The twists and turns of life occasionally bring us to moments of unforeseen and deeply heart-warming satisfaction.
Indiana Wesleyan University was well represented this week at a gathering of scholars at Oxford University in England.
Dr. Jerry Pattengale and Mr. Brian Clark, both of them alumni and current professors at IWU, spoke to groups of scholars gathered from several countries for a Green Scholars’ meeting. Dr. Christian Askeland, a research professor of Christian Origins at IWU, also spoke several times.
When we were students together at Marion College in the 1970s, neither Jerry nor I ever foresaw the opportunities God would give us. It’s safe to say that running a program that would take IWU students, colleagues and alumni to Oxford for high-level Biblical research was never on Jerry’s horizon at the time.
But God has a wonderful way of threading one path onto another until we arrive at places of service only God could design.
Jerry Pattengale, the first person to hold the University Professor title at IWU, is the founder of the Green Scholars Initiative. The Initiative provides hands-on access for researchers to the 40,000 items in the Green Collection, which includes some of the world’s most significant biblical texts and artifacts.
The Green family, founders of the national retail chain Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., has been the key force behind the orchestration of the Green Collection. The Green family currently is developing a Museum of the Bible that is scheduled to open in late 2017 in Washington, D.C. Pattengale serves as Executive Director of Education for the museum and was one of its first two scholars who began developing the museum programs five years ago.
Brian Clark, who graduated from IWU in 2009, also holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is an adjunct professor for IWU’s John Wesley Honors College and for Wesley Seminary at IWU.
This is Brian’s third summer facilitating this intensive Oxford program for 35-award recipients and their mentors from the Green Scholars Initiative held in conjunction with Wycliffe Hall. He is an ordained pastor of the Nazarene Church and heads the pastoral care ministry at First Nazarene Church in Marion.
Christian Askeland is a distinguished scholar of Coptic manuscripts with the Initiative. His research broadly engages the task of reconstructing the earliest attainable text of the Greek New Testament. His work received world acclaim last year when he showed the “Jesus Wife Fragment” to be a fraud.
Some moments are especially heartwarming. Today was one of those moments for me.