TalaMy first visit to Candler School of Theology was transformative. Prior to that, if someone had asked me what career I wished to pursue, I would have replied that I wanted to be a counseling psychologist in Palestine. I wanted to help my compatriots as much as I could. During my two-day visit to Candler, I was frequently asked if I was following God’s calling for me. The question stunned me; at the time, I had no response. Nevertheless, I continued to meditate upon this notion of vocation. Before I returned to Minnesota, I decided that even though I could not fully discern my purpose, it involved Candler School of Theology. I declared my intent to enroll before I left.

The past weeks at Candler have affirmed that this is where I needed to be. On the first day of class, one of my professors quoted Daniel Milgliore: “Theology is a reflection on the praxis of Christian faith within an oppressed community.” Exposure to this approach to theology convinced me that there are many ways I could help my community, and that studying theology is one of them. By employing theologies of liberation and the message of Christ, I can impact the lives of the most oppressed.

My initial experience at Emory has been a very valuable one. I’ve enjoyed long discussions about theology, faith, and the challenges facing contemporary Christian communities. I’ve also benefitted from studying and worshipping with my peers. But mostly importantly, I’ve cherished the moments that we've spent laughing and talking together. The Candler community has given me joy and expanded my faith. They have already made seminary a life-changing experience.

Karl Barth famously reprimanded doing theology for theology's sake. Independent of a faith community, theology is useless, he writes. Candler School of Theology embodies this ideal: here, we do not merely learn in order to know. Rather, we learn in order to know so that we may do. Candler has guided me to the conviction that theology is not only worthy of rigorous study, but also a fruitful endeavor for those concerned with the wellbeing of the oppressed.