Why we teach: "A Worldview Sniper for Christ"

Posted by Julia Adams on 5/16/24 8:27 AM

Interview with Dr. Favelo

I can still remember the nervous excitement in my chest when I walked into my first history class during my freshman year with Dr. Doug Favelo. I selected a seat in the middle of the room—not in the front row, (that seemed too ambitious), but also not in the back where it might seem that I didn't care. I pulled out my notebook, wrote the date and the title of the first lecture, and settled back. When the clock showed 11:15 am, the class began. To this day, I can still hear him introduce himself, and the goal of the class, and then dedicate the class to the Lord, beginning his prayer with “Good morning, Lord.”

Personally, I have always enjoyed history, but Favelo’s energy, passion, and love for history enhanced it even more. He helped me and my peers to see the story of God’s providence and goodness throughout Western Civilization—as Favelo says, it is His story.

It is this passion for story that led Favelo to consider teaching in the first place. By his junior year of high school, he knew he wanted to teach but thought he would specialize in literature. While in college, two of his professors, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson and Dr. Bruce Thornton, encouraged Favelo in his pursuit of the classics. “They were utterly formative to me and how I see the world through story-sharing eyes,” Favelo recalled.

The Harm of Therapeutic History

While finishing his Ph.D. after 4 years at UCLA and 35 years in California, Favelo decided he wanted to teach in a Christian environment. Because he had not graduated yet, his advisors did not want to put a lot of effort into applying to every possible job, which is the typical way it is done. “In one of those ‘flukes that aren’t,’ I searched history jobs at Christian universities, found a job at PHC and another school, and the rest is history!” Favelo said.

Interview with Dr. FaveloLike many professors here, Favelo found his experience at PHC to be very different from previous universities. “At CSU Fresno and other schools, I never wanted to sell my soul or be a chameleon Christian, so I had to commit to never do so when push came to shove,” Favelo said. But in the meantime, he had to find a balance between his faith and working in a very secular environment. “I decided I was a worldview sniper for Jesus. My job was to push back on bad "-isms" and worldview, with gentleness and respect, and pray and hope that my students saw how bankrupt the world was.”

Dr. Doug Favelo Western Civ Classroom Teaching-5Once he entered the classroom, Favelo quickly learned that teaching is more than just making information accessible to the various learning modalities (auditory, kinesthetic, visual, etc.)—though those are also important. It is about reaching the students on a personal level. “I believe I am more effective when I seek to understand the heart and God’s unique ‘setup’ for each of my students,” Favelo said. This perspective is especially helpful when students ask questions. They may be clunky or not completely formed, but there is something more behind them. “So I learned to ask, ‘What do their heart and mind really want to know here, beyond the words?’”

One of Favelo’s favorite parts of being a professor is shaping the character of men and women for Christ for eternity. Like all of our professors, he takes that burden very seriously.

“Many years ago I was sitting before a prospective student’s dad at lunch,” Favelo recalled. “He had Lou Gehrig’s disease, and it was pretty clear that he probably wasn’t going to live all that much longer. He looked in my eyes and said, ‘I want to know that my son’s faith is going to be ok at the college where we send him.’ Of course, we were all crying at that.  While we are not perfect here at PHC, we kept that promise, and we still do every day.  My colleagues and I want nothing more than to see our ‘children’ walking in the truth.”

Classical Liberal Arts at PHC


 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


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