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Jarred McKinney

I’m far from exaggerating when I say that going to King was one of the better decisions of my life thus far. While there, I met my two best friends who flew all the way to Bethlehem, Palestine to be in my wedding. I fell in love with the Appalachian Mountains and developed a deep love for God’s creation. Perhaps most importantly, however, an insatiable curiosity was stirred up in me. I have no doubt that this was the result of professors who deeply love their craft, transferring, in some mysterious way, their passion for learning to us. At King, I learned that faith is something that ought to open me up to the world around me, not close me off from it. To this, King did not fill my head with a bunch of knowledge, hand me a piece of paper, and send me on my way. Rather, I was taught how to learn, how to think for myself. Yet, my education at King formed me for a world beyond that of Appalachia, both spiritually and intellectually. After a year traveling the world, the curiosity that King awakened in me then led me to complete a master’s in World Religions from Emory University. So, too, did this love of learning take me to Palestine to teach at the university level for a year. At the moment, I find myself pursuing an MDiv at Duke Divinity School. Yet for all these incredible experiences, King served as the catalyst.