"When classroom studies intersect with real life, the most
educational experiences can take place.
double majored in Religion and Political Science at Butler, and the
joke among my friends was that my studies were "unconstitutional",
since church and state are supposed to be separate.
That changed at the beginning of my junior year, on September
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, people were suddenly
interested in questions of theology, different cultures, and how
nation states relate to one another. Was all this destruction and
death the will of God? There are a billion Muslims in the world- do
they all hate America, or is al Queda a fringe group? Is going to
war in the Middle East the best way to keep us safe at home?
My professors at Butler didn't teach me the answers to these
questions. They gave me a much more valuable gift. They taught me
how to begin exploring these questions in sympathetic and critical
ways, and to see how any answers we arrive at always lead us to
even better, deeper questions.
This became incredibly important as I entered into local church
ministry, attempting to lead an institution that is deeply rooted
in cultural forms that are largely fading from the scene, and to
adapt to a very new world with new questions and new challenges.
Neatly packaged answers and flimsy certainties will not sustain us.
Only "faith seeking understanding" (as St. Anselm defined the
pursuit of theology) will lead us forward.
The Religious Studies program at Butler University gives the
opportunity to encounter many different expressions of truth, the
opportunity form relationships with people we would not otherwise
interact with, and in that exploration to find deeper meaning
within our own tradition. Every student who has taken even one
class in the program is a better human being for having done so,
and you will be, too."
- Rev. Matthew L. Kelley has a BA in Religion and Political
Science from Butler University, a Master of Divinity from
Vanderbilt University, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of
Ministry from Candler School of Theology. He is an ordained Elder
in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church and
currently serves as Lead Pastor of Arlington United Methodist
Church in Nashville TN. Matt has written for a wide variety of
print and online publications. He blogs at www.thetruthasbestiknowit.com