STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 05/30/2012
Education = Transformation
We have a legacy of bringing people together for the common cause of making the Gospel plausible and compelling to skeptical minds.
At Gordon, we care not only about our own community but also about the wider witness of Christians in higher education. To the extent that the plausibility of the Gospel in New England depends on a single institution, Gordon College is uniquely positioned to facilitate the church’s embrace of the world of ideas and academe’s embrace of the world of faith.
As you may know, the March issue of Christianity Today explored the future of Christian higher education and featured an interview with me and the new president of Wheaton College, Philip Ryken. The interview made it clear that Christian colleges like Gordon and Wheaton are at the tip of the spear in engaging the incredible challenges emerging in the world. Year after year we send out thoughtful, faithful women and men to the places where faith and culture meet. No single institution can succeed in this daunting, important task.
At the same time, Gordon College stands distinct from its Christian-college peers. For a long time, we have exercised what I call “convening power.” By this I mean we have a legacy of bringing people together for the common cause of making the Gospel plausible and compelling to skeptical minds. For example, Gordon is the institutional home of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA), which provides a forum for those who speak truth to the world through artistic excellence.
Later this year we will host two important biennial gatherings of hundreds of scholars. In May, Christians in Political Science will convene on the Gordon campus for an intensive time of reflection on issues of power, justice and the political order. In October, the Conference on Faith and History will welcome historians from a variety of Christian traditions—and from outside the Christian tradition—for three days designed to encourage excellence in the study of history. We are glad for these opportunities to leaven scholarly discussions with the Gordon ethos.
We are also glad to be able to highlight the contributions of our people, who truly are at the heart of our mission. Consider our recently launched series of advertisements (including two in the March and April issues of Christianity Today). In these, we highlight the spiritual and intellectual transformations that can occur in students’ lives when faculty members take a personal interest. Many colleges tout their faculty-to-student ratios and their nurturing academic environments, but few can compete with Gordon’s excellent record of faculty-student mentoring relationships. I am proud to say that the tagline for these ads—Education is transformation. At Gordon, we take it personally—is much more than just a slogan. It’s our commitment.
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