STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 03/30/2007
President Carlberg's column appears in every STILLPOINT. Vist the President's Page for more of his thoughts.
Story R. Judson Carlberg, President
"To engage the world effectively as Christians . . . we need to be well grounded in truth."
As I walked to my office one morning in August, I saw huge machines reaching their arms out toward Wood Hall, grasping a windowsill here, a supporting truss there. The old dorm crumbled into a mass of rubble. It was time to begin building the Ken Olsen Science Center. But first, tons of dirt had to be hauled away. Why? A beautiful building has to have deep roots, a sure footing.
The Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Colossians, "And now just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the Truth you were taught and you will overflow with thankfulness" (2:6-7, New Living Translation).
Paul knew that developing deep roots involves becoming engaged in the world, not isolated from its challenges. God uses people and life experiences to help us grow in Him. That's what a Gordon College education is about.
Here is an environment that focuses upon growing roots, building foundations and fostering beautiful creations. For us a good starting place for engagement is the nearby city of Lynn, where many students will volunteer this year to serve children and youth through after-school programs, tutoring, soup kitchens or other important avenues of outreach. By engaging with people in places like Lynn, students are digging roots deeper in Christ, laying sure footings for life, developing a global vision and learning about other cultures and people.
The Gordon in Lynn program is one of many unique opportunities right here in New England to become rooted and built up in Christ. New England is a place of heritage with ties to both the religious vision of New England's first settlers and, indeed, America's first higher education institutions and the residential liberal arts tradition that continues to this day to flourish here. Today New England is a place of innovation where Gordon students have opportunities to partner with artistic organizations, academic institutions, professional societies and the renowned centers of science and technology in the Greater Boston area. Indeed, New England is our classroom, with a variety of cultures and a range of rural, urban and suburban contexts for learning and service.
At Gordon, students learn to become ambassadors of hope and reconciliation, to be engaged with the Church worldwide, to become agents of transformation in our world; Christians who promote biblical shalom, justice, grace, righteousness and human flourishing.
To engage the world effectively as Christians, however, we need to be well grounded in truth. At Gordon College we embrace "freedom within a framework of faith." Here scholarship seeks truth. We have the freedom to search for truth because we are rooted in the Truth. Here we have commitment to historical, biblical Christianity as a foundation for our learning and exploration. We do not advocate empty philosophies or high-sounding nonsense that fails the test of biblical authority. Instead we humbly seek to be rooted in Christ and grow in knowledge of His creation.
On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., I walked near Dupont Circle by the Indian Embassy, and looked up at a beautiful statue that depicted a wizened, bent, thin man, clothed in tattered garments, grasping a walking stick. The man was Mahatma Gandhi, the unelected but towering leader of the Indian nation in the 1930s and '40s. He died a martyr at the hands of an assassin in 1948, but not before he brought freedom through nonviolent and peaceful means to hundreds of millions of people living under English colonial rule in India.
I stopped at the statue and reflected. There at the base was this simple quote by Gandhi: "My life is my message." Gordon students, rooted in Christ, are learning the truth beyond the saying.