Jones teaches philosophy in Romania
Finding a balance between vocation and passion is difficult for most people, but Liberty University Professor Michael Jones has found a way to seamlessly
Jones, a professor of theology and philosophy since 2005, uses his teaching vocation as a way to fulfill his passion for missions. Because of a Fulbright grant, Jones is currently teaching philosophy at the University of Bucharest in Romania.
“My courses are electives for students who want exposure to the American style of teaching and who want to practice their English,” Jones said. “This Fulbright grant gives me the perfect opportunity to be both a scholar and a missionary at the same time, and hence fulfill both of these desires. … Being blessed with a Fulbright grant made this move possible. I’ve been planning and strategizing for this return to Romania since my first Fulbright in Romania
ended in 2002.”
After Jones left Romania in 2002, he returned in 2006, 2007 and 2008 for short-term trips.
In addition to teaching, Jones is working on several publication projects, including translating a Romanian philosopher’s works into English. Jones has also been invited to speak at several other universities in Romania.
Jones and his wife attend a small Romanian Baptist church where they started a junior church program. Every other month, they travel two hours east of Bucharest to a different church where Jones and his wife speak to men and women in separate Bible studies.
“I really enjoy Romanian Baptist churches,” Jones said. “I can’t explain why that is, but it’s true. Part of it is the music, but there’s more to it than just that. Perhaps it’s because Romania has only had religious freedom for 25 years, and hence the people value their religion more than do many Americans.
I think this explanation is likely true, since the fervency of the churches seems to have declined some since I first came to Romania 17 years ago.”
After his positive experience in 2002, Jones continues to enjoy his time in Romania.
“I can’t pick out any single thing that is the highlight,” Jones said. “The whole experience has been extremely positive. If it were possible, I’d do this every other year. In fact, that would be heaven. I can’t imagine a better life than being able to alternate years between Liberty and Romania.”
Jones enjoys his time in Romania, but he still misses some things he left behind.
“Most of all, (my wife and I) miss our families, especially our sons and their wives, who are Liberty alumni and still live in the Lynchburg area, and our basset hound, Dozer,” Jones said. “I also miss my motorcycles. I miss my colleagues, (and) Liberty really does have a lot of great people. I miss the Liberty fencing club and the Liberty Jiujitsu club. And I miss playing in the band at Berean Baptist Church.”
Jones returns to Virginia in July and will be teaching again in the fall of 2015 at Liberty.
The Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. government and administered by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Jones is one of 1,200 U.S. scholars to receive a Fulbright award in the past year.
FRASER is a feature reporter.