Interview: Ryan Christie... from Wheaton College

We were happy (and a little sad) to see our friend and brother Ryan Christie head east to Wheaton College in December of 2009. Since then he has been busy getting used to life in the Midwest. The FBCN Blog was able to interview Ryan recently and get an update on his new school, home, church and more. His answers remind us again of how blessed we are to know him.
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So what’s your new living situation like?
I live in a southwest suburb of Chicago called Palos Park with my uncle Mitch.  Mitch is actually my step-mom’s brother so I didn’t know him very well until recently.  Palos Park is a beautiful small suburb. It’s a forest area so it is covered with trees!  Now that it is spring the plants are beginning to blossom and it is an incredible scenery; a very serene setting.

Any funny or crazy stories from the winter storms?
Nothing too crazy this winter, thank God.  Just for curiosity, I did have to test my truck a little and see what it felt like to spin out in snow/ice, so I gave it a go. You would think that a 4 cylinder Ford Ranger is a pretty weak truck and wouldn’t be able to handle the snowy weather…those would be pretty accurate thoughts.

What do you do for fun in Palos Park? Chicago? Wheaton?
I don’t do a whole lot in my town because I don’t know a lot of people out here. I do love going for walks out here on the forest trails. They are beautiful.  It was really cool to be trudging through the forest in the snow with all the bare trees and then just a few weeks later to see it all melted away. I’m excited to see those trees begin to bear leaves.  In the city I have got to go to a couple of the great museums that they have to offer. I visited the Art Institute which has some incredible stuff. The city is full of things to do: great restaurants and music venues.  These people love their food! It’s really neat to just walk around all the different areas. It is a huge city and I still have a ton of exploring to do. Thank God it’s finally spring.

Can you give us ONE word to describe your experience thus far at Wheaton?
Challenging.

What has been your favorite thing about attending Wheaton?
The faculty at Wheaton is incredible. They are great scholars and highly accessible.  Though I am completely intimidated by all of them, they are really there to help one become a better student.  They want you to succeed in school and life and I feel seriously blessed to be around such a faculty. 

What has been your biggest Wheaton challenge?
Next to the workload itself, for me the challenge has been to accept who I am academically and socially.  I have to admit to myself and be open about the fact that I am not as academic as some of the students here and sometimes it’s a challenge to ask questions that I think I should maybe already know the answers to.  It takes a humility that I’m learning.  At the same time I’m coming to learn that God has gifted me in different ways and I need to hone in on those things as well as my academic side.  I hope to be well rounded in that sense.

Have you gotten close to any of your professors?
I wouldn’t say that I have gotten close to any professors yet but I hope to.  I do like them though. 

What school book(s), if any, has had a big impact on your life and theology?
A couple of the books for my New Testament Theology class have really impacted my thinking, or at least greatly strengthened things that I had already been learning in church and school: The Temple and the Church’s Mission by G.K. BealeThe Israel of God in Prophecy by Hans K. LaRondelle, and The End of the Age Has Come by C. Marvin Pate.  Also for my Christian Theology class we read On the Incarnation by Athanasius which I recommend to everyone. It’s an incredible little book packed with great simple Christology. I look forward to re-reading it. 

Where do you go to church?
I have found a great church in the city called Immanuel Baptist Church.  It is a church of about 100 people located in the University of Chicago at Illinois area.  I seriously have loved being there.  They have been super inviting since day one and they have a great pastor with solid preaching.

How is it different from FBCN?
IBC is very similar to Norco in many respects.  There are a lot of college students, though from a few different schools, which is nice because of the different perspectives offered.  The teaching is reformed, very biblical (i.e. we have been in Exodus the whole time I have been there and will be for a long time to come…those of you who know more about Titus than you ever wanted to know what I mean J ). It is definitely a city church though.  They discourage commuting and really push people to live right in that area to be able to reach out to the community there, something that the members are doing a great job at as far as I have seen.  Also, they don’t have any horses…unfortunately.

What are your plans for the immediate future regarding school, living situation, etc?
I have just entered into the MA in Biblical Exegesis and it will take me another two years to complete (Ya, that means two more winters…) I am really hoping to move into the city near the church around August as long as I can find a job.  I really want to be there working near the church and hopefully interning for them.

Anything you’d like to say to the people of FBCN?
I miss you guys.  Life is definitely not the same without you but God is working in my life, teaching me new things and reminding me of old ones.  I hope the best for you guys.  Keep making new friendships in the world and challenging yourselves in new ways.  Preach the Gospel to others and yourself.  We too often forget that out righteousness is only found in Christ.  And go read Athanasius!! (or Beale if you have to settle).

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Thanks again Ryan. We love you, miss you and pray that God will continue to grow you in his grace. Visit us soon!