Introduction: Riz Crescini

(Riz Crescini) #1

Hi everyone,

Greetings from Japan! I am from the United States but have been living in Japan for 19 years. I am a part-time university lecturer and professional photographer. My wife and I are missionaries through Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS). I am also currently pursuing an MA in Cultural Apologetics through Houston Baptist University. I haven’t taken the Core Module course yet but plan on doing so in the near future. I am looking forward to contributing as well as learning from all of you. To God be the glory!


(SeanO) #2

@rizkun327 Welcome to Connect! I’d be curious to hear more about the program you are in on cultural apologetics. I did my MA at Moody in cross-cultural studies and really enjoyed it. May the Lord bless your ministry in Japan and open eyes / hearts to see His love and truth. Look forward to hearing from you on the forms.

(Riz Crescini) #3

Hi Sean,

Nice to meet you. I just completed my first semester of the MA program. I still have 2.5 years to go. The focus of the program is on imaginative apologetics. While there is a philosophical track, the core of the program focuses on the integration of the arts, especially in literature. When you look at the core courses, it looks like a Great Books or Humanities program but with apologetics as the driving focus. It’s perfect for my cross-cultural ministry among the Japanese. I am currently enrolled in a class called C.S. Lewis and Imaginative Apologetics. I am learning so much!

Thank you for being the first to reach out. What is your line of work?



(SeanO) #4

@rikun327 I am a computer engineer by trade - coding and paper writing. I really enjoy the constant analysis and problem solving - def a blessing. What do you do?

Your coursework sounds like something I would enjoy immensely. Are you going to get to read George MacDonald and Tolkien as well? How did you get interested in imaginative apologetics?

I can definitely say that ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ was very formative for my faith when I was in middle school / high school. So I am very grateful for those who do imaginative apologetics to help others to understand truth in an engaging and moving way. Narnia and the North! Further up and further in!

(Riz Crescini) #5

@SeanO I teach several classes on English (conversation, presentation, business, technical writing, etc.) I also own a studio in my home and do portrait photography. We’re tentmakers and serve through a local Japanese church.

Yes, we will be reading works by MacDonald, Tolkien, and Chesterton in future classes. I got interested in imaginative apologetics because of its interdisciplinary nature and its engagement with culture. I think this type of approach is better suited for doing ministry in Japan than the logical/rationalist approach.

The professor (Michael Ward) of my current class is a C.S. Lewis scholar and in his book Planet Narnia, he demonstrates that Lewis used medieval cosmology as the imaginative key that brings unity to the seven books of the Narniad. It’s a fascinating read.

Further up and further in,


(Julie Levi) #6

Oh my goodness! Hi Riz! It’s Julie Levi — we meet again!

(Riz Crescini) #8

Julie!!! We have missed you sooo much. Where have you been, my friend?

(Julie Levi) #9

Ah, it’s a long and boring story and not appropriate for this forum, but I’m still around. But the shortest answer is that I had to drop the Philosophy course due to scheduling conflicts and am now taking a short step back to re-evaluate. I wanted to keep pursing apologetics, so I’m here. It so so wonderful to “see” you. I makes my heart glad!

(Riz Crescini) #10

Well, we are waiting with open arms if the Lord leads you back to the program. You’ll be happy to know that Mary Cornish, Abby Thompson, Ashley Hemphill and I are taking Dr. Ward’s class. And it’s looking like we will also be in Dr. O’s Ancient Philosophy and Culture course. I’ll let them know I “ran” into you. Glad to see you on here, Julie!

(Julie Levi) #11

I took that class when Dr. Tallon taught it — lectures by Dr. Ward, discussion by Dr. Tallon. It was fantastic. You will enjoy it, I’m sure. I think I would have gotten more out of it, if I had some background in Mediaeval Studies — at least the Planet Narnia part. But it’s a great class no matter what. Enjoy it and pass on my love to the others.

(Riz Crescini) #12

I will definitely let the others know!

The first two weeks on myth, contemplation, enjoyment, metaphors, etc. was tough but satisfying. I know what you mean by medieval studies. But not just that, I wish I had more experience in literary criticism. Lewis’s essays are a tough read at times.

(SeanO) #13

@rizkun327 Sounds like you very full life. Which class do you enjoy teaching the most? I imagine Japan has some great cityscapes and scenic areas that you can take full advantage of as a photographer.

Why would you say that the imaginative approach is more applicable in Japan?

I am familiar with Michael Ward from his interview with Eric Metaxas at Socrates in the City on ‘Planet Narnia’. I really enjoyed it - the association of each book with a different planet and the medieval view of the cosmos was very intriguing. That is a wonderful opportunity to be able to study under him.

(Andrew Bulin) #14

Hey @rizkun327, welcome to Connect!
I’d be interested in hearing more about your journey, how long you’ve been with JEMS, and if you’ve always been in Japan for missions, or if this has developed over the years. My wife and I have several strong ties in Japan (namely Okayama) and are trusting in the Lord to move to Japan in the near future.

Looking forward to seeing you in the forums! :^)

(David Bruce Young) #15

Welcome Riz.
Were you able to study on line at Huston Baptist Universe?

(Barbara Schumann) #16

Welcome Riz! I am delighted to have you join Connect from Japan!