We’ve started a new series, featuring grads that have ended up doing a pretty wide variety of things after leaving their REL classes (graduating either recently or a little while ago). So we posed a few questions to each and let’s see what we learn.
1. When were you here & what did you graduate with?
I arrived in September or October 2005, after Hurricane Katrina. I graduated in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies with a minor in Philosophy.
2. When you first came here from high school, what did you think you wanted to do for a career?
I planned a seminary trip to become a pastor.
3. Any memories from your REL classes in Manly Hall that stand out and, more importantly perhaps, that you can share without incriminating anyone?
“Without incriminating anyone,” huh? You’re not making things easy, Dr. McCutcheon. This could take a minute…. All right, I recall a meeting with Dr. Tim Murphy. Dr. Murphy led my independent study at the time. He wanted an update after Spring Break. I reached the door at the same time as my buddy, Zach Day. Murphy told us both to come in and see what happens. Dr. Murphy, Zach, and I had one of the best brainstorm sessions. Everyone tossed theorists about. We each shared a perspective based on our current project. Plus, we dreamed of where our individual projects could lead us. Oh sure, the goals were reached. The three of us came away with a touch of clarity and a dozen new rabbit trails. I enjoyed the simple exploration of it all.
4. So what have you ended up doing and what path led you there? Tell us a little about your career now.
The best description I have: I daylight as a tobacconist and moonlight starting up a ministry project. I worked a number of odd jobs after graduation. I, even, returned to Bama to get a master’s degree. In 2015, I landed as store manager for The Briary in Homewood, AL. Also, I write stories, perform in churches, and promote artists through the Storytelling Apologetics Project. So I control inventory and plan stories. Meanwhile, I sell pipes, tobacco, and cigars and rehearse for storytelling performances. Plus, I play webmaster for both positions. Never thought I would end up here, but my career path is a fun ride.
5. Is it fair to think that some of your REL undergrad classes or skills continue to be useful to you?
Absolutely, not only is it fair but also completely accurate. I talk daily about Derrida, Plato, and Chesterton with customers. I might even suggest that sales are like adapting to different professors. Plus, I find the same rules for editing papers apply to editing stories .I could go on, but suffice it to say: my time in Manly definitely benefits me daily.
6. If you now gave some advice to your earlier self, the one in classes in Manly Hall, what would that be?
Look down the course list, and take that one class simply because it looks interesting. Yeah, I know it doesn’t fit with anything else at the moment. However, that class will have the most fascinating benefits one day.
That’s Joe, above, pictured with his wife Jessica.