I consider myself very lucky to be attending Biola University, and I thank God for the amazing opportunity to come here every day, even when some days are tougher than others –– as life can be.

I consider myself even luckier to have the opportunity to be a part of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola, which is an amazing great books program. Honestly, there are so many incredible things about Torrey, but I thought I would expand on one of the main distinctions about Torrey. I want to talk about the books we read –– or, at least, my favorite books thus far!

Depending on our schedules, Torrey students usually read about a book per week, sometimes two. During my first semester, I read a ton of epics (poetry novels) and learned more about what it means to put my faith in God. I remember reading Dante’s Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise and feeling so incredibly enlightened. The first book in the Divine Comedy (Inferno) makes it hard to believe that this reading could be enlightening, especially since Dante is journeying through a physical hell, but as the readings move on, we, as the readers, learn that this is a story of redemption and cleansing of oneself. Reading the Divine Comedy seemed super opportune for my first semester at Biola, as I was still trying to process pains from before I came to college. Dante’s journey of redemption showed me what it meant to truly let go of your past and surrender yourself to God. It also revealed the depth of forgiveness. I learned so much from the Divine Comedy that my first short film at Biola, called “Lethe,” was based off of Dante’s Purgatory. In Purgatory, Dante passes through two rivers, one being Lethe which stands for forgetfulness. My friends and I decided to create a story about redemption and what it looks like to forget the guilt of your sin. Dante literally changed my life.

Another reading that has deeply impacted my life is Plato’s Symposium. Oddly enough, I thought I was going to dislike Plato, but I ended up reading Symposium in one whole sitting. The reading involves seven men sitting down and having a conversation about love and what love actually is. They discuss the idea that love may be something we pass along to others when time and circumstances are right, and they even go as far to say that humans are able to give birth to wisdom and true love to others. At the time I was reading Plato I was investigating what it means to love others well, and Plato taught me that love is a fundamental characteristic we should all strive toward. All this to say, God loves on us and allows us to love on others in extremely mysterious ways. He can even minister to others through the work that we allow Him to do in us. Plato, also, literally changed my life.

There are so many books I have learned so much from. This is honestly one of the best advantages of Torrey, because we get to learn from amazing philosophers and authors, such as Aristotle or Plato, directly from their texts. I trust that no matter what I may be reading for Torrey, God reveals himself. I look for Him in all my readings and discussions, even the readings that don’t explicitly talk about God. I love this process of searching for and learning from God in Torrey. I hope you think so too.

Until next time,

Blogger Holly Changsta