My philosophy professor died yesterday.
He was the first Christian intellectual I had ever met, and as I think about him now, I can't imagine what my faith in Christ would have been like without him.
He taught me how to love God with all of my mind.
He inspired me to embrace questions as a gift from God.
He showed me what it looks like to consider an opposing idea with charity and grace.
He modeled for me the relentless pursuit of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He was such a kind mind, such a noble man, such a humble man--helping me see that "becoming" a Christian requires a lifetime of devotion to God.
He was my first college professor.
I was a first-generation college student. I had no one in my family to tell me what college was like. So, when I walked into my very first college class--"Introduction to Philosophy"by Dr. Dan Cochran--I had no idea what to expect.
The class met in the basement of an old church building. About twenty students were packed into the little room, old desk chairs lined up facing the teacher's desk at the front of the classroom, a small rectangular window letting in a little light, the boiler in the back corner hissing and sputtering.
Then he entered the room. After offering a brief introduction of himself and the requirements of the course, he stepped in front of the little desk, lifted his eyes to the ceiling with a pensive look and a big smile on his face, he looked down at us (his little group of bright-eyed freshman), knowing he was about to take us on an unforgettable journey, and said slowly, deliberately, "What . . . is . . . real?"
Metaphysics. I had never heard the term before. But, the way he puzzled over the question, making us think through the reality of all things--is it what we experience or what we think?--I walked away from my first college lecture with my head buzzing. It was such a heady experience. Walking back to the dorm, my mind racing a hundred miles an hour, I must have had a big grin on my face as I muttered to myself, "This is college."
He led me to the well of wisdom, offered me a drink, and I've thirsted for The Truth ever since. And for that, I shall be eternally grateful.
"Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat."