Day two landed me at Parks Memorial Library at Iowa State University – Ames. My staff member Tom scheduled an appointment for me with one of his colleagues in a cubical. We drank library coffee (yes, it was as bad as it sounds – I’ll save my stars for CornBred). Marcia Prior-Miller is a Christian faculty member in the journalism department. Marcia, if you read this, I apologize for every instance of bad grammar and sub-par journalism you’ll find at perryboilerroom.com! Tom Ingebritsen is on staff at ISU with Graduate Faculty Ministries. I supervise Tom. As a retired biology professor, he is the perfect person to carry the mission of GFM to other faculty. He’s loaded with decades of street cred. Tom is ancient and nearly omniscient about the faculty body at ISU. Tom, likewise I apologize for references to your age – they come with no hint of disrespect.
Emeritus status now for several years, Tom has taught a senior seminar class called Christianity and Science. The class is capped at 17 students. He’s taught it dozens of times since retiring. The class always has a waiting list. Tom is not only ancient, he’s still “got game”! People love his class whether they are Christians or not. Tom has an extensive network of faculty he keeps up with. Marcia is one of his pillars. I got to hear Marcia’s story. She sketched her academic career and her spiritual timeline together for me in about 45 minutes over our library coffee. Her story was waaaay better than the coff… (dang, I said I wouldn’t rate the coffee).
Marcia has informally led a growing group of faculty women at ISU over the past twenty years! It started with people who took initiative with her then the baton fell to her hand. A group of six women (sometimes more, sometimes less) meets regularly for prayer, discussion, bible study and support. Marcia remembers her early days of teaching and working on her PhD at the same time. Connections with other Christian women in the academy was a lifeline for her. Pray for faculty members like Marcia and Tom as they look for ways to be missional and pass on their ministry DNA. Pray for graduate students and young faculty to find mentors.
Below are a couple of articles you might find interesting. Explore the GFM website while you’re there. Pass on what you find to others who would find it helpful. Most importantly, if you know Christian faculty members that InterVarsity should reach out to – would you be willing to connect them to me via email? I can further introduce them to Graduate Faculty Ministries and connect them to others! Thanks.
Andy Crouch article at The Well: What I wish my Pastor knew about the life of a Scientist.
A word from Kathy Tuan-MacLean – GFM’s National Faculty Ministry Coordinator: Every Campus Deserves Praying Faculty
After Tom and I had spent an hour with Marcia, we were hungry for lunch. Tom took me to CornBred BBQ. The name doesn’t register till you see it spelled out. If your default impression of the great state of Iowa is hilly cornfields and smelly cattle? You’d be 97% right. I can’t really give you the rating for Corn Bred based on what I had:
COUNTRY FIELDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $13 Baby Kale, Arugula, Frisee, Maytag Bleu, Blackberries, Bing Cherries, Spiced Almonds, Cornbread Croutons, Honey Lemon Vinaigrette.
It would be unfair. Who goes to a barbecue restaurant and orders salad? So I’ll just have to extrapolate based on Tom’s order: Pork Spare Ribs. Highest I’ll venture trusting someone else’s taste buds?