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Why I decided to live in a little college town

June 5th, 2013 No comments

Ok.  Enough is enough.

Enough people have been asking me this question, so I decided to address it on a blog for the world to see.  For those interested, you are welcome; for those not, I apologize.  You can skip this post at your discretion. 🙂

People ask me, “So Jon, why did you decide to stay in Wilmore?”  I overhear others say, “Who in their right mind would want to stay in this town?”  Still others say (and this is common among students, in particular): “I can’t wait to get the heck outta here.”

There is an impression that only the creepy folks stick around after graduation.  The creepiest of these continue to audit classes.  There is no doubt: I run the risk of being labeled a creep.

So why did I stay?

First, I stayed because this town is one of a few towns in the country where people with physical disabilities, like me, can maintain a sense of independence.  There is no need to live on a transit system.  There is no need to drive twenty minutes to get to the nearest grocery store.  For those too lazy to cook, we have restaurants here that cater to the poor seminary student’s (and graduate’s!) pocketbook.

Second, I do not drive, so I have to walk wherever I go, unless one of my friends is kind enough to take me places.  I prefer not to “bum” rides off friends.  Every major establishment in this town–grocery stores, gyms (not that I will ever use one), restaurants, laundramat, dry-cleaners, libraries–are all within walking distance.

Sure, some would say I might be relegated to a life of boredom (where are the movie theaters?), but I have independence here.

The third reason why I decided to stay in town is related to personal independence, but is particularly important for me.  As an aspiring academic, I have invaluable resources here.  I have a library just down the street–I do not have to rely on a third party to drive me for thirty minutes into  downtown Cincinnati to go to the nearest theological hub.  I have access to a wealth of resources, both college and seminary professors, who continue to help me to grow.  Not withstanding, I  have a group of friends that hold me accountable for my soul.

Oh yeah, and there is the potential opportunity to work for the two institutions which helped mold and shape me as a human being.  To teach at the college or seminary would be nothing short of a dream come true for me–to work alongside those who have mentored me over the years would be a privilege beyond description.

I believe that God’s calling to his servants is not as complicated as the majority of the Christian world would make it.  God has gifted each Christian with unique gifts and abilities, and he has designed us to use them for his glory as an expression of worship.

In Wilmore, I am able to do that.

Over the last ten years, I have lived in this town.  I have walked its streets.  I have formed relationships with people that I will maintain til the day I die.  I have had the honor of forming relationships with mentors that not only have coached me academically, but spiritually and personally as well.  I am able to maintain my independence.  I am able to study what I believe God has called me to study.Perhaps most importantly, I am able to begin living out my calling to teach God’s word to his children.

God has placed me in Wilmore for various reasons.  When he calls me to go somewhere else, I will go. Until then, I am content learning, growing, studying, and teaching.  I am happy and privileged to help students learn Hebrew which, as of now, is my favorite thing to do in the world.  Why would I walk away from that?

Soli Deo Gloria.

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