I’m writing from CC 313, a room number familiar to every Bethel student who has taken GES130 Christianity and Western Culture (CWC) during its nearly thirty years of existence. As I tap away, University Professor of Biblical Studies and Early Christianity Mike Holmes is lecturing on the history of European imperialism.
Mike has been filling in for a colleague on sabbatical, and will probably not return to CWC before he completes his time at Bethel. So this makes his imperialism lecture rather historic: not only Mike’s last bow in CWC, but the last lecture given by one of the course’s four founders — Neil Lettinga (History) having left Bethel in 2003 and Kevin Cragg (History) and Dan Taylor (English) having retired in recent years.
It’s been a pleasure and an honor to teach with Mike — and a relief to find that he feels that the course he helped to create is in good hands. It says a lot about Bethel in general and CWC in particular that first-year students not only can learn about the Bible from one of the world’s leading experts on the New Testament, but that they can hear him as part of a multidisciplinary team, teaching on the chapters in history that — as Mike likes to put it — fill the space in his Intro to Bible syllabus between Acts and Revelation.
And as a younger professor, it’s wonderful to get to learn from a senior colleague who remains engaged and encouraging even while teaching outside his field of expertise so late in his career.
Joined by about ten former CWC professors, we took a few minutes at the end of lecture to applaud Mike and his contributions to one of Bethel’s signature courses. If you’d like to join us in celebrating our colleague, please leave your thanks (and perhaps favorite Mike Holmes-in-CWC memory) in the comments section below.
– Chris Gehrz