Lauren, Slovakia must be very different from the USA. What is the biggest culture shock you have faced so far?
The biggest culture shock I have noticed would be picking your own table at restaurants. My first time going to a restaurant was in the pedestrian zone in Martin.
I timidly walked through all the tables outside in search of a hostess desk. Nothing looked like a familiar hostess area, but I did notice a sign in Slovak next to a hand sanitizer table. I thought “this must be it!” Then I stood inside the door for about ten minutes until a staff member who spoke English told me that I could just seat myself.
When did you know you wanted to go into teaching?
I have always been interested in teaching religion. In high school, I was so excited to teach others, I led five separate confirmation small groups of middle school students.
Using three words, how would you describe your teaching style?
Flexible, dedicated, and understanding
You studied theology. How did you come to pick up this field of study?
Well, it started when I chose “Nature and Religion” as a mandatory freshman religion course. In this class, I studied the two creation stories side-by-side for the first time and drew conclusions explaining the world around me using logic and critical thinking. From there, theology became a puzzle that I loved to solve and read about how others solved too.
Who is your favourite Christian thinker and why?
I have two answers for this question. I really enjoy reading Anselm of Canterbury. He was a theologian around 1100CE who tried to prove God’s existence through a logic (almost mathematical) proof. His works combine my love of mathematical logic and theology in a crazy and mind bending way that leaves the reader both confused and intrigued. The other Christian thinker tied for my favourite is Martin Luther. I am a practicing Lutheran and my personal beliefs align with his ideas on salvation by grace, the freedom of a Christian and good works. I also find him challenging to engage with because of his intensity in his beliefs and capacity for hate.
Imagine you could dedicate your life to solving one problem. What problem would you choose and why?
I would solve the problem of bullying and discrimination. There are so many people who are in need of love and I believe that people who are hurting themselves, turn their hurt outward to hurt other people. It is a cycle that will keep growing unless people are shown that they are valued. I believe that this is the most important job of the Church and Christians. We are called to love the Earth and all of its people with a powerful irrational and crazy love.
What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
The most daring thing I have ever done would probably be joining the diving team and staying in the sport for ten years. While learning the flips and twists, I often messed up and hit either the board or the water wrong. It was difficult to try again after a painful fail, but I always figured out how to do the dive safely in the end.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
If I could live anywhere, I would live in a fictional world where it is always autumn. I love the fall colours and the cooler temperatures.
What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?
I usually only watch movies once, but I always love Harry Potter movie marathons. My favourite would probably be the third movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
What would you say your strengths are?
My greatest strength is my willingness to try new things.
Rozhovor pripravila Ivana Sopúchová