Roseland, Chicago, Ill.
Emerson chose Carthage because he felt he was meant to go here. The value that the College places on honor, integrity and service made it an easy decision, he said.
“Each of these represents valued characteristics of my own personality. For me, these things are imperative for an individual to grow academically, socially, and religiously,” Emerson said. “As I prepared to fill out the application, there seemed to be this sense that God wanted me here to grow spiritually and that, is essentially what sealed the deal.”
As a freshman, Emerson explored Carthage’s Social Work Department. The program incorporates volunteer hours, some of which he spent at a halfway house for at-risk youth.
“I will always reflect on that moment because there were some teenagers who were just looking for someone to listen to them, talk to them, play with them, and maybe cry with them,” Emerson said. “This experience taught me to appreciate everything that I have, material or non-material.”
His decision to study religion will help him in many ways in future endeavors. He hopes that he will be able to connect with a broader audience if and when he becomes a non-denominational pastor. His studies have helped him understand other beliefs outside of his own and respect them, even if he doesn’t necessarily agree with them.
“The Religion Department does a great job of engaging the students with the material being studied,” he said. “The program successfully provides the skill of critical investigation and encourages students to consider other perspectives on any given subject manner pertaining to religion. But most of all, the willingness of the entire faculty to go beyond the ‘call of duty’ is another strength of this department.”
Emerson is currently applying to seminary, after which he hopes to continue working with youth from Reformation Lutheran Church and other churches in the Chicago area.
“I aspire to become a non-denominational pastor of a parish, become a biblical scholar, and have my own business in audio visual media as a certified technology specialist,” he said. “I don’t know in what order these things will come into fruition, but time will unfold God’s plan for my life.”
“Be open to other perspectives than your own and prepare to learn, maybe even debate, and most importantly, make connections from your experiences to that of your peers.”
“I aspire to become an Audio Visual Media Specialist, while serving in Youth Ministry.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“This question is not that easy to answer. However, I think Dr. von Dehsen is on the top of the list because throughout the process of my senior thesis project, he has provided a listening ear and constructive feedback that helps expand my knowledge to its peak. The challenge Dr. von Dehsen raises through his questions will prepare students for real world experiences.”
“I would have to say History of Christian Thought with Dr. Long because we studied the transformation of theology through the lens of history, and also incorporated our own understanding or confusions among theologians in Christianity. Students are encouraged to debate about ideas of each person reflected in the study of Christian thought. This was of interest to me because I am drawn to discussing religious topics, especially those that are about Christianity.”
“For three years, I have served as a member of the Gospel Messengers Choir. I was a member of the worship band for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship during my first year. My sophomore year I became president of Black Student Union. Currently, I am the Gospel Messenger Equipment Manager seeking to retire soon due to the completion of my degree in January 2012.”
“My freshman year I took a course called Philosophy of Religion with Dan Magurshak. As a new student to the Religion Department, I decided to take this class because I am interested in philosophy also. This class was tough because I was used to evaluating things from a faith perspective. It was a starting point of ambiguity, learning to be open to different perspectives without compromising my own convictions.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“Performing at the Christmas Festival with Gospel Messengers, the strong bond of men from ‘Tri-Beta Jamma’ (Brotherhood of Hooligans), Participating in Johnson Haunted Halls with the floor that had a 10-year winning streak, meeting well-known authors and scholars, working with AV Media Services, the Chapel Office, and finally, the view of Lake Michigan.”
Favorite spot on campus
“Down by the rocks near the lake.”
Biggest surprise so far
“I will be able to finish my degree a semester early.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“If you are looking for a challenge, your experiences with the Religion Department will provide a great opportunity to do so. The faculty will assist you on your journey to becoming a scholar. Be open to other perspectives than your own and prepare to learn — maybe even debate — and most importantly, make connections from your experiences to that of your peers. Lastly, as a part of the program, scholarly research has helped strengthen my faith in Christianity. My hope is that during your time at Carthage, your faith will be strengthened by the Religion Department’s emphasis on scholastic exegesis.”