Q&A with Amber Bowen
January 19, 2017
Amber Bowen is a master’s student and adjunct professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She shares about her interests in philosophy and encouraging more women to contribute to the body of scholarship.
Tell us about yourself.
I am originally from the Raleigh area. I graduated high school a year early and decided to attend The College at Southeastern.
When I was in high school, I knew I either wanted to teach at a university or go to law school. Because of some advice I received, I was looking for a “great books” program at a university.
I settled on The College at Southeastern with the intention of graduating and eventually doing theological education overseas. That changed, and I decided to do two years as a Journeyman with the International Mission Board. I moved to Milan, Italy, with the plan of staying there for two years. I decided to stay in Italy longer than that and eventually got my master’s degree in secondary education while teaching history at a private high school for the Italian elite (the kids of soccer players, nobility and others).
I retuned to Southeastern and am about to finish up my master’s in philosophy with Dr. Jamie Dew. I am also now an adjunct professor teaching History of Ideas classes at The College at Southeastern. I plan to start my Ph.D. in the fall.
What are you studying and why did you choose that focus?
Within philosophy, I am studying the work of Søren Kirkegaard, a Danish philosopher. He is interesting because he is a harsh critic of modernity and would also have critiques of postmodernity. His goal was to rescue Christianity from Christendom, an enterprise I believe is highly relevant for our current context.
What activities are you involved in on campus?
I recently helped design and launch The Society for Women in Scholarship. The purpose of the society is to encourage women at Southeastern to cultivate and utilize their academic giftings to contribute to the body of scholarship and to pour into the Church.
I grew up in the church, and I didn’t always feel like my gifts of teaching and academics were encouraged like the gifts of encouragement or hospitality are encouraged in women. I have also seen obstacles and challenges for women in the academy and desire to encourage women to not shy away from the giftings the Lord has given them but to grow them for the benefit of the Church and the sake of the kingdom. Southeastern has been incredibly supportive of this initiative, and I have been blown away by the interest both on campus and from other institutions.
What has been your favorite part about teaching History of Ideas?
I have really enjoyed teaching because it is exciting to see students go from not caring about the texts of “old, dead people” to being challenged and even moved to tears because of how the Holy Spirit has used those writings to convict them.
What is one book that everyone should read? (Besides the Bible)
“Desiring the Kingdom” by James K.A. Smith. He talks about how our idea of formation is directly connected to our philosophical anthropology. In other words, what we believe about man is going to impact the way we teach or disciple, and, beyond that, it is how our culture teaches us.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to cook. The first four years of my adult life were spent in Italy, so that is where I learned to prepare and enjoy food. I also love physical activities like hiking and cycling. They offer a good break from the academic work.
What has God been teaching you lately?
This semester I have gone through a big transition in life and work. I have come up against my own limits and weakness a lot. I have had many times when I stare at my work and just know that unless the Lord builds the house all my labors are in vain. The fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, comes from knowing who we are (finite and weak) and who He is (infinite and all-powerful) and glorying in that reality.
Southeastern is known as a Great Commission seminary. How is Southeastern preparing you to live out the Great Commission in your life and ministry?
The Lord has used Southeastern to give me a heart for the Great Commission and to see how I can leverage whatever the Lord has called me to do, whether that is serving as a missionary in Milan, Italy, or teaching History of Ideas in Wake Forest, North Carolina, for the kingdom.