Sam’s interest in religion stems from his own Christian faith. “I study religion so that I can know the love of God and share that love with as many people as possible,” he says. To love each other, he thinks, is to know each other on a deeper level. “It’s important to learn about other people’s beliefs and practices in order to get a clearer picture of the world at large."
Students in religion courses at Luther often find themselves challenged academically, but they may also be challenged on a personal level. Sam believes that studying religion has pushed him in all the right ways. While the deep theological questions posed in class cause him to wrestle with his beliefs, Sam sees the struggle in a positive light because it teaches him to express his faith more clearly to others. He thinks that struggling with doubt is a crucial and necessary step in making sense of ourselves and our faith.
Sam believes that among the best parts about the Religion Department are the dedicated and approachable faculty. “The professors care immensely about what they do,” he says. “I love that I can just pop into any professor's office with a question at any time and have a quality, in-depth conversation about any given topic. It’s one of my favorite things to do with Luther professors!” These interactions with faculty in and out of the classroom have helped Sam gain new perspectives and deepen his understanding of the world.
Sam finds the student community at Luther to be equally as strong. He appreciates seeing familiar faces every day and the connectedness that brings to the campus. “Students here really look out for one another,” he says. Sam plays on Luther’s football team and is a part of other campus groups such as Collegiate Choir, Catholic Student Community, Big Ideas Reading and Discussion Seminar, and the school’s Habitat for Humanity team. He is also a resident assistant in Dieseth Hall.
A religion major can lead to a variety of career paths. After Luther, Sam hopes to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in scripture studies. From there, he aims to pursue a career in education at the high school or college level. Sam is also passionate about youth ministry, liturgical music, and mission work, so he would like to volunteer in those areas as well. “Essentially, I want to be as involved as possible in leading people toward Jesus Christ,” he says.
Sam volunteers at his church and participates in various service projects with the football team. “I always love an opportunity to give back to this community that’s given me so much,” he says.
Out of all the religion courses at Luther, Sam encourages students to take Christian Theology. “You learn how and why to study God,” he says. “Daily discussions and lectures often give you something to think about for the rest of the day or week or month.”