Autobiographical Sketch

Stanford 2006

Handsomely Aaronic Pic

My name is Aaron Siver.

I was born in late July, just like Harry Potter, but I was a year earlier than him. And I slept over the stairs as a child, whereas Mr. Potter slept under the stairs. But I digress (quite often, in fact).

I was born and raised in rural eastern South Dakota. In the summer before my senior year of high school, I moved to southern Minnesota, and I’ve been there ever since. I graduated from Minnesota State University in Mankato in 2001 with a B.S. in biology, and I work in research and development at a dairy processing company in the area. I’m also a husband and father.

I enjoy scientific learning, especially biology. My study emphasis during college was microbiology and molecular biology. Since childhood, I’ve also had a keen interest in dinosaur trivia. I also enjoy studying theology and philosophy. When the inspiration hits and the time permits, I enjoy doing artwork, mostly drawing and coloring. I like dabbling with learning in general like a Renaissance Man.

I have quite a broad church background over the course of my life. I was baptized as an infant in a Congregational Church that I attended from birth through elementary school. I was catechized and confirmed in a Lutheran Church that I attended during middle school and high school. Then, I attended a Methodist Church for a year when I moved to Minnesota. During college, I attended an independent Baptist Church for two years. I also became involved with a Charismatic campus ministry during college, which I attended for ten years. After college, I attended a Pentecostal Church for six years. In early 2009, I began attending a Presbyterian Church. And I have long-time associations with various other Evangelical Churches, one of which I began attending in the spring of 2016.

I took a deliberate interest in participating in church ever since confirmation classes in middle school. During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I had the only mystical experience of my life. For many years, I interpreted that experience as being “born again”. In more recent years, I’ve wondered if it was an instance of special sanctification or conversion in my life, since I can also clearly see God the Father’s gracious hand through ordinary means upon me prior to that unique experience. In any event, it was a definitive occasion in which Christ through the Spirit called me to a deeper and richer life of faith.

Ever since that mysterious spiritual encounter and delving into Holy Scripture, I’ve had an incipiently “Calvinistic” view of God’s sovereignty over his creation and over salvation in particular. I just didn’t know there were provocative historical labels (e.g “Augustinian” and “Reformed”) for this perspective. In 2008, I discovered there was a name for this theological perspective, and I became much more self-consciously and overtly Reformed. I also discovered that Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches aren’t generally all that keen on Reformed theology. That realization motivated my move to a Presbyterian Church. Nonetheless, a warm sense of community and belonging has always been the primary feature of what makes a church into a home for me.

My cantankerous “cage stage” Calvinism persisted several years and took on several variant forms. Ask a Calvinist about the “cage stage” if you’ve never heard of it before now. Occasionally, it can require the intervention of an animal control specialist. God was very gracious and patient with me as I was so ungracious with fellow saints about the doctrines of grace and other matters. How ironic and typical. But Christ is faithful while life is brutal. I’ve been chewed up and softened up. Nowadays, I’m probably best described as “Reformedish” and am an advocate of a “Reformedish Catholicity”. I also seek to nurture a more premodern “Augustinian” mindset on life and faith.

I’ve been referred to as a “smart-ass” by no less than two ordained ministers in my life, and it’s always been meant as a compliment. :-p