In Jesus, Ken Page
1. The Bible is my source of truth and the written revelation about who God is and what He is about. While I seek to know the truth, I am quite aware that I see "dimly" on this side of heaven. I do not have all the answers and some things are hard to understand. I rest in the fact that God has all the knowledge and wisdom.
2. God has revealed Himself through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God. He was born on this earth, lived a sinless life and was crucified to pay my debt. He is offering Himself to me today as Spiritual Bread. He is my life. He will return again.
3. God is personally involved with His people through His Spirit- the Holy Spirit. He resides in those who have been made new people. The Holy Spirit gifts and fills Christians in order to bring about maturity in them and to serve others.
4. People enter this world in rebellion to God, are dead spiritually and have no ability to change this situation. Christians are people who have been made right with God and have the life of God restored in them. They are not made right because of their own goodness or their own will power. They have been made right because they have acknowledged the bankruptcy of their own spiritual life and have accepted by faith the gift of "rightness" from God. God's gift was in sending His Son, Jesus, to pay the consequences of our "wrongs". Jesus did this by dying on the cross. The life of God was restored in us by God raising Jesus from the dead and by sending His Spirit to live within us.
5. Christians are brand new people- they have a new identity. Believers are accepted by God, secure in His love and valuable to Him.
6. Living the Christian life is one of dependence on God. God is in the supernatural process of changing my life to be more like Him. As I get to know Him and depend on Him He changes me. His truth comes to me primarily through the Bible and His Spirit allows me to understand it. The energy to live the Christian life comes from His Spirit.
7. We live in a world that is spiritual as well as natural. Satan has a strong grip on the lives of people on earth. God has rescued many from Satan's grip and is in the process of rescuing others who will trust Him. He invites me to join Him in this ministry.
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“The Personal Statement, however, is an open field of possibilities in self expression, and that sense of ambiguity lends itself to great liberty and/or great anxiety.” Image courtesy of pal2iyawit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
Writing any application for a school can be difficult, and writing the Personal Statement can become the most challenging part of it. By the time you are preparing to submit an application, most of its elements are already fixed: your GPA, your MCAT or GRE scores, the activities you did (or didn’t do). The Personal Statement, however, is an open field of possibilities in self expression, and that sense of ambiguity lends itself to great liberty and/or great anxiety.
Admittedly, the title is somewhat misleading. A “Christian” personal statement shouldn’t technically be very different from any other personal statement. It still has to accomplish the same goals, which are fairly well defined in the context of applying for a graduate or professional school. As an example, an excellent source on the Medical School Personal Statement would advise you to focus on answering these questions:
- What have you done that supports your interest in becoming a doctor?
- Why do you want to be a doctor?
- How have your experiences influenced you?
Sounds simple? It’s not. Few people can easily articulate the reasons why they want to go into medicine (and this even includes those who have been working in medicine). As reflected on before, the most powerful reasons tend to be emotionally charged and heavily driven by personal experiences, desires, and ambitions. Sometimes these reasons spring from tangible and discrete moments that are relatively simple to describe: a father becomes ill, a friend becomes helpless, a tragedy unfolds in which the universal compulsion to heal and to comfort becomes central and even life-changing. But sometimes those reasons are harder to describe: a series of loosely connected jobs that led to an internal conviction, an affection for both the material and immaterial, a search for a career grounded in the authenticity of human experiences.
The more personal these experiences are, the more uncomfortable and self-conscious we become in describing them. We wonder if others will see things from our perspective, and as we struggle to describe them in nouns and adjectives and run-on sentences, we find it easy to become paralyzed by the fear that the reader/admission officer/judge will fail to understand . . . and in doing so, reject us as both applicants and as people. It is deeply unsettling because the process will require an act of introspection and then an act of public revelation.
So, like all other expressions of self-revelation, we are tempted to edit heavily. We want to be accepted for who we are but we also want to achieve a goal. We have an ideal that motivates us, but in order to achieve it we must submit it to the scrutiny of another . . . and in that process, we risk having it change.
What do I mean by this? I mean that I volunteered at a soup kitchen because I wanted to help people, but in writing the essay I wanted to make sure that the reader understood just how deeply I felt that emotion, so I overplayed the descriptions of how scraggly the hobo’s beard looked or how heart-melting that child’s eyes were. I mean that I did research because it sounded interesting and I enjoyed tinkering around in the lab, but I wanted my work to be respected so I added a gazillion extra adjectives about how triumphant or beatified I felt when gazing through the clear liquid in a test tube. I mean that I felt helpless when I sat by my friend’s bed as she lay dying or in watching my sister get bullied in speech therapy, but I wanted to do rightly by them in becoming a doctor so I wrote whatever bastardized piece of junk I felt needed to be written in order to get the job done. I mean I wanted to talk about Jesus and what he meant to me, but I couldn’t because it might get us both thrown out of school before we even started there.
Scary, Scary Night, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54127 [retrieved October 11, 2013]. Original source http://www.flickr.comphotos8545333@N072564825110.
I realized that the real work of writing a Personal Statement was to stop myself from selling myself. I was not a product out on the marketplace to be distinguished only by my differences in merit and form, but a unique person whose path had already been determined by a loving and sovereign Lord. I was not applying to different schools out of a statistical strategy for maximizing the probability of admission, but because each institution’s strengths and weaknesses could cause me to grow and be shaped differently for the work of the Lord. It helped me understand myself better, realizing in some circumstances that some of my applications were actually not the best thing for me. And I found that though thinking in this way was far more difficult than simply optimizing a resume, it restored a sense of purpose and intentionality to an otherwise superficial and anxiety-provoking time. It made descriptions of myself more vulnerable but more honest, which inadvertently made things more confident and more peaceful.
It made them Christ-centered, and therefore Christian. In the words of the Psalmist:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
Writing a Christian Personal Statement: Part 2, Part 3.
David graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and received his medical degree from Rutgers - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School with a Masters in Public Health concentrated in health systems and policy. He completed a dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Christiana Care Health System in Delaware. He continues to work in Delaware as a dual Med-Peds hospitalist. Faith-wise, he is decidedly Christian, and regarding everything else he will gladly talk your ear off about health policy, the inner city, gadgets, and why Disney’s Frozen is actually a terrible movie.
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