Alex Sider

Alex SiderWhy do you enjoy teaching at Bluffton? What makes it unique?
I like most that this is an institution that has Mennonite roots, but the student body is not all Mennonite. It means that we're going to do things growing out of a Mennonite perspective, but we like that non-Mennonites are involved. This gives us a missional identity.

What excites me about teaching in the religion department?
In our department we have students whose depth of commitment to living their convictions is unbelievably strong. It calls me to be not just to be better as a teacher, but as a person as well.

I knew I was destined to teach religion when...
In some sense, it just happened. When I graduated from seminary, it was the first time that my family had met my academic advisor. He told them, "I don't know if we'll be able to find Alex a job, but we'll keep him following Jesus." That seemed like the right attitude to have. I was lucky to end up here.

Favorite class to teach...
I really love to teach history of Christianity. I like to think about the relationship between the passage of time and how people talk about Christian faith. I see students in that class come to an understanding that the things they believe are because of the past, but those ideas are not just simple holdovers from the past either.

Favorite place/time/event on campus...
Probably chapel. I like that chapel is a place where faculty, staff and students are all engaged in the same thing. I like that it is student-led. The people in chapel are there because they want to be in chapel.

When I'm not teaching I enjoy...
I like riding bike a lot. I like to mountain bike, but there are no mountains out here. I like reading novels but also watching movies. I do a lot of yoga.

My favorite elementary/middle/high school teacher was who and why?
Mrs. Harvey, high school physics teacher. She used to give me detentions all of the time. I would ask questions in class like how a formula had come to be and what it was trying to do. I would badger her and she would give me detention. It amounted to her sitting down and explaining things, helping me to understand things in my own way.

My first job was...
I worked in the dish room at Messiah College, where I grew up. I liked it. The person who ran the dish room was a man from Laos. His nickname was "Mr. T." He ran a tight ship in the dish room. He was interesting. In Laos, he worked for the French Embassy, he could speak six languages. It was interesting to think about this professional man working in that setting.

As a college student, I was involved in...
I played intramural sports such as basketball, softball and football. I was involved with brass choir, played in orchestra for musicals and ballets.

Favorite vacation destination/activity...
I love going to the beach. I fell in love with the Outer Banks when I lived in North Carolina.

Someday I would like to...
I'd like to work in a context where I worked more closely with church communities, with things like preaching and education.