written by: Ally Powell
In high school, it was really weird to see our teachers outside of school, but could you imagine seeing your college professor at the gym? Well, that might possibly happen if you are into CrossFit, like Dr. McNall. Joshua McNall was born to Greg and Bonita McNall here in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, but grew up in Carbondale, Kansas. He grew up as a PK, or a “Pastor’s Kid,” and “came to know Jesus through the influence of his parents at a very young age.” Dr. McNall got his undergraduate degree here at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, then went to the Boston area and got his masters, and then he went across the Atlantic to get his PhD at Manchester in England.
During his time of schooling, he also met his wife, Brianna, who he married in 2006 after he received his masters degree. Brianna and Josh McNall have four children—two girls and two boys. Dr. McNall says Lucy, who is six years old, is like him in many ways. He says, “She is an oldest child (like myself), very into reading, and a bit of a perfectionist.” He says Penelope, or Penny, who is four years old, “is a bit more of an extrovert and people-person, which is probably a bit more like Brianna.” His two youngest are Ewan, who is in the terrible twos, and Teddy, who will be turning one in a few months. Dr. McNall said that Penny told him, “Teddy reminds me of you, [Dad], because you have the same hair.” He lovingly added, “I think she means I’m going bald.”
When Dr. McNall is not teaching at OKWU, he enjoys hanging out with his family or reading. However, one of his only “real hobbies” is the high intensity fitness program, CrossFit. He enjoys it because he gets to do it with two of his good buddies, but he also likes it for the physical challenge. Dr. McNall says, “I’ve always played sports, and this gives me a way to stay fit as I get a bit older.”
Dr. McNall also spends his free time writing a blog. The focus of his blog is “reflections on theology and culture.” Although he can talk about controversial subjects, that does not mean he does. Dr. McNall does not write to simply “add to the noise,” as he puts it, but rather writes “to give a different perspective on Christian faith than the one people might have from just growing up in the Bible belt.”
Dr. McNall has been teaching here at OKWU for about nine years and says, “They pay me to grade papers, but I teach for free.” He loves the students and loves what he does at this school. He states, “If I hadn’t pursued theology, it would have likely been another field like literature or history, since I enjoy both of those a lot. Either way, though, I think I would have been a professor of some kind.” Thanks for teaching for free, Dr. McNall!