Joy at Geneva, or: Oh, the Humanities!
Last night was one of the highlights of my 16 month tenure as chaplain of Geneva College. I got to participate in the Geneva Reading Series, an initiative of the brilliantly creative Dr. Dan Williams. GRS has become one of my favorite parts of being at Geneva. It’s a time when the campus community can come together to enjoy and celebrate God’s good gifts among us. Music, poetry, humorous stories, contemplative essays and other creative compositions by students and faculty remind us of the joy of being human. GRS is a time to allow our souls a deep, cleansing breath, to revel in being image bearers of the God who has built spectacular beauty into his creation, and especially into humanity.
GRS represents so much of why I love being at Geneva, why I love Christian higher education rooted in the humanities, and why it breaks my heart that the academic disciplines which give rise to such joyful gatherings and which spark such brilliant fire in the hearts of students - music, literature, writing, history, philosophy and theology – are increasingly considered expendable in the brutal but necessary battle to keep college as inexpensive as possible. Cutting deeply into such disciplines costs us all so much in the long run.
In our day, even secular institutions are lamenting the loss among their students of the cognitive and creative skills honed in humanities classes. Christians must weep as well, yet with a much more informed sadness. The loss of interest in the humanities and the subsequent dulling of the human experience arise from a loss of interest in humanity’s maker and master. Great thoughts, and the great deeds which follow, flourish best in an educational environment alive with love for the triune God and eager to interact in his name with the tectonic, soul-deep ideas which move and shape civilization. Christians must strive to keep such environments in existence. We must battle, not bow to, market trends which indicate a lack of student/parent interest in these most essential of matters. Rising generations must be conversant with and able to do spiritual battle against the philosophical strongholds of our time (2 Corinthians 10:4-5), to press with humble, heartfelt intellectual integrity and dexterity the claims of Christ into every sector of society.
In a previous entry I give a call to action along these lines to prospective college students and their parents. But for now, I offer humbly a few of my contributions to last night’s GRS. The other participants are far more deserving of this space. For instance, Dr. Matt Kickasola from the music department ended the night with a profound, soul-stirring reflection on the glory of God within the soundscapes of creation. But I have no access yet to the recording of the night’s presentations. So in the meantime, I hope that what follows will entertain and edify, and that you will prayerfully and personally support the work of Christian liberal arts-based education.
First, some fun with alliteration - then, some succinct, hopefully substantial thoughts on faith in the true and living God. Hope you enjoy!
_First, a qualification, and a quasi-apology: _
_Here’s that for which I’m sorry: You’ll notice this evening throughout my assorted assertions, an absolute addiction to alliteration, almost asinine, an affront to acceptability, against all agreeable affections, an apparition of astonishing arrogance and an apparently alarming aloofness, - although appertaining to aphorisms always apropos, and analogies analytically awesome, an ailment asphyxiating attained attention, assaulting auditory acuity among an assembly amply antagonized and afraid of accruing accretions of audio attacks, achieving an assent, accepting aforementioned assertions about an asinine auditory addiction, and attaining amid an audience angered and apprehensive, alas - an anathema against alliteration! _
Apology accepted? Amen and Alleluia!
_Alright, advancing anon, albeit, approaching another ancillary aspect of an act already altogether audacious and assuming, an attempt at acquiring acquiescence, at appeasing and assuaging an aggravated audience, alluded to already, an avid, ardent appeal addressed at all angles against an after-hours assault, admittedly appropriate, attacking an ambassador appointed, assigned, and absent any autonomous ambition, always answering appropriately and affectionately to authority, autocratic, aristocratic, and also auxiliary, - abased, affable, amicable, adorable, and ... alack! as it appears, almost abandoned … _
_Annoyed? Anyone? Aim all accumulated antagonism at ….that guy! (pointing to Dan Williams). _
And the more serious sayings:
_A definition of the Bible: God the Father authorized a biography of his Son and he commissioned the Holy Spirit to write it. _
_ The first and most fundamental fact in all of reality, is that God is._
_If every fact has God as its foundation, then every question finds in Him its ultimate answer. _
_The failure to kneel is the failure to know. _
Every moment of your life is a statement to God of what you think of Him.
_ The Christian life is the graced process of becoming in practice what we already are in position. _
_ Faith has to do not with what is unreasonable, but with what is unseen._
_ Faith is confident in God’s power and content in His providence._
_ Where unbelief balks, faith bows._
_ The Lord is good to us not despite our hardships, but through them._
_A casual disavowal of one’s sinfulness, and a constant dwelling upon one’s sinfulness: these are opposite sides of the devil’s delight. _
Be penitent over your sin, but do not be paralyzed by it. Go on for the glory of a Savior who is greater than your sin, and whose glory is particularly displayed in the rescue and restoration of souls.
_God is not the God of second chances; He is the God of new creations. _