Prepared for Life: How This Alumnus Sees the World

Prepared for Life: How This Alumnus Sees the World

By FRANKLIN NORTON

Director of Marketing & Communication

In the summer of 2007, Clint Wilson was preparing to leave the West Virginia home he’d known his whole life, with plans to attend Wake Forest University. Little did he know that this move would only be the starting destination on a journey of faith that included living in Scotland, Philadelphia and ultimately Houston, TX, the place he now calls home.

As he made the decision to attend Wake Forest, Wilson couldn’t help but wonder if he was making a mistake. Afterall, most of his classmates at Covenant at the time were either staying in-state for school or planning to attend a Christian college. Was he prepared to live in an entirely different context with people who inevitably view the world in different ways?

“The great thing about a place like Covenant is that students there grow up with and are surrounded by peers sharing common beliefs,” Wilson said. “You can have these in-depth conversations over a wide range of issues while feeling safe knowing you share certain commonalities.”

Wilson attests that it’s important for students to feel safe in school as they discover truth and work through deep questions, but he also believes students should be prepared to navigate and engage with an increasingly complex world. Covenant prepared him to do just that.

“I felt like I was really prepared to engage in these broad discussions,” Wilson said as he reflected on his first year at Wake Forest. “I felt multiple steps ahead of my peers when it came to knowing how to think critically and how to ask the right kinds of questions, and I think one of the values of the classical Christian model is that these tools help you to develop empathy. I was more able to understand other people’s perspectives.” 

Wilson has made a career out of asking the right kinds of questions, specifically asking questions of how the church can and should engage culture. 

Having just completed his Ph.D. in English from Rice University, Wilson works as the director of community formation at City Church in Houston, where he oversees small group ministry. He is also a part of launching a new initiative, The Space City Fellows Program (SPCFP), a year-long, intensive seminar open to a small cohort of servant-leaders interested in developing a deeper understanding of the mission of the church while also laying a groundwork for “understanding the Christian’s ability to relevantly answer many of contemporary culture’s biggest questions.”

Having spent more than a decade in academia, Wilson is no stranger to living in non-Christian contexts, engaging with contemporary culture. While studying at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, he found himself in a culture where nearly 60 percent of the population report having no religion at all. In the English department at Rice, he’s worked alongside academics with vastly different life experiences, where a wide array of theories and worldviews surrounding gender, race, religion, media and politics abound. 

“Life is progressively about getting more different, and frankly, more complex,” Wilson said. “And the world is becoming more complex and, more or less, different. As Christians, we’re called not to be afraid of difference. So when I meet someone with a totally opposite worldview from my own, I have nothing to fear from or of them.”

Wilson has found that his ability to empathize with varying perspectives while being able to articulate his own has made the difference. In other words, he’s become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Wilson has learned to live in a secular world because he knows he belongs to the Creator of this world. He is both faithful and adaptable, navigating a changing culture with changing attitudes while remaining steadfast in his faith, taking seriously the words of Christ: do not be afraid.

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