Professor shares his experiences of religious diversity

by Lindsie Wagner

Raised in an evangelical tradition, assistant professor of English Casey Andrews has since encountered and involved himself with many different Christian denominations.

Andrews attended a Lutheran college for his undergraduate education, a Jesuit Catholic university for his graduate education, married a Lutheran pastor and is now a Mennonite. He also leads worship with his wife at an episcopal church once a week.

“I say I’m either theologically diverse or confused,” Andrews said.

He has always had an interest in denominational differences, and originally came to the Mennonite church by happenstance.

Andrews was living in Chicago for graduate school at the time, and was searching for a church near to his neighborhood.

“I went to the Mennonite church and was just amazed by their hospitality,” Andrews said. “They chose to be in this community and welcomed the diversity.”

He remembers having drug-addicted, mentally-ill, developmentally delayed and HIV-positive people all within the one church community.

“My life in Chicago was intensely communal,” Andrews said. “It was very formative for me in my faith and politics, even in my intellectual life.”

Andrews said his current faith is Mennonite with a twist. He appreciates the liturgical aspects of the Lutheran denomination, which is something to which most Mennonites do not ascribe, for example.

Being married to someone of a different faith has really challenged Andrews to consider his faith.

“Especially now that we have a child together, we really have to talk about our differences,” Andrews said.

Infant baptism is one subject which he and his wife have had to discuss.

“We’ve had good conversations about what this means for our son and how we work these things out,” Andrews said.

Despite the religious differences, though, common beliefs and truths are common between Andrews and his wife, he said.

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