In Fall 2012 I start work at Houston Baptist University. My job description? Change the world.
Houston is the right place at the right time to do this work. Read John Mark Reynolds’ take on it. You may want to come to Houston too, and if you think that, take it seriously. It is a city that not only has great apologists, but also people who love literature and the arts. My fellow Hieropraxis contributor Andrew Lazo has already laid claim to the endeavor of starting the CS Lewis Society of Houston…he will not have any trouble getting that membership list filled!
In part 1 and part 2 of this piece, I talked about the first six of the Ten Pillars, the vision statement that guides Houston Baptist University. Here are the final four piece of the vision.
7. Bring Athens and Jerusalem together.
“A university is a cultural center and a place for invitation and engagement. Athens and Jerusalem can meet on a campus in the city of Houston.” Yes indeed!
Houston Baptist University is a place where the intellectual and cultural life, nourished and cultivated on campus, intersects with the life of the community. The campus is a space for engagement – and that is perfect for apologetics. St Paul preached on Mars Hill and quoted from the Greek literature of the day to help present the Gospel to the Athenians. Athens met Jerusalem, and the world was changed.
HBU has three museums: the Durham Bible Museum, the Museum of American Architecture and Domestic Arts, and the Museum of Southern History. The Morris Cultural Arts Center includes a recital hall and a theatre. HBU has made the space for engagement to happen.
8. Expand our commitment to the creative arts: visual, musical, and literary.
This is part of the vision of HBU:
“It has been said that the writer of songs influences a culture more than the politician exercising power. What is surely true is that our God is a creative God who brought a beautiful world into existence and filled it with people capable of appreciating beauty. Similarly, just as we believe human beings are made in God’s image, we believe He provided the ability to create artistically as a reflection of his creative glory. The Christian university, committed to the worship of the Creator God, and thus to both aesthetic appreciation and creation, must be involved in the arts.”
I am an academic and a Christian apologist… and by the grace and gift of God, also a poet. Could there be a better place for me than HBU? I think not.
9. Cultivate a strong global focus.
The Gospel is for all people, everywhere. One of the challenges of cultural apologetics is to find ways to share the good news of God in Christ, and remove obstacles to faith, in ways that make sense for people in their particular cultural contexts.
Study abroad and language learning are important parts of learning how to be a gracious, informed, productive citizen in the 21st century. I am excited to be part of an educational program that recognizes the necessity of both local community (in residential learning and community involvement) and global outreach.
10. Move to the next level as an institution.
And finally, I am excited about HBU because the university recognizes the importance of its role in our culture — and is stepping forward boldly to fill the need.
HBU has a brilliant vision that means educating with a ‘mere Christian’ vision to change the world for the cause of Christ:
“Christians of all stripes – evangelicals, other Protestants, and Catholics – must re-engage their historic commitments to the foundational importance of a university education that is marked by the distinctive convictions and values of historic Christianity. The church must again consider the university as part of its mission because the university is so closely tied to the future of the society.”
HBU is growing as an undergraduate university — moving steadily forward in increasing the size of incoming classes. It is also growing, very intentionally, as a graduate university, with new MA degrees such as the MA in Philosophy. More degrees are in development, including an MA in Apologetics.
The vision is clear:
“The foundation of all the efforts detailed here will be to produce graduates who have been challenged to think carefully and critically, to write and speak clearly and effectively, to demonstrate integrity in their daily lives, and to see their faith as being important both to their behavior and to their way of thinking.”
Great things are ahead… and I am astonished at the goodness of God that I get a chance to participate in them.
We are going to change the world.
And that is why I am going to Houston Baptist University.