She’s into C.S Lewis, HGTV, and Abraham Lincoln, has done missions in Africa and Thailand, and teaches theology; Sherilyn is Grant is worth getting to know.
Professor Sherilyn Grant teaches courses in Christian history and biblical hermeneutics here at Regent University. Having earned her master’s degree in Biblical studies from Regent, she was offered a position as an adjunct professor which she has held for five years.
In movies, professors are stereotyped as these cold people who could care less about students. Professor Grant disproves this notion, always asking for prayer requests and trying to make personal connections with our class. Every morning, she tells us stories of her everyday adventures, from kayaking catastrophes to HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” marathons.
When I walked into the classroom after her last class, she greeted me warmly with a hug before we started the interview.
Q: I remember when I was in class, you talked a lot about your outdoor activities. So what are your favorite things to do?
A: I love hiking and going to the beach – I live right by it. We’ll take the kayaks out on the ocean. We’ve gotten a lot better at kayaking since [we overturned them the first time]. Kayaking, hiking, just anything that has to do with water, too. I have some good friends who own a boat, so we’ll take that out and go fishing.
Q: Where’s the most interesting place you have lived?
A: Oh, wow, the most interesting place… I’ve lived a lot of places because my family moved around a lot. One of the places we lived that was different than anything else was Arizona. It’s all desert out there, so that was the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make. I grew up in the Mid-West, Nebraska, but when we moved to Arizona, the landscape is rocks and cacti. It’s beautiful – the sunsets and the mountains. But I do love Virginia. I ended up coming back here. We lived here when I was in high school for a few years. There’s so much to do here, so much life.
Q: What music are you listening to right now?
A: I basically listen to worship music on repeat. I recently went to the Regent NOW with John Mark McMillan and his wife, Sarah; I knew of him because of “Oh, How He Loves.” I never knew he wrote that song until recently. Since hearing them in concert, I got one of their CD’s and have been playing that on repeat. So that’s most recent, but Kari Jobe, a lot of Jesus Culture, Hillsong… for me, I have to, especially teaching Biblical Studies and doing my lesson plans. Being in a place of worship helps me; I always want to be available for what the Lord is saying, even when teaching an academic class. If I’m constantly in that place of worship, I can be ready to listen.
Q: Do you have any secret family recipes?
A: My mom is an amazing cook. She has a really good chili recipe that I entered in the Chili Bowl – which I did not win, but that’s okay. We still love it. That’s probably our favorite as a family and one I make all the time. It’s a beef chili with [a list of secret ingredients]. Really simple, but I think that’s why it works.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: That’s funny – I’m not really a big collector. I’m a minimalist. I like things very put away and neat, collections would drive me crazy. I feel if I had a collection, they’d just collect dust! But if I had to say something, I guess I collect books. I love reading. I have way too many books! I also do love magazines, like home magazines. You know, Chip and Joanna Gaines, they have a magazine now and things like Better Homes & Gardens. Being able to look through and see how other people decorate, that’s where I find my own inspiration.
Follow up question: Do you have a favorite book or author?
A: I know C.S. Lewis is a favorite of everybody, but I do love his stuff. I love Richard Foster as well, he writes a lot on the disciplines. That’s something I’ve been reading more lately, about prayer and fasting and how important those are. Right now, he’s one of my favorites. His book, “The Celebration of the Disciplines”, I definitely recommend.
Q: What was the best advice your parents ever gave you?
A: My mom always let me step out and make mistakes. She always was the one to not hold me back, but push me to do what I felt I needed to do. Whether that was moving across the country to go to grad school, or going to Africa or Thailand for missions, I felt if the Lord was calling me to do it, she would always support me. As advice, that would probably be to try new things or not hold myself back. Don’t be afraid to step into something that might be uncomfortable or unknown, because God has you. That’s why I think I had the courage to do a lot, because they were always very supportive.
Q: You’ve been given a talk show, who are the first three people you invite on the show (living or dead)?
A: Abraham Lincoln would be one. I’m fascinated with him. I love what he stood for and how difficult it must have been for him during his presidency. Another one would be Billy Graham. I know that’s probably a common one, but his authenticity, who he is, and what he stands for along with his leadership, are very admirable. I think Mother Theresa would be cool too. I have a heart for missions, so her or Amy Carmichael, who was a missionary to the untouchables. Her whole life was just surrendered to loving those untouchables. So there, those are my three names.
Sara Waits is a staff writer for The Daily Runner.