During the 30 days leading up to my 30th birthday, I am posting a letter a day expressing thankfulness for someone or something that has played a major role in shaping the first 30 years of my life.
Dear Dr. Vila & Dr. Castleman,
I owe both of you a huge debt of gratitude for the way you fostered a deeper love of Scripture in my life. Your classes were some of my very favorites in undergrad, and some of the most memorable. I remember being nervous that studying the Bible in a college classroom setting would be too sterile and would somehow make me less interested in it. I don't know why I was worried about this ... some jaded person probably told me it happened to them or someone they knew. I should not have been concerned. Your classes had completely the opposite effect on me. I grew to love God's Word more and more as you both taught me to dig deeper into its complexities.
Dr. Vila, I never knew I could love the Old Testament so much until you taught me to. I remember being captivated by the book of Numbers in one of your classes. Numbers! Who would have thought? Your wealth of knowledge of archeology and ancient history brought the Old Testament stories and laws to life. Thank you so much for devoting your career to uncovering old truths and making them accessible to young minds. I have the utmost respect for you.
Dr. Castleman, thank you for being a challenging professor. Thank you for your great love for the Bible and your great love for the mind. I often think of you quoting whomever it was who said that Scripture is "shallow enough for a child to wade in, and deep enough that a scholar could never plumb its depths," or something to that extent. You invited your students to swim in the deep end (or maybe you just pushed us in). Thank you for being so motivating and for asking for excellence. Thank you for teaching us to sink our teeth in.
Both of you do such a beautiful job of helping students learn to really love God with their minds. Your influence in my life lit a fire in my heart and mind and nurtured a deep love for the depths of the riches of the wisdom of God. Even as I write this letter to you, I feel my pulse quicken from thinking of excitement of discovery. What an awesome ministry the two of you have. You are heroes of mine.
Thank you, thank you,