I have been told by marketing friends that in the United States only Abraham Lincoln is better liked than Jesus. Given Lincoln’s wonderful heritage to this nation, the popularity of Father Abraham makes sense. Jesus is, of course, to most Americans the Son of God, Savior, and the central figure in their religious beliefs.
Yet Jesus was more than Redeemer, King, Savior, and Christ. Jesus was also the greatest teacher who ever lived. You might be able to build some kind of a university program on the ideas of Lincoln, but Western schools all begin with Jesus, the educator, as a foundational thinker. Oddly, many Americans forget his role as an educator, though his followers thought of themselves primarily as students (disciples) and called Jesus “teacher” (rabbi). All colleges and universities in the West used to be Christian and the foundations still exist, even if in rubble, at most schools. Jesus the educator, Jesus the sage, Jesus the thinker gave Christians ideas and an example that produced our aspirations.
An important leader in thinking about Christian higher education in the United States is President Robert Sloan of HBU. He began this academic year reflecting on Christian higher education. First, he assumed certain things about education in his introduction. Second, he rejected the idea that Christianity only adds “nicety” to university. Third, Dr Sloan showed that no Christian college exists merely as a cover to “get people saved.” Finally, Sloan turned to the role of Jesus, the educator. As provost I have tried to reflect on what my leader is saying, not because I have to do so, but because when I heard this talk it seemed unusually important. [click to continue…]
If you do not know Jesus, you will not go to Heaven when you die, you will go to Hell and that is a place most to be avoided. Imagine living in Newark, New Jersey without the charm while stuck in conversation with Vlad Putin without the wit. . . for eternity. Jesus came to save our souls, but His work is so mighty that He also brought His Kingdom to Earth now. Jesus has come, is coming, and will come again. His Kingdom was, is, and will be fully manifest.
These truths are not quite self-evident, but plainly taught in Sacred Scripture. Our salvation from damnation is to a Kingdom with a ruling King now. Of course, our main job is to work out this rule in our own lives, helping others when we can and ought. A job of the University is to aid the state, church, and family in working out how each student is to live in the present love of God.
Salvation to Something
Not every Christian college takes up this job. Some do not because they have reduced Christianity to party manners, but others make a more fundamental mistake. My boss, HBU’s President Robert Sloan, gave us a vision of what Christian education is. As provost, my job is help him make that real which is a joyful challenge. My first reflections dealt with the nature of the job and the second on avoiding mere niceness.
Here in the third reflection, we consider whether the Kingdom of Heaven discourages care for this present age. [click to continue…]
As the bill for school comes due, many of us ask: “Why pay for higher education?” The answer is found in Scripture and founded the university. Even if most schools have forgotten the foundations, there are a few educational leaders who remember.
Let’s Be Nice When We Can
The leader of real education recently spoke on starting the long road to graduation. My first take on his lecture also recommended listening to the entire talk: do. Part of what he says hinges on the double meaning of the word: nice.
Being called “nice” should be a good thing, even if now many use it as an insult: damning with niceness. My wife, the fairest flower in Christendom, got so sick of being called “nice” that she started being rude, at least for her personality, whenever people said she was “nice.”
But being nice is good. Nice people may finish last, but they finish last in races that nobody should be proud of winning. We should all be nice to each other, this is good manners, but being “nice” is not worth tens of thousands of dollars.
President Sloan believes many Christian colleges do not know why they exist and so miss the mark. [click to continue…]
Students return, professors are prepared, staff is ready: education continues. I love this time of year: fresh Moleskine for my notes, reading Homer and Thucydides for class, getting ready for HBU’s first home football game. . . ever.
But what is it that we returned to do? Higher education is in turmoil nationally about this very question, but last week I heard a great answer. Watch my University President Robert Sloan give higher education a vision, at least if you made the wrong choice and are not here to have seen it yourself, or (second best) read my thoughts on these aspirational words. Perhaps your school could watch the video and discuss the ideas in it.
My Personal Preface
If people perish without a vision, HBU will never perish with this President. [click to continue…]
When on the road doing my job, meeting best of friends and talking to great people, I must leave HBU. A problem? Not of the Cthulhu is rising variety, not even of the chosen for the Hunger Games bad day sort, but it is wearing in the “no rooms in Bree” sense. One feels guilty about complaining, but the sorrow, while needful, comes without compensation. [click to continue…]
Pope Francis is a Christian, but he is also a conservative. These truths are so obvious that the fact that they must be said says much about the degenerate nature of both American Christianity and American conservatism.
To be a Christian means that Caesar can never be Lord. Our first loyalty is always to King Jesus not to any political power. [click to continue…]