My name is Michael Shirzadian

My name is Michael Shirzadian

I am completing an M.F.A. at the University of Colorado where I teach sections of creative writing and study creative writing, literary theory, and publishing. I graduated from Cedarville University in 2010 with a B.A. in English and a minor in creative writing. I also completed CU’s Honors program.

I protest the dissolution of CU’s philosophy program vehemently. I can say with certainty that I would have rejected my Christian faith were it not for the intellectual and spiritual guidance of Dr. David Mills. I remember how Dr. Mills listened patiently, humbly, while I challenged his lectures specifically and Christian faith more broadly; how—after these challenges—he explained that real Christian faith is alive, culturally proactive, intellectually sophisticated, difficult; how he yearned for me to see this with him; how his eyes filled with the sort of disappointment which accompanies real love and empathy when I missed his ‘Problem of Evil’ lecture. I remember Dr. Mills praying with me, after class, that like the apostle Thomas I would receive some personal assurance that my faith is real, that Jesus is Lord. And I remember, too, how Dr. Mills provided this personal assurance because he did not stop at prayer; how he lived this ethic of intellectually sophisticated and difficult faith day by day, week by week—at the pulpit of Springfield’s Midtown Community Church, or in its food pantry. These: why I’m a Christian today.

I remember, once, in high school, crying to the point of hyperventilation because I had finished Inherit the Wind and my heart was full of doubt. Dr. Mills began with this doubt, asked that I interrogate it, then helped fashion my mind into a critical thing and my heart into something abundantly optimistic in my new faith and the prospect of a world filled with such believers. One thing I pray: that future CU students will garner the same optimism through CU’s intellectually and spiritually vibrant philosophy program.

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