A letter to Todd Pickett


Haven Luper-Jasso // THE CHIMES (file)

Todd Pickett, Dean of Spiritual Development, speaks to students from the pulpit.

Emily Coffey, Managing Editor

When I searched up your name on Google to see what history I could dig up to write this piece with some level of intelligence, it came as no surprise that you listed The Brothers Karamazov as one of your favorite books on your Biola profile.  One of the most outstanding characters in the novel is Father Zosima, who serves as a mentor to Alyosha. When I read this book, I quickly identified Alyosha as the protagonist of the story, who humbly and gently reconciles people to each other in the ministry of relationships with his neighbors and family. Father Zosima’s guidance played a key role in enabling Alyosha to reconcile and educate his neighbors. 

In similar ways, you have faithfully led and served Biola for 27 years. Starting off in the English Department, you immersed yourself in pagination and paper-grading, before turning to lead Spiritual Development on campus. While Biola looks into new horizons, we also face the loss of a spiritual leader and a leader that people looked to for guidance and prayer. Like the Russian villagers in The Brothers Karamazov, we migrated from the distant halls of Blackstone, Thompson or perhaps Hart to hear from you. Students lined up around the block to quietly pray and recite liturgy at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for many, many years. For most of us, your Fives chapel was our first exposure to contemplative prayer and liturgy.  

Your consistency over the years taught us that faith is in the quiet rhythms of trust, humility and patience. And that we as Christians can see ourselves as part of a bigger whole and at the same time, individually beloved by God. There are seasons of exuberance, to be expressed in worship arenas, and then times where we sit in the “belly of the whale” chapel, crying out. But in between, there is reflection and confession. In between, we write papers. We talk to our friends. You have always had a way of giving value to the ordinary rhythms of things as we consider the work of the Holy Spirit in everything. What a privilege to know you as campus pastor. The next church you migrate to is certainly blessed.

5 7 votes
Article Rating