Emil Khooda: Master of Divinity

When Emil Khooda started to mature as a believer, he realized he needed to be in full-time ministry. He started analyzing his spiritual gifts, trying to match profession with personality. Chaplaincy struck a chord. “It totally aligned with who I am,” he says.

With a goal before him, Khooda began looking at seminaries. That’s when a friend mentioned Multnomah. “He said MU was highly respected and had out-of-the-box thinking,” he says. “He also told me the seminary offered a Master of Divinity degree and a cultural engagement program.”

That program — New Wine, New Wineskins — would have a lasting impact on Khooda. But he didn’t know that initially. Khooda had doubts about his first class with New Wine Director Paul Metzger. “I thought it’d be boring,” he admits. “But he made the class come alive. He thinks about things in a unique way, and we got to talk meaningfully about culture.”

Why talk about culture at all? “People can be ignorant and disrespectful because they don’t know how to interact with other people,” Khooda says.  “We can forget the big picture.”

But Dr. Metzger hasn’t forgotten the big picture. The seminary professor is known for building relationships with other faith communities. While Khooda was a part of the program, his class met with a local group of Zen Buddhists for monthly potlucks. Khooda became good friends with a Buddhist who shared his excitement for football.

“Christians can get insular and forget to engage with people outside their faith,” he says. “New Wine is a hidden gem — it paints a vivid reflection of who Christ is and how he interacted with people.”

Khooda credits the program with equipping him to meet his new job with confidence. The seminary graduate is now a hospital chaplain at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. “New Wine had a big impact on my life,” he says.  “Now I can meaningfully speak into peoples’ lives.”