Meet Philosophy Professor Chad Meister, Ph.D.
- September 1, 2011 • September 2011
Chad Meister, Ph.D., hasn’t always served as a professor of philosophy at Bethel. He first started out as a robotic engineer. Now he now finds himself either teaching Bethel students or writing. Currently he is the author or editor of 15 published books. I interviewed Meister to find out what lies within the covers of his own “life book.”
CB: How did your career begin?
CM: My undergraduate degree is in automated manufacturing technology (robotics). My first job out of college was working as a development engineer for a robotics company in Arizona. I got married, moved to Minnesota and began working for Hewlett Packard as a field engineer.
CB: Why did you leave this field?
CM: My manager at HP, a Hindu from India, challenged my Christian faith — so much so that I began to question everything. It was this reevaluation of what is true in religion that led me into the fields of philosophy, theology and religious studies.
CB: How did you get to where you are today?
CM: I left my career, went back to school and earned an M.A. in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Marquette University. While in the doctoral program, I studied classical Greek at the University of Notre Dame.
CB: What led you to Bethel?
CM: During my time at ND I wandered over to Bethel, met with the academic dean (Mike Holtgren, Ed.D., at the time), and sensed that I was supposed to be at Bethel. After much prayer by the dean and myself, I took a position here.
CB: What do you like about your current job?
CM: I’ve been at Bethel now for about 12 years, some of the best years of my life. The students here energize me and inspire a passion in me for teaching and learning, and I’m grateful to work with some of my closest friends and confidants.
CB: What do you do in your spare time?
CM: I am the author or editor of 15 books (several of them will be coming out this year). In addition, I am the general editor of a forthcoming series of books with Cambridge University Press entitled “Cambridge Studies in Religion, Philosophy, and Society.” There will be about 10 books or so in that series. I’m also the general editor of a forthcoming six-volume series of books entitled “The History of Evil.”
CB: What interests you in writing?
CM: I am very interested in God and the things of God, so most of my books are about these or related subjects. I see one of my primary life goals as articulating and championing the Christian faith and responding to challenges raised by those opposed to it, most recently proponents of the New Atheist movement. I also value engaging in religious dialogue with those from other religious traditions, and have published several books along these lines.
CB: How do you balance writing and teaching?
CM: My research and writing actually benefit my teaching as the material I’m working on relates to the courses I teach. I’m always striving to do double or triple duty, writing about what I’m teaching about, and speaking on what I teach.
CB: Tell me about your family.
CM: My wife, Tammi, and I have two sons, Justin (12) and Joshua (10). Tammi is a CPA by trade and earned her accounting degree at Bethel in the late ’80s. She is currently homeschooling our sons (and doing an amazing job!).
CB: How do you find time for your family in the midst of writing and teaching?
CM: I spend a certain amount of intentional time each day with my wife and my sons and I also work at home when I can. When I’m speaking out of town I take my family with me whenever possible. Nonetheless, balancing family, teaching, writing and speaking is no easy task, and I have certainly not found the perfect rhythm. But I keep searching for it!