Interviewed by Derrick Cruz

Religious Studies major Derrick Cruz describes pastoral ministry professor Maury Jackson as his mentor and friend. Derrick also works as Dr. Jackson’s student assistant, and the two enjoy conversation as well as collaborating on Divinity School projects. Maury Jackson’s discipline is Practical Theology and has been teaching at La Sierra University for 6 years. He teaches Homiletics, Practical Theology, Philosophy of Religion and Ethic Issues and the Church.

DC: Why is your field important for a student to study?

MJ: We live in a global village. In order to cultivate “Conversation Communities” that appreciate and respect each others’ spiritual journeys, we need to cultivate both the knowledge of other cultures’ ultimate concerns and the skills to shape and shepherd discourse.

DC: What is the pastoral ministry program?

MJ: Pastoral studies involve at least four sub-disciplines:  preaching worship, religious education, and pastoral leadership.

DC: What are the top three things you feel incoming freshmen should know about the Religious Studies/Pre-seminary program?

MJ: Expect a lot of great reading.  Get involved with the Divinity School Student Forum (DSSF) to find a conversation community to strengthen what you’re learning. Begin your writing career by using the DSSF’s Journal of Theology in Practice to refine your voice.

DC: How is teaching meaningful and rewarding to you?

MJ: Primarily it’s because of what I learn from the students. I have the honor of being able to shape a conversation for a community of learners, share my thoughts on a subject, and invite students to help guide
my thinking.

DC: What are you most passionate about in your work and in your life?

MJ: I love to read books and listen to music and talk ideas. I’m passionate about the opportunity to share my reading with students and colleagues.

DC: If you weren’t a professor, what would you be doing?

MJ: Reading good literature and leading a community of Christians so that they will better serve as God’s agents of healing, sustaining, and guiding broken people and communities.