Baptist House of Studies at Perkins from the perspective of the founding assistant

This week has been exciting for the Baptist House of Studies at Perkins School of Theology. It has been officially announced that our program has received a $2.7 million grant from The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation which will fund about 10 full-time students in degree programs within the Baptist House of Studies. Here is the story:

There are so many leaders to thank who have blazed a trail for the students, and they are being thanked. What a difference this is going to make for people who want to be formed as Baptists in the state of Texas, not conservatively, and have more than one option. I do not view this as a competition but as an opportunity for all of us to grow and sharpen what we believe that will include more people—no more exclusion. There is room for more and no need to tear anyone down. I also have high hopes this will affect our churches, and that theological changes will start taking place. If not, new churches will form. It is a matter of life and death.

In this post I want to talk about why Perkins is so important to me. Even without he BHS, I would choose Perkins again. That statement says a lot because I identify as a Baptist big time and everyone knows it. I am known as the Spicy Baptist on campus who is always Baptisting. The reason is that at Perkins the theological education provided is out of this world. They take scripture seriously but also give you freedom to express how scripture is speaking to you. As long as you argue it well, and do no harm, the professors receive it and even listen to it! I am astounded by how well-received I have been by my professors. They have loved me through it all. I came not sure I was fit to be called or if my trauma could handle anymore religion. My professors and the BHS team (Jaime, Andy, and George) stayed with me and drew closer to me. They believed in me and did not want me to give up. They helped me find more resources for help and were there for me night and day. This made all the difference in the world, and this gift is not just for me. This is the character of the Baptist House of Studies and Perkins School of Theology.

Here is my “Nevertheless She Preached” promo highlighting my love for Perkins at Wilshire, the church I love.

These three incredible years at Perkins have changed me beyond what words can describe. I am more confident, polished, and in love with scripture and spirituality than I have ever been in my life. I am seeking approval less and less, but at the same time I treasure the encouragement and approval I do receive. We do need some! I am receiving feedback as building me up and not tearing me down now—this does go back to my childhood and needed to be healed. I am less triggered by bad theology these days, and that says a lot because it is really playing out badly in our public life. I am feeling whole and at home in my own body. I needed the Baptist House of Studies and I needed Perkins for this to happen. The people here are incredible. I would list them individually but I would miss somebody if I did and that would make me so sad. Every professor and every student have made a real impact in my life. I fall more in love with life every time I am with you. I will let the pictures d the talking for the rest of this post.

I made the Student Spotlight in February 2021
The incoming Perkins class of Fall 2019-We had no idea what was ahead and coming soon.
My teammate and fellow church member. I did not personally know him until orientation. Now I cannot imagine my life without him.
April 2019 Alliance of Baptists conference with Scott and Jaime in Washington DC. I had not flown in 14 years up to this point, and have not flown since, they humored me with wanting to see and take pictures of everything!
Kimberlyn, my daughter, got to visit my Old Testament class right before Covid. She enjoyed seeing church members Collin and Dr. Levison in action.
Fun times in the refectory. There was always someone wanting to talk theology. It was like twitter live.
My bestie, Dr. Sze-kar Wan. He is a brilliant academic and we have a lot of fun. Lots of tangents because they are fun!
We have two assistants because the work is hard and we are spread thin! I love my co-creator Bryson Hill. The job is in good hands when I graduate.
BWIM 2020-right before shut down-Caleb and I had way too much fun telling everyone about Perkins, and we meant every word. It really is this much fun and your education is exceptional. Jaime is our academic keeping us in check. LOL! We need each other and I am grateful.
The truest of true friends! They are everywhere here at Perkins. I love you!
I learned how to administer communion during Covid. That was an experience and it was lovely. I prefer in person, but now I have more tools when life does its thing.
Virtual Study Hall was the best during our quarantine. I love these friends. Jake even joined and talked about Pascal’s triangle to my friends.
The Perk at Christmas is beautiful.
I helped work BHS events. It is busy but incredibly important and fun. This is Jaime and me with Eboo Patel. He is a Muslim leader who spoke at our Shurden Lectures in March 2020.
My friend, Jonathan Martin, was on our board and came. Larry Crudup is a friend I got to know through Jonathan and was an incredible Board Chair for two years. Love both of these incredible men.
I love my partner in good trouble, Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles.
I got to baptize Dr. Stamm two ways (practice LOL). George’s face says everything about the experience. I loved it. Experiencing new life should be joy. We made it through death.
I wrote my credo and it was inspired by Rachel Held Evans. No greater honor. #BecauseofRHE
Our new Board Chair, Victoria Robb Powers. She’s incredible and an even better friend.
Me with Stella! Oh how I love Stella.
February 2021 Ice Day pics in the Perkins newsletter. Perkins has ordained Queen Elsa, by the way.
My friend, Seth Luna, took a picture of me preaching. I did not even ask. My first friend to do this for me. Meant so much to me.
The incredible BHS team with Anyra Cano with Texas BWIM
BHS Day 2022
Me on our BHS Website. The first time I am officially part of something like this.
From this to this! I am way professional now…but….
Even more importantly, I learned how to play. The best leaders know how to play. Queen Elsa taught me how to play and how to preach confidently. Thank you, Elsa. Thank you also to the men who demeaned her. I would have never found her without you.
Proud to be a part of this incredible journey from the ground floor. We did good. I did good too.

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