what I now understand to be a pretty solid Lutheran church (doctrinally). I came to know that God had come down in the form of Jesus of Nazareth and died on a cross for the sins of the world. I knew that I was a sinner, and that if I believed these things, that I would be saved. And looking back on it, I really think that I did believe that. Thus, even though I was not familiar with the "personal relationship" buzzword, I am starting to wonder if I wasn't saved. Regardless, it wasn't terribly relevant to me. I felt disconnected from my church and most of the people I knew that were strong Christians were of the what-is-he/she-doing Pentacostal variety, and so I ultimately was confused.
When I came to college, I was mildly involved with the Lutheran campus ministry on campus my freshman year, and basically not at all as a sophomore. I was just doing the "church thing" because I thought that I should, but it wasn't a great situation. I was not living like a disciple of Jesus Christ, and again, the Luther Center seemed irrelevant to my life.
In mid-May of 2005, I moved into an apartment here in Vermillion, and decided that, since I was going to be in Vermillion allllll summer long, I had better find a church to go to. I don't know why I thought that. I hadn't regularly attended a Sunday-morning service since high school. So I did whatever any 20-year-old would do and went to Google to find a listing of area churches. I figured I would just church shop until I found one I liked. So, late one Saturday night, I checked out some websites, found a service time for my first stop, and went.
I fell in love with the place. There were people there my age, some of whom I even knew, and I had a completely new perspective on the Body of Christ. I got involved in a Bible study that summer that challenged me intellectually and emotionally and helped me to a true and lively faith. Additionally, I met one or two members of the local chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ, a movement which I joined the following year and had the privilege to serve as a student leader of this past year. Both of these organizations contributed to my changed heart, but my mind was slower to turn around.
I confess now that even last year, my first year truly living my faith, I was sort of embarrassed about my new passion for God. Being involved in the University Honors Program put me around a host of intelligent people, and if there's one thing many intelligent people are is arrogant. They will often deride God's faithful, and sometimes rightly so. We do not always communicate in a way that is intelligible to secular people, and we should be embarrassed about that. It is our God-given responsibility to care for them, and if we come off looking like nutjobs, we are not doing our duty to our fellow brothers in Adam or to our Lord. One of the things we should be doing a better job of is thinking. The Christian faith has a deep, rich intellectual history that many of the faithful know nothing about, and that is, quite frankly, pathetic. I feel uniquely qualified to say that because of the predicament I felt myself in last year. A classmate would make a disparaging remark about Christianity or the wackos many of us seem to be, and I had to admit his point. Worse, I had no retort. None. I was a vacuous Christian who was saved, but did not have a converted mind. I remember as a freshman having a discussion with a friend of mine who expressed incredulity at the idea of God writing a book: "If he wanted me to know something, why doesn't he just tell me?"
I had no response.
However, one day last April I was browsing through the podcast directory on iTunes and found a very interesting entry in the Education directory: Apologetics.com. It's a two-hour weekly radio show in the greater Los Angeles area that had recently begun releasing its weekly shows for download in MP3 format. It literally changed my life. Their slogan is "Challenging believers to think, and thinkers to believe" -- I definitely fit under the first category, and they pushed me. Of course, I enjoyed their personalities and banter, but more than that, I enjoyed the high level of scholarship presented. For the first time in my life, I could see the truth of the Christian religion, why it explains so well our human nature, and why, among other things, it made sense to think that God would write a book (and how that book came to be what we know as The Bible). I felt as though I had good reason to believe the things that I had come to believe. I felt whole, and like I had finally found my unique way of serving Christ's body, the Church, through a ministry of providing apologetical, polemical, and philosophical answers.
And that's me, in a nutshell.