New learning restores old soul

David Stringer returns to school to complete a certificate of theology through the Talbot School of Theology.

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Marika Adamopoulos

Madison Miller/THE CHIMES

Jehn Kubiak, Writer

After spending time in the career field, David Stringer decided to return to school this year at age 55 to pursue his first year in a certificate of theology at Talbot and restore his relationship with God.

Restoring the Heart

Before enrolling as a Talbot student, Stringer worked as an engineer for 27 years. He retired from work so he could provide care for his wife, Judy, who was diagnosed with brain cancer five years ago, while she fought the cancer.

When his wife passed away, he started participating in a men’s ministry at his church aimed to help men restore their masculine heart. The group studied Christian books and the end of one of the books presented a challenge by asking, “What can you ask God to do for you to help restore your heart?” Stringer realized he enjoyed learning and felt returning to school would help restore his heart and relationship with God.

Defending Faith

After looking at different certification programs, Biola’s apologetics certificate caught his attention.

“I just felt God saying ‘learn to know your faith before you defend your faith,’” Stringer said.

Stringer enjoys listening to apologists defend their faith, listen to the other person’s argument, show how it is incorrect and correctly defend God’s word in a well-thought out manner.

He hopes to defend his faith better by studying apologetics.

Relating to God

The group also studied “Wild at Heart” and “Waking the Dead” by John Eldredge. Stringer said the books focus on restoring the heart and growing in relationship with Christ. In addition, the books looked at relating to God, which impacted his relationship.

“I always felt like relating to God was doing things for him— service, obligation, not real intimate relationship with him,” Stringer said.

Stringer said his relationship with his wife was activity-oriented since they worked together and did different activities together, like sports. Judy had difficulty speaking due to the cancer, and he said he had to learn to relate to her in a new way. Stringer saw how his relationship with Judy grew more intimate in the last years of her life.The books in the study describe growing in an intimate relationship with God, and he realized his relationship with God could develop in a similar way by having a relationship of love, instead of one based on activities of service.

“In the book studies, we’re talking about a more intimate relationship with God and spiritual formation type questions and relating to God as a type of relationship with love much more than a duty and activities of service that I had known for so many years,” Stringer said.

Heart-Heavy

Stringer also said he and his wife had a common dream and vision, but does not know where God is leading him now. He believes he is called to ministry and said he is trusting God to guide him, and hopes God will reveal his calling during the process of earning his certificate.

“I just hope through this process he might show me more of what he wants me to be doing in the future,” Stringer said. “He’s convincing me that he has something for me, he just hasn’t shown me what yet.”

Throughout his career as an engineer, Stringer worked in flood control, road maintenance, public transit and night-time streetlight design. Stringer’s work as an engineer helped him realize his love for God was head-heavy instead of heart-heavy. He hopes both his love for God and his relationship with him will grow while he studies at Talbot. He said his spiritual formation courses helped open his eyes to how much of an intimate relationship God wants with us and what it means to be in an intimate relationship with him.

Inspiring Faith

“[I hope] that my love for God would go from a friendship type love of him, a head knowledge love for him to much more heart and emotion in it to a much more intimate love for God — it’s a process that has started but has a long way to go still,” Stringer said.

Stringer said returning to school and seeing Biola students’ strong faith inspires him to grow closer to God.

“I see all you young students here and I see so much faith in some of the other people that are in their mid-twenties and I’m just like, ‘wow, in their mid-twenties they have more faith and a deeper relationship with God than I have at age 55,’” Stringer said.

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