Joe Muradyan

MDiv Student

While sitting in my first class at Fuller Theological Seminary in Sacramento during the summer of 2012, the professor asked each student to share a little about ourselves, including why we chose to come to seminary. I had heard this question before from family, friends, and people in the community. My initial answer was and continues to be, "I'm not sure, but…" I immediately follow that statement with something about the Armenian community in Sacramento and my desire to serve in and with it more effectively.

For Armenians in general and my church community in particular, community comes before the individual, such that we most effectively express our faith in Christ through the numerous and complex family relations within the larger church family. However, before coming to Fuller, my idea of serving the Armenian community was to change our culture and familial dynamics to reflect the surrounding American culture. Yet Fuller has helped me to love and embrace my community (with its distinct way of life) like never before, not just through triumphs but also in failures.

As a second-year Master of Divinity student, I have noticed one common thread running through each of the classes so far—the celebration of diversity in community. At Fuller, diversity is embraced and community valued; different Christian faith communities are treasured as unique expressions of the triune God without compromising the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Before Fuller, I loved God but had serious doubts about my community. It was (and still is) difficult, but I have learned to love God's people regardless of their differences. Instead of suppressing and running away from my Armenian roots or trying to squeeze and fit my community in a frame not made for her, I now hold fast to what God is doing through this small and insignificant people—though I trust that we are great and significant in the eyes of God (and Fuller's, too).

So why am I here at Fuller? "Well, I'm not sure, but…it has something to do with the renewed energy and passion for my community—an energy and passion God filled me with—and Fuller helped realize and nurture."