If Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan vibrant urban center of the West coast then Fuller seminary fully fits its metro area. This was week one in the Fuller journey, orientation time. Throughout this week, I prayed, worshiped, heard amazing speakers tell the Fuller story, wept and met a myriad of amazing people. Fuller is the church on the move. You find a little bit of everything here from the common seminary student to second career business person hoping for a fresh start. It is one of the few places on this country where you are forced to hear somebody speak a foreign language in official events to welcome those who are coming from a far. And believe me, the sound of Korean was sweet to my ears. As one who visited and left a part of my heart in that great nation, seeing so many of them here was a bit like coming home.
I knew the Fuller was the larger seminary in North America, diverse in both tradition and nationality. I just did not know what that looked like. I also did not know how entrepreneurial this community is. As I heard professors, administrator and staff, I noticed a relentless desire to reach the world with the powerful gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through whatever means possible.
This week my world was expanded. I realized there were a lot of things I didn’t know. New perspectives and paradigms flooded my mind. Above all, my vision of the church was enlarged. The immense God sheds his greatness through the vast tapestry of nation and tongue that is His church. In a time where most look at the church with skepticism, I met those working to improve it. Not just clergy but artists, entrepreneurs, geeks all coming together to rethink what it means to be the church in our century.
I was also encouraged to see a passion to right the wrongs of this world. From classes on development to even the liturgy at convocation, the heart for the poor was clearly present. Fuller represents the best of evangelicalism being fully grounded in Scripture and God’s church but also being actively engaged with the world around it. The very campus is a metaphor for this as it sits in the middle of Pasadena, no walls around it rejecting the ivory-tower tendencies of academic institutions. Fuller is the church in the city engaging music, film and visual arts from a humble apologetic perspective.
I confess that my first reaction to all this was being overwhelmed and confused. Trying to find a concentration or even decide on a degree became exponentially harder. I know this is a good problem to have but when you are 34 and eager to get on with “doing what you are called for,” that is not an encouraging prospect. Later in the week, I found peace in realizing that the next year will be one of exploring. God’s timing is different from mine so I might as well enjoy the ride. Certainly, it is a privilege to be here.
Those of you who have accompanied us on this journey know how long it took to get here. It was years of waiting, months of planning, weeks of moving and an incredible amount of finances and commitment to get our family here. It was all worth it.
There were very few times I ever felt at home around God’s people on this Earth. First was as a teenager in my dad’s church in Brazil. Second was with our beloved Renovatus church community in Charlotte. Now I am thankful to find a place where a Brazilian-Charismatic-Analytical-with a pastoral heart-missionary zeal- Korea and South America loving-with Anglican tendencies can find a home again.