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fuller app essays

By March 2, 2009 6 Comments


Reflect on your past Christian experience, including the most significant spiritual event/influence in your life, the role of Christ in your religious experience, the effect your faith has on your worldview, your involvement in Christian service, your perceived gifts/calling for ministry, and your reason(s) for attending your church. (maximum 500 words)


I spent my childhood glued to the inside of a nanoscale set of Superman pajamas. Mild-mannered block-stacker by day, Huggies-clad crime fighter by night. Superman embodied everything I wanted to be and believe, a demigod that shaped my world.

Seven years ago, I decided against radiation therapy and was given six months to live. I wasted time and waited for death. I found other, less honorable heroes to follow.

But I didn’t die. I began to read Foucault, Wilber, Wright, Yunis, Mandela, McLuhan, Zinn, Plato, Thoreau, and Diamond. I began networking feeds from the BBC, Google News, Economist, NY Times, Digg, Diigo, and I explored centuries of midrash and tradition. I utilized iTunes University to learn from Stanford, Cambridge, Cornell, Yale, and Oxford.

And the lights came on. God became real, my head popped out of the sand, and ignorance gave birth to awareness. I discovered a God that I could not help but adore. I have joined him.

role of Christ

Dear Yeshuah,

It took a long time to love you. And honestly, I’m still not there. There are moments when I feel fractured and alone, when I want to melt into the ground at the end of the day, and never return. But after every death, buried beneath difficult interactions or impossible situations, you bring resurrection.

I trust you, and your vision for our splintered world. You are a brilliant mystery, a rhetorical ninja, and I desperately crave discovering you endlessly.

You demonstrate true humanity, our lost Garden state rediscovered and reclaimed, and reveal an existence that pulses with the heartbeat of the universe. I once saw the world as a dichromatic sketchbook, each frame of reality a harsh monograph in white and black. You brought color to my world, and the vibrance of your Way has become my lifeline.

I cannot be alive without You.


My faith has re-framed every paradigm and impulse I possess. When I look at the world, I see a human family with endless opportunities for restoring shalom.


I have led worship, served homeless, launched churches, produced media, and served as lead teaching pastor.

Soon, I will assist urban development in Cape Town by generating community expansion and stress-testing experimental social business models.


I love people easily, and feel at home with a crowd. I understand the dynamics of a smoky bar or wealthy conference room.

I welcome the dialectic tension between truth and grace, confrontation and compassion, transparency and tolerance. Prophet and pastor.

I work to lead with integrity, and crave criticism and accountability.

I create. Film, music, design, poetry, theory and useless humor.

I journey with others through divorce, doubt, rape, inadequacy, loss, poverty, and addiction.

I feel called to be a pastor.


Church is an integrated pattern of threads that stretch and sustain, a fabric that absorbs pain, dissipates suffering, and distributes love. I attend church to offer and accept the healing power of God.


Reflect on how attending Fuller Theological Seminary would complement your present Christian experience and/or help you to achieve your future professional and vocational goals. (maximum 500 words)

Fuller will provide an integral and intrinsic corpus of traditional historic scholarship vital for leading and maintaining a dynamic, nuclear community of Christians. Paul was trained by the leading scholars of his day, Moses was handed the knowledge of an empire, and Jesus astounded distinguished contemporaries with nuanced linguistic genius. While it is true that God conquers the mighty with the strength of the weak, he also uses those who have worked to maximized their own effectiveness.

I am called to love God with my whole heart, but also my whole mind. Loving God leads to loving what he has made, and I want to immerse myself in a wide gamut of academic fields and embrace God’s truth wherever it surfaces. I want to absorb the scriptures, unravel sources beyond the Bible, and learn to discern the message of Jesus for Christians today. I want to bring the totality of my being under the reign of God, and that includes education. I believe Fuller will provide the tools necessary for navigating truth both personally and globally.

I believe that the endless midrash of the centuries needs a face. Scholars are adept at generating thoughtful discussions, forging complex connections, and expounding on the mystery of the scriptures. However, high scholarship is largely inaccessible to much of the Western Christian collective. I believe that Fuller will hone my ability to capture the imagination of the masses and serve as an agent of knowledge, relating gospel truths and opening the scriptures in simple and innovative ways. I want to learn the art of ascending to truth by liaising academic theology in a way that allows the Spirit of God to resonate deep within the core of our culture.

I want to contribute to the next phase of Christian thought. Contemporary commentaries outline the flaws in our current Christian paradigm, reveal gross scriptural misinterpretation and misapplication, and unmask systemic oppression embedded within our society. However, moving from ignorance to awareness is not enough. I want to move from awareness to action. I want to conceptualize tangible structures that integrate the Kingdom of God into lifestyle and worldview via direct exposure to genuine, self-sacrificial, Christ-like love. Essentially, I want to create a community that actually does what Jesus says to do.

Fuller will provide the spiritual technology I need to discern truth, apply knowledge, conceptualize change, and align my heart and mind with an active God. In humility and compassion, I want to accurately and compellingly describe the heart of God and revive parts of the Body that have become dead or dormant. As Christians, we are called to the highest standard of life, and the academic dexterity that Fuller maintains is crucial for maximizing my own effectiveness and beginning what I have been created to do.

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Great, Matthew. And I only had to look up ONE word in the dictionary (midrash)! Which, if I were proofreading this text, I would suggest it not be used twice (even though there may not be a suitable synonym) but still … A+, buddy!

    I don’t know anything about Fuller Seminary, other than having heard of it before, but I think they’d be lucky to have you (and vice versa, of course). And by “lucky” I don’t really mean “lucky,” ya know. (It’s been two months since your post — have you heard back from them, I wonder?)

  • love says:

    Don’t give up on this, however that may look…

  • […] from the world and ‘make of it something more.’ what i have read. what i have studied. why i am here. i started a me map, tracing experiences and mistakes, what i’ve learned and what i still […]

  • […] am I “called?” I would say I am being¬†called. Perhaps my seminary entrance essays and these thoughts here will help answer the question in a clearer way.¬†”Though that was […]

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