November 13, 2020
Wheaton College welcomes Lindsey Hankins, who is serving the College as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology.
Name: Lindsey Hankins
B.A., Biblical and Theological Studies, Bethel College, MN, 2004
M.A., Historical and Systematic Theology, Wheaton College, 2007
M.A., History of Christianity, Wheaton College, 2012
Ph.D., Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2020 (expected)
1. What was your favorite class in college? Why?
Before I transferred to Bethel I was at the University of Minnesota where I took a jazz appreciation class. The content was amazing, but by far and away the best part was the instructor. He had run away from a dangerous home at 13 and cut his teeth in the jazz world out of necessity, playing gigs in New Orleans well before he could get a legal driver’s license. He made it a point to learn a new instrument every year so that he never forgot what it felt like to be out of his element as a student. It was the first time I realized that I had just as much, perhaps more, to learn from the instructor as a person as the class itself.
2. Before Wheaton, what were you doing?
After college I worked for Young Life for a few years in Whitefish, Montana. We started a few new ministries so it was often really painful, really lonely work. Even so, I’m thankful for all of it. Those years forced me let go and trust the Spirit in ways I couldn’t have previously imagined. I learned sometimes we do our best in spite of our best intentions.
3. What big question are you trying to answer through your work?
I think the organizing question for my work has always been some form of how do I become more like Jesus? I did a deep-dive into ancient saints and martyrs while at Wheaton and, at PTS, have been circling around prayer for a few years now. In both cases I’m looking for clues—in story and practice—for the arc of a life well spent.
4. What has kept you busy during the pandemic?
My husband and I have two young kids—three and five. Keeping up with them is, it turns out, a full-time job. Besides that, we’ve been attempting to keep a tomato plant and some basil alive. I’ll be honest: it’s not looking good.
5. Do you get butterflies the night before the first day of school?
Yes. I hide it well but I’m an anxious person. Contingency plans are my jam. The good news is that while the start of each year is partly terrifying, its mostly thrilling. Learning year after year with so many incredible people feels like winning the nerdiest, best lottery ever. It’s an embarrassment of riches.
6. What would you have liked to tell the freshman version of yourself about going to college?
I wish I would have better appreciated the process of learning. For far too long I thought the goal was to get the right answer. I often completely overlooked who I was becoming in the process or what interesting details or turns got me to those conclusions. I wish I had known that I wasn’t just prepping for a test or wrapping up a paper, I was being formed more or less into the likeness of Christ. I wish I had known to make that transformation the principal goal.
7. When you’re not teaching or researching, what do you like to do?
As mentioned before, I have a three- and five-year-old. I plan to take up hobbies again in the near future … hopefully.