"We love because he first loved us. Those who say, 'I love God,' and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also." 1 John 4:19-21
Dr. Ellis Purdie was raised in the Jackson, Mississippi area, and attended a private Presbyterian elementary and a Judeo-Christian-Centered high school. Faith and Education have always been a part of his life. He attended Mississippi College where, with God's guidance and the help of a few good professors, he found that he loved literature, and that he wanted to try his hand at teaching and writing it. Having struggled through high school, college was, surprisingly, a place of intellectual discovery and growth. Most importantly, his college professors taught him about the intersection between literature and the Christian faith. Dr. Purdie was introduced to writers such as Flannery O'Connor, Wendell Berry, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Marilynne Robinson, whose works became a part of his Christian practice of reading. Thus, he entered college with vague notions about his life's work and left with an understanding of calling. Dr. Purdie's primary motivation for working in academia is derived from this calling to do unto others what was done for him during his college years. His desire is to help his students better understand their God-given gifts and vocation. Writing is one of the best means of discernment. He continued this discernment at The University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned two more degrees in Creative Writing and further cultivated his obsession with art and faith. When he is not teaching, he is usually reading, working on his own creative writing, seeing films, or working with animals. His wife, Minda, is an ordained minister, and they enjoy opening their home to young adults for meals and theological discussion. They also have a son, Tobias Preston, in whom they delight. Dr. Purdie looks forward to possibly seeing you in class, where–through reading and writing–we will bear the image of God.