Alumni Stories: Luther Abel ’12

You graduated from Sheboygan Christian School in 2012. What have you been up to since graduation?

I joined the Navy out of high school and spent six years as a mechanic aboard a frigate and later an aircraft carrier. I deployed three times to the South China Sea to make sure North Korea and China were behaving themselves. After marrying Emily in 2016, my contract was up in 2018. We moved to Appleton, Wis., where I attended Lawrence University free of charge with the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. I graduated with an English degree and a stack of clips from writing for the student newspaper that I used to apply for various journalism applications. National Review — a conservative magazine based in Manhattan and a publication I’d interned with during Lawrence — took me on as the William F. Buckley Journalism Fellow. After a year as a fellow, I was hired on as the Nights & Weekends Editor.

What do you love about SCS?

I love that it remains Christian, first and foremost, with a robust apologetics and Bible curriculum. Leaving aside the matter of salvation a moment (a rather significant oversight, I’ll grant you), as an English major, one cannot understand the Western canon without first knowing the Bible — the same could be said of adequately understanding the works of Bach and Handel. So, even at a secular, progressive school like Lawrence, I was constantly referring to what I had learned in Mrs. Kiel’s 4K room all the way to Ron Van der Pol’s apologetics course in high school. Biblical illiteracy is ignorance; SCS offers foundational enlightenment many schools overlook.

Who was one of your favorite SCS teachers?

Mr. Gesch — I would not be writing professionally if not for his feedback and affection for language. Also, I had his classes when I was old enough to appreciate that one could live a varied life in many places, do weird stuff, and offer those experiences to one’s students. Class is a joy when teachers can offer more than just material.

In what ways have you grown in your faith as a result of your experience at SCS?

The combination of arts (language and physical showing the splendor of manipulating and describing Creation) and structure (we have a divine mandate, and much is expected of us). What this means on a given week: take delight in the everyday and go to church on Sunday.

How do you feel that SCS prepared you for graduation, college/career, and life?

The combination of rigidity and grace at SCS allowed an awkward kid to develop emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually in a way that a public or secular charter school could never have done. I needed SCS. Again, providential.

What advice would you give to current SCS students?

Do interesting stuff. Life does not need to be figured out at 18. Your parents might not like to hear that (more than fair), but challenge yourselves. If you really want something, just ask. I landed a writer’s dream job by cold-calling publications about internships. Be gracious, be bold, and keep the faith.

How is God’s sovereignty displayed in your career and calling?

I thought I’d die in the Navy (not sure why; just had a feeling), so every day since then has attached to it the signifier that it is God-ordained. I didn’t set out to become a journalist at one of the most-read and influential magazines in the U.S., but I applied, and they thought I had something they needed. Providential.

What is your current job and title? What does this job entail?

I am a Nights & Weekends Editor: One of the few editorial titles that operates how it sounds, I edit and commission stories from our writers in the afternoon. Later into the evening, as everyone else heads to their dinners and recreation, I get busy writing about whatever the hot political topic of the evening is. I do my best to write about national defense and church concerns, given that these topics interest me and I have more-than-average knowledge of them (I like to think, anyway).

How do you live out your faith in your unique field?

With significant effort. It’s the easiest thing to start in this line of work with the best of intentions and wake up years later the spox for some shmuck on Capitol Hill. People will occasionally ask after my favorite verse: Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The best Christian writers and thinkers, those in whom steps I seek to follow, maintain an ironclad view of total depravity: that the men and women in politics are fallen creatures who cannot save us and are, at best, a means by which we can carve out space for civil, religious society. My writing (which can sometimes stray into grumbling and churlishness) is at its best when speaking of the hopefulness inherent in God’s goodness and mercy.