Celebrating The Seniors
Hearing His Voice
Christian Union the magazine :: spring 2018
Leading by Example
Adrienne Hein, Cornell â€™20, is passionately pursuing Christ on campus page 28
Special Feature Section: Nexus Student Conference Christian Union New York: Os Guinness Speaks at Forum The Spiritual Climate on Campus The latest from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton & Yale
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table of contents
volume xvii issue i
the maga zine :: spring 2018
in e ach issue Letter from the CEO / 3 Q and A / 10
Stewardship News / 35
spring 2 01 8 fe at ure sec t ion Nexus Student Conference / 6 Spoken Word Competition / 8 Q and A with Rev. David Bryant / 10
14 From the University to the City
This magazine is published by Christian Union, an independent Christian ministry.
cover photo: Adrienne Hein, Cornell ’20 Photo Credit: David Navadeh
36 The Spiritual Climate on Campus
updat e s fr om l e ading univer si t ie s “Living Biblically” (Brown) :: A Spiritual Visionary (Cornell) :: God at Work (Harvard) :: Worshipping on Locust Walk (Penn) :: Faith and the Intellectual Life (Yale) News-in-Brief from each university, and more
the maga zine
Penn / 26
A Ministry Home at Columbia / 16 Personal Best (Yale) / 18 chris tian union univer sities Harvard / 20 Brown / 22 Harvard Law / 24 Cornell / 28 Dartmouth / 29 Princeton / 31 chris tian union cities New York Christian Union / 33
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volume xvii issue i spring 2018 editor-in-chief
Lorri Bentch Tom Campisi
Zachary Lee Francine Barchett Kayla Bartsch Nathan Barlow Ethan Pardue
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©2017 Christian Union. All rights reserved. Christian Union: The Magazine is published quarterly. Its goal is to encourage and inform Christian alumni, students, parents, staff, faculty, and friends about Christian Union’s work—and about other spiritual activity—at eight of this country’s most influential colleges, and in key cities. Our desire is that this publication would inspire readers to seek God, to use their influence for the cause of Christ, to pray, and to give financially to Christian initiatives that are bringing about culture change for God’s glory. To request an advertising rate card, please e-mail Tom. Campisi@ChristianUnion.org. postmaster: Send address changes to: Christian Union, 19 Vandeventer Avenue, Princeton, NJ 08542
letter from the founder and ceo
A Polarizing Message
is the founder and CEO of Christian Union. He earned undergraduate and MBA degrees from Cornell, and launched Christian Union in 2002 in Princeton, New Jersey. matt bennett
Matthew W. Bennett
Many blessings to you in Christ,
with the advancing kingdom of God and choose to reject it, and in some ways know that it signals their ultimate spiritual death. It was said of the apostles and first-century Christians that they “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). This happened as a natural consequence of making known God’s expectation that everyone everywhere is to repent and come under the lordship of Jesus Christ (Acts 17:30). Stark differences emerge, however, when you contrast the first century church with the current church in the United States. Although thousands of churches and ministries exist in America, the spiritual impact appears to be declining, largely as a result of failing to make the Gospel message known everywhere. This message is to be presented not only safely behind church walls, but in larger society; and it must not be stripped of its hard edges, which make ultimate demands of every living soul. As the church rediscovers its role as a faithful proclaimer of the Gospel, it is only natural to expect that society will be impacted, bringing controversy, and more importantly, salvation, to many people.
Stark differences emerge when you contrast the first century church with the current church in the United States.
n English bishop once reflected: “Wherever St. Paul went, there was revival or a riot. Wherever I go, they serve tea.” An examination of Paul’s ministry in the book of Acts confirms this perspective as there are numerous examples of considerable tumult whenever he entered a new Mediterranean town in the first century. Sometimes he was stoned and dragged out of the city, as happened in Lystra; other times, many hearers believed the Gospel and received the Holy Spirit, ushering in a period of extended teaching and many conversions, as in Corinth. Given the significance and nature of the Gospel message, these polarized responses make perfect sense. Paul explains this spiritual phenomena in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” When the Gospel message goes forth, it polarizes a community because some recognize that indeed the kingdom of God has come, and therefore latch onto the message and to God as the answer to their deepest longings. Others are confronted
feature section :: spring 2018 Nexus Student Conference / 6 Spoken Word Competition / 8 Q and A with Rev. David Bryant / 10
The Christian Union Conference on Faith & Action
On February 23-25, Christian Union hosted the annual Nexus Student Conference at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The theme was “Turn the World Upside Down” (based on Acts 17:6).
2018 :: christianunion.org
Nexus: The Christian Union Conference on Faith and Action gathers together undergraduates from select universities for a weekend of inspiring speakers, thought-provoking discussions, in-depth seminars, and powerful worship.
5 photo: sarah beth turner
Chase Carlisle, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Dartmouth, speaks on evangelism during the Nexus Student Conference.
feature section | nexus student conference
Equipping Bold Christian Leaders Christian Union Hosts Nexus Student Conference by catherine elvy, staff writer
he early apostles gained a reputation for boldly proclaiming the Word of God and upsetting the status quo. Acts 17:6 reveals how the authorities in Thessalonica were concerned that “the men who turned the world upside down have come here also.” In February, nearly 300 students from leading universities attended Christian Union’s Nexus 2018 Student Conference,
At the opening session on Friday evening, Matt Bennett, Christian Union’s founder and CEO, spoke about the true meaning of significance. Bennett, Cornell ’88, MBA ’89, stated that a life of significance always upends the social, political, and economic order. The presence of Christ never fails to cause transformation, and such change will inevitably lead to conflict in a secular world, he said.
Photo: Sarah Beth Turner
Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, leads one of the Saturday seminars at Nexus.
where they were equipped and encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to shake the world, both on campus and upon entering the work force. Many of these gifted leaders will go on to positions of influence in various sectors of society. The theme of the conference, held at the Hyatt in New Brunswick, New Jersey, was Turn the World Upside Down. Nexus featured plenary and breakout sessions, passionate worship and prayer times, and the annual Spoken Word competition.
Bennett told the students that seeking significance means following the Lord’s calling in their lives – a task that requires sacrifice and obedience. “Significance is loving, following, and serving our Lord,” he said. On Saturday morning, David Bryant, founder of Concerts of Prayer International and Proclaim Hope!, said the current atmosphere on campus and in society reminded him of the unrest during the Vietnam War. A pastor at a church adjacent to
Kent State University, Bryant was on campus in 1970 when four students were killed. He recalled how Christian leaders united and prayed through the book of Ephesians in response to the crisis. “I can tell you that because of what happened in that prayer meeting, we experienced something of what we read about in Acts 17,” Bryant said. “We saw our world turned upside down. Over the ensuing years, we saw all the campus ministries come together like never before. We saw hundreds of students come to Christ over the next few years, and we knew it was a direct result of what went on in that prayer meeting.” At Saturday evening’s plenary session, Roland Warren (Princeton ’83, Penn MBA ’96) received the Christian Leader of the Year Award for his work as CEO and president of Care Net, a national pregnancy resource organization. Warren reminded students of Jesus’ servant-leader mandate (see story on page 56). Nancy Ortberg, a plenary speaker on Sunday morning, also challenged the students to reflect critically on their definition of leadership. The chief executive officer of Transforming the Bay with Christ argued that, contrary to cultural norms, Christian leaders should not merely pursue their own American Dream. Instead, they should channel their gifts toward magnifying Christ. As for the breakout sessions, the seminars and panels included topics such as Bold Christians in the Workplace, Apologetics for Everyday Life, Transforming Culture, Essential Discipleship, and Responding to the Transgender Movement. At the Evangelism and the Gifts of the Spirit seminar, David Taylor, an itinerant
Photo: Sarah Beth Turner
The panel discussion Bold Christians in the Workplace featured (left to right) Pam Chowayou, an experienced professional in corporate and non-profit sectors; Fernando Cabrera, a New York City councilman; and Carolyn Rossi Copeland, a producer of 50 off-Broadway plays.
minister, encouraged students to pray for discernment, connection opportunities, and even physical and emotional healings
as they reach out to non-Christians. “Signs and wonders tend to open up people to the Gospel,” he said.
and contributed to this article. francine barchett
Worship at Nexus: The Christian Union Conference on Faith and Action.
Photo: Sarah Beth Turner
Whether in the marketplace or on campus, believers should be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading when it comes to evangelism. “We are ordinary people doing ordinary things through an extraordinary God,” Taylor said. Qwynn Gross, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Princeton, led a breakout session entitled Powerful Prayer. “God sees and hears and intervenes in the affairs of man,” she said. As well, believers should enhance their prayer times by adding elements of worship, surrender, obedience, repentance, and fasting. The Lord is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him,” Gross said. “It all happens in the secret place.” Students from nine different universities attended Nexus: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. They were energized by gifted speakers, worshipping, praying, and enjoying fellowship and meals together. Student feedback attested to a powerful weekend. “Being with a large group of student believers from our campuses is so rare! It was incredibly encouraging to see the body of Christ worshipping together,” said one student. Another rejoiced at being better equipped to turn the world upside down. “I experienced the Holy Spirit for the very first time,” the student said. “It definitely strengthened my faith. Now I am inspired to share [the Good News] with others. Nexus gave me the tools to do that effectively.” | cu
feature section | nexus student conference
A Spirited Spoken Word Competition Students Cheer on Classmates at Nexus by kayla bartsch, yale
’20 Themes of the broken being restored, the marginalized being embraced, and the grieving being consoled permeated the performances, keeping true to the theme of the conference, “Turn the World Upside Down.” Each team competed before a panel of judges, which included Christian Union staff members. While the judges deliberated, a trio from Princeton provided a beautiful, a cappella rendition of “The Doxology.” The results were in. A duo from Harvard University was crowned first-place winners. Juniors Angie Torres and Eunice Mwabe presented a striking parallel of the rules for unclean women in the Old Testament with the feeling of entrapment by
sin, and the redemption which ensued through Christ’s blood, through His new law. A group of four students captured second place for Yale with a moving performance of renewed hope in God. Dressed in black, three souls crumbled in anguish, crying out to God; above and behind them all, dressed in white, the Lord affirmed His love for His children, and each rose again with strengthened faith. Columbia came in third place with a clever presentation of a cynical commentator slowly coming to Christ upon the observation of His redeeming power in the lives of two believers. Now a Nexus tradition, the 2018 Spoken Word performances raised the bar for performances in years to come. | cu
low hum of energy thrummed through the room in anticipation of the Spoken Word competition at the Nexus Conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey. In a darkened ballroom-turned concert hall at the Hyatt Regency, nearly 300 attendees from Penn, Princeton, Cornell, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford gathered to listen to and cheer on fellow students. Spoken Word participants weaved together memorized passages of Scripture into moving narrations. Some teams choreographed their performance as well, adding a visual dynamic to the words their souls were pouring forth.
Photo: Sarah Beth Turner
Harvard College juniors Angie Torres (left) and Eunice Mwabe won first place in the Spoken Word Competition.
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feature section | nexus student conference
Our Desperate Need for a Christ Awakening Q and A with David Bryant
sity, and it was full of students. I stood on the campus the day students were killed and that tragedy changed the whole course of the Vietnam War. Because we had so many students, we felt like we had no other choice but to start praying in a very serious way. Even though I had a seminary degree, I probably had never prayed more than 10 minutes at a time in my life. We committed ourselves—a group of professors, businessmen, and others—to six weeks of prayer, four days a week, two hours each night. In order to fill all that time, we prayed through the book of Ephesians, one chapter for each of the six weeks. We would read the chapter, get down on our knees with our Bibles opened in front of us, and pray out of what is written.
Everywhere I go, I sense the Holy Spirit is preparing for a Christ awakening. I define it this way: “It’s when God’s Spirit uses God’s Word to reintroduce God’s people to God’s Son for all He is.” Everything else flows out of that encounter.
avid Bryant, one of the foremost leaders of the modern prayer movement, recently celebrated 50 years in ministry. He has written numerous books related to prayer, awakening, and revival, and previously served as the president of Concerts of Prayer International and as chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee. Today, he provides leadership to Proclaim Hope!—a ministry that seeks to “foster and serve a nationwide Christ-awakening movement.” Proclaim Hope features a social media outreach (www.ChristNow. com) and a 10-hour video training series, The Christ Institutes (www.TheChristInstitutes.com). Christian Union: The Magazine interviewed Bryant following his appearance as a plenary speaker at the Nexus Student Conference in February. At Nexus, he challenged students to be possessed by a vision of the greatness, glory, and supremacy of Jesus Christ and to ignite Christ-awakening movements on their campuses.
christian union: As a young pastor, you were part of a Christian response to the fatal shooting of four Kent State students by National Guard troops in 1970. Can you tell us about that experience?
The first church I ever pastored was adjacent to Kent State Univer-
CU: How did those weeks of extended
prayer transform you? DB: It transformed my life in so many
ways. My prayer life was totally transformed because we were taking God’s Word and putting it in our hearts, out of our mouths, and up to the throne. I’ve never
been the same. I’ve always made God’s Word my main agenda in all the praying I’ve done since. The second major change for me was that I had a Christ awakening because the book of Ephesians is really one glorious portrait of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. By the time we finished praying through Ephesians over six weeks, I had met Jesus in a way I had never known because the Spirit of God made Him alive to me. My whole relationship with Christ was totally transformed, as well as my prayer life. CU: And what was the corporate effect
of praying together at Kent State? DB: We saw at least three major answers to prayer. One, there was greater unity. The campus ministries—Cru, InterVarsity, Navigators, Chi Alpha, and many others—came together in a way that we had never experienced before. Secondly, we had an explosion in evangelism. Over the next four years, we saw hundreds of students come to Christ. Finally, in our church, we put up a map of the world and began to put flags in places where our students were going after they graduated. We realized that God was sending our students across the country and across the world. We were having a worldwide impact, just like the book of Ephesians suggested we ought to have. We were surprised by God’s grace as He was using us to touch the ends of the earth.
CU: How can this type of awakening happen today, on our campuses and in our churches? DB: When people hear the word awak-
CU: You have been quoted as saying that
the modern church suffers from a “crisis of Christology” and that Jesus is treated more often “like a mascot than a monarch.” Please explain.
istic theism with Christ on the fringes.” His observation of the evangelical movement was that it is moralistic; we’re trying to be better people. It’s therapeutic; we’re trying to heal one another’s wounds, and problems, etc. And it’s deistic, in that we are dealing with God from a distance. In terms of Jesus, we keep Him on the fringes and bring Him in where we need Him. I often say that the reason for the crisis is the “gospel” we preach. People hear us saying, “Come to Christ for all that you
David Bryant leads students in prayer at Nexus.
DB: I define the crisis of Christology as
the dramatic shortfall in how we see Jesus for all that He is. This leads to a shortfall in how much we seek Jesus for all that He is; which leads to a shortfall in how much we speak of Jesus for all that He is. Our vision of Jesus is too small. Michael Horton, a respected theologian, wrote a book entitled Christless Christianity. He basically defined the evangelical church as “therapeutic moral-
need, and don’t worry about coming for any more. He’s there to meet your need.” We end up with a little Jesus right from the beginning when, in fact, the Bible says, “Come to Christ and lose your life for His sake, and put yourself at the center of God’s plan to make His Son Lord of heaven and earth. That’s where you’re going to find what real life is all about.”
ening, they usually think about revival. When they hear the word revival, they usually think about stories they’ve heard from things that happened in past generations. I’ve chosen to use a different term because I’m talking about something different. The phrase I use is “a Christ awakening.” Everywhere I go, I sense the Holy Spirit is preparing for a Christ awakening. I define it this way: “It’s when God’s Spirit uses God’s Word to reintroduce God’s people to God’s Son for all He is.” Everything else flows out of that encounter. Every time a campus ministry comes together, every time a church comes together, He is there in His fullness—but most of the time, we don’t see Him for whom He really is. We’re not aware of His supremacy in all things, the magnificence of Him—the one in whom Paul says are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. What we desperately need to do first of all is wake up to more of Christ, and [understand] more fully all that He is. This is the only way that all these wonderful things can happen, whether it’s social reform, evangelism of our campus, or mobilization for mission. It comes out of a fresh encounter with the fullness of Jesus. The supremacy of Christ is who He is today, ascended and sitting on the throne, alive, active, reigning. Ephesians 4 says He’s filling the whole universe with His reign right now. In Ephesians 5:14, Paul is speaking to Christians when he says, “Awake
you who are asleep, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” It sounds like, “Get out of bed.” A lot of Christians need to wake up, get out of bed, and move into a whole new life that’s focused on the glory and supremacy of Christ.
feature section | nexus student conference
CU: At Nexus, you quoted J. Edwin Orr
CU: Despite the challenges faced by the
and John Stott in regards to revival, or the lack thereof.
church, you still seem to be a messenger of hope. What are you hoping for?
DB: Dr. Orr, who earned three doctorates
DB: I don’t know where this is all headed,
in the study of spiritual awakenings and church history (one was from Oxford University), defined revival as an outpouring of Christ on His people. John Stott was probably the foremost evangelical leader in the worldwide church in the last half of the twentieth century. His final book was entitled Radical Discipleship. If we want to be radical in our discipleship, Stott wrote, then we have to start with a brand new vision of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. When that happens, then you have a Christ awakening, and a church or a campus movement full of radical Christians.
but I sense there is an explosion across this nation that will come from many directions, for which nobody can take credit. On May 3 of this year, we celebrated our National Day of Prayer. Christians were praying around one central theme of unity in the body of Christ. I was excited about that because we can really impact our nation with the Gospel if there is unity. The way we experience unity is through God answering the prayer of Jesus in John 17: “Father, I have put my glory in them so that they may be one as you and I are one.” In other words, as God’s people wake up to the glory of God’s Son, that has all
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the potential for drawing us together, despite all of our differences from every stream of the Church, to find a level of unity that is impossible to have on any human level. The more we see the revelation of the glory of Christ and share in that vision together, the better we will be able to join our hands, our lives, and our labors in order to advance His kingdom together. My great hope is that God is going to answer Jesus’s prayer in new, and fresh, and wonderful ways in this generation. There’s going to be a level of unity out of that, and a mobilization of the Church that will impact our campuses and our nation for the glory of Christ in a way that I believe—and many other leaders join me in believing— will be unprecedented in the history of the Church. I live for that every single day. | cu
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c o r d i a l ly i n v i t e y o u t o j o i n u s f o r
2018 Reunion Celebrations
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Reunions Annual Brunch
At the Christian Union Office
At Christian Union’s Robert L. Melrose Center for Christian Leadership
1166 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge 10:30 am – 1:00 pm
19 Vandeventer Avenue Princeton 10:30 am – 1:00 pm
To learn more, please email: Meghan.Foley@ChristianUnion.org
:: christian union
photo credit: david navadeh
from the university to the city
Christian Leadership Development By God’s grace, culture will be transformed as the lives of our future
leaders and the universities they attend are impacted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As students who are well-positioned to assume roles of influence learn to seek God,
grow in their faith, and develop a thoughtful, Christ-centered worldview, they will be
prepared to engage culture in a powerful way. This is at the heart of Christian Union’s
work at Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale. as these students graduate, christian union’s ministry to its alumni and
1800s. Pray that God will bring similar change to the U.S. as new networks of leaders emerge and engage today’s culture.
updat e page 33
change to England through William Wilberforce and the Clapham Circle in the early
their impact will be multiplied. This model was used by the Lord to bring sweeping
networks of young professionals in key cultural centers, starting in New York City,
chris tian spring
their peers—Christian Union Cities—will help them take the next step. By developing
15 Redal Ram ’17 and Jeff Gao ’18 of Christian Union at Dartmouth
christian union universities
A Ministry Home at Columbia Christian Union Is Thankful for God’s Provision by catherine elvy, staff writer
destination. They envision the brownstone, just steps from campus, to feature some of the aesthetics and ambiance of a coffeehouse and serve as a wonderful place to host Bible courses, prayer meetings, outreach dinners, leadership coaching, and faculty offices. “It’s super exciting,” said Lane Young, Christian Union’s ministry director at Columbia. “There is a lot of opportunity for us to do ministry even more effectively.” In February, Christian Union marked a major milestone when the organization purchased a building at 529 West 113th Street, fulfilling a significant step in its long-held vision of operating a ministry center near Columbia’s educational and research hub in Upper Manhattan. Properties near Columbia are difficult to secure, as the university owns much of the surrounding neighborhood. Given the competitive nature of Manhattan’s real estate market, Christian Union executives readily moved to purchase the extraordinary acquisition, just a block from Columbia University’s Butler Library. Christian Union Founder and CEO Matt Bennett called the strategically located property a powerful game-changer for the spread of the Gospel on campus. The organization plans to hold a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony during the autumn semester. “This center will accelerate the cause of Christ at Columbia for generations to come. Many, many lives will be changed,” said Bennett, Cornell ’88, MBA ’89. Given the premium on meeting space at Columbia, Bennett expressed profound gratitude to God and donors for the property, which he termed an “enormous provision.” Christian Union faculty members outside the location of the new ministry center in Christian Union plans to begin renManhattan. ovations on the building in June. The
Christian Union’s ministry team at Columbia University has big dreams for its recently acquired ministry center. Since the organization closed on a property near Columbia University, faculty members have been turning their attention to the steps involved with transforming the building into a warm, inviting
“This ministry center will accelerate the cause of Christ at Columbia for generations to come. Many, many lives will be changed.” —Matt Bennett, founder and CEO of Christian Union
2018 :: christianunion.org
al fundraising, including naming rights for the center and its main rooms. Christian Union also operates ministry centers near Brown, Cornell, Princeton, and Yale universities. Bennett hailed the new center in Manhattan for providing a permanent Christian resource and physical legacy. “This is a permanent symbol to a highly secular community that God is alive and working in the heart of New York City,” he said. | cu
structure is divided into three units across five floors, plus a basement. In early August, Christian Union plans to move its local offices into the unit comprising the basement plus first floor. The ministry’s initial renovations will focus on giving the center an open, spacious feel. The unit features hardwood floors, high ceilings, exposed brick, and abundant sunlight. As for the timetable, Young said he hopes for faculty to begin moving into the revamped facility around August 1 and for the ministry hub to be fully operational before the group’s retreat prior to the fall semester. One of the biggest advantages to the long-awaited facility is its proximity to campus. More specifically, the brownstone is situated on a street between two fraternity houses, and most undergraduates view that block of West 113th Street as an extension of campus. Since expanding into Columbia University in 2011, ministry fellows have dealt with the space crunch within the densely populated area by opening their homes to students for meetings. At times, 100-plus students have stopped by the ministry director’s apartment to take part in individual outreach events. After years of leasing just 800 square feet of office space on 110th Street, Columbia ministry fellows are
relieved to have roomier facilities to accommodate their growing contingent of 200-plus students. Young is eager to greet incoming freshmen in the fall from within Columbia’s vibrant neighborhood. “It will be incredible,” he said. The former U.S. Army officer also harbors dreams of Columbia students “powerfully transforming this great university and our nation.” As well, Bennett expressed appreciation for the 220-plus ministry partners who pulled together quickly during fall 2017 to donate $503,000 to enable the ministry to move forward with the purchase. Located in the historic Morningside Heights neighborhood, the 6,810-square-foot building was constructed in 1915 and includes a patio garden. For now, Christian Union plans to rent the remaining two units within the multi-family, walk-up building to offset the mortgage. Eventually, Christian Union plans to utilize the entire unit after addition-
christian union universities
Personal Best Kao ’18 Reflects on Stellar Swimming Season, Spiritual Growth
by catherine elvy, staff writer
was one of the fastest teams in Yale’s history,” said Kao. As a student athlete, Derek Kao readily Also during an Ivy League Championship 100has embraced the importance of teamyard breaststroke event, Kao and Tim Dorje Wu ’21 work and brotherhood, priorities the Yale both achieved major milestones when they became College senior hopes to take into the medical field. the first Bulldog swimmers to complete such a race As a member of the men’s swimming team, the in less than 54 seconds. California native was proud to make a splash for When he is not in the pool, Kao is helping to the Bulldogs at meets across the region, including fulfill his role as a member of Christian Union’s the 2018 Ivy League Championships. Likewise, Kao student executive team. “[Chrisalso sports a growing passion for tian Union] has been one of my reflecting his faith, both in and main sources of support at Yale,” out of the pool. Kao said. “Over time, they have “Yale swimming has taught become really great brothers, the me what it means to be part of people I turn to for support and a greater cause and purpose,” to hang out with. I’ve learned so said Kao. much from them, as well.” Notably, the pre-med stuKao is serving this year as the dent has flourished spiritually ministry’s campus kindness disince arriving at Yale, especially rector, a job that has involved via the mentorship he has rethe distribution to the greater ceived from Christian Union’s student body of treats, hot ministry. drinks, roses for Valentine’s Day, Though there were some and thank-you cards for Thankstrials after arriving on campus, Derek Kao ’18 is a pre-med student, giving. Kao also participates in Kao said he has “grown in per- member of the Yale swim team, and a Unorthojocks, Yale’s only athspective in defining what it leader with Christian Union at Yale. letic a cappella group. means to be a Christian.” Remarkably, Christian Union As such, the student leader played a pivotal role in Kao’s decision to attend Yale. allows the currents of his faith to flow openly, even As a star high school athlete who was recruited to teammates. “I’ve had the opportunity to share by Yale, Kao selected the university after an encounmy faith and have some good talks,” said Kao. “Athter with a swimmer who also was part of Christian letes ask tough questions.” Union’s ministry. “I felt that if he was able to hold Kao is especially proud to be part of the Class onto faith while on the team, that would be someof 2018 contingent of the Yale men’s swimming and thing I could do,” said Kao of the campus visit during diving team. his senior year. Yale finished third at the Ivy League ChampiUpon his arrival in New Haven, Kao immedionships. As well, the men set school records in 11 ately dove into a freshman Bible course via Christian of the 21 events and posted numerous personal bests. Union. Since then, Ministry Director Clay Cromer Among them, the Bulldogs posted strong perforhas played a significant role in mentoring Kao on mances in the 200-yard breaststroke, including Kao, how to navigate collegiate culture and the consumwho finished tenth at 1:57.85 for a major personal ing nature of athletics. best. As well, Kao expressed appreciation for Cromer’s “Our team broke so many records for the season. It
Derek Kao ’18 posted a personal best in the 200-yard breaststroke this season.
2018 :: christianunion.org
including a father who is a dentist and an uncle who is an ear, nose, and throat surgeon. “I have seen the way they help other people,” said Kao of his family in Southern California. He especially was touched as he watched his uncle offer to pray for patients. Also during his years at Yale, Kao has been involved with the Yale chapter of Volunteers Around the World. During the summer before his junior year, Kao participated in an affiliated medical outreach to Peru where he helped pack supplies and take patient histories in remote mountainous communities. The experience made quite an impact. He plans to revisit Peru this summer via Kingdom Pioneer Missions. The effort also is a precursor to the types of medical missionary trips he plans to incorporate into his medical career. Just as he is committed to serving as a team player in the pool, Kao looks forward to being part of the team centered on the Great Commission. “Ultimately, success comes as a result of collective effort and not solely any one person’s work,” said Kao. | cu
insights on how to reflect Christ’s heart to his teammates and his insights during a decision about whether to share off-campus housing with senior teammates. “Having Clay as a mentor helped me understand how to treat others as God wants me to treat them,” he said. In turn, Cromer credited Kao for his vibrant, steadfast faith. “He’s well-grounded and connected to Christ, the True Vine,” said Cromer. “People open up to him, whether they are peers in his Bible course, younger students in the ministry, or fellow athletes on the Yale swim team.” As he approaches gradation, Kao said he hopes to funnel some of his passion for swimming into coaching opportunities, including one this summer with a children’s league in Los Angeles County. “Swimming has been a huge part of my life,” he said. During the fall, Kao will begin studies at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to establish the foundation for a career as a surgeon. The molecular biophysics and biochemistry major hails from a family of faith-filled medical professionals,
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Accusations and Probation HCFA Punished for Adhering to Christian Standards by tom campisi, managing editor
In the spring semester, Harvard College Faith and Action was placed on administrative probation for one year by the university in response to the organization’s commitment to biblical sexual orthodoxy and its affiliation with Christian Union. In a statement sent to the Harvard Crimson, college spokesman Aaron M. Goldman said Harvard
Seniors Molly Richmond and Scott Ely served as co-presidents of Harvard College Faith and Action during the past academic year.
College Faith and Action (HCFA) “conducted itself in a manner grossly inconsistent with the expectations clearly outlined in the Student Organization Resource and Policy Guide.” Seniors Scott Ely and Molly Richmond, the co-presidents of HCFA, said the Office of Student Life cited the organization’s relationship with Christian Union and its leadership standards as reasons for the probation. HCFA is supported and resourced by Christian Union, a common practice among campus ministries across the nation. The Office of Student Life accused HCFA of not being an autonomous campus organization. The Office of Student Life also accused HCFA of discrimination, taking issue with the way it handled leadership qualifications. In the fall semester, the organization asked a student to step down from
a leadership position because of an irreconcilable theological disagreement pertaining to HCFA’s character standards. “We reject any notion that we discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in our [ministry],” said Ely and Richmond in The Crimson. The probation status of HCFA means no loss of privileges from Harvard College itself in the form of room booking and student outreach. However, the student government voted to bar the organization from receiving funding. Another factor that may have influenced the probation was a student protest around a speaker at HCFA’s “Doxa” leadership lecture series. On February 16, Jackie Hill-Perry, who describes herself as someone who was “saved from a homosexual lifestyle,” spoke at Doxa. LGBTQ students protested at the event and a firestorm ensued as the Harvard Crimson editorial board and some op-ed writers accused HCFA of fostering “hate speech” on campus. Despite the false accusations and difficult circumstance, Don Weiss, Christian Union’s ministry director at Harvard, was proud of the way Ely and Richmond displayed Christian poise and grace as co-leaders of HCFA. “In an extremely sensitive and seemingly impossible situation, Molly and Scott exercised a quiet and confident leadership that emerged from their deep faith and prayerful resolve to honor Christ,” he said. Weiss also refuted the Office of Student Life’s assertion that HCFA was not autonomous. “This charge is truly unfounded. Student leaders and Christian Union staff have satisfied and even surpassed the expectation of organizational autonomy communicated by Harvard’s Office of Student Life,” he said. “Moreover, this charge attacks a deeply valued and effective aspect of Christian Union’s ministry philosophy: student ownership. It is precisely because HCFA students have shouldered the weighty responsibility for the group’s vision and operation that so many have developed into wise and courageous leaders.” | cu
‘Winsome, but firm, voices are needed from across the political and religious spectrums’ statement from scott ely
’18 and molly richmond ’18
As the former co-presidents of Harvard College Faith and Action, the ministry resourced by Christian Union on Harvard’s campus, we write first to thank you for all of your prayers over the years and especially in this most recent season of tension on Harvard’s campus. Throughout the past year, we have been amazed by God’s faithfulness, touched by the extraordinary students who take part in our ministry, and challenged to seek out what faithful, Gospel-centered ministry looks like at a pluralistic university. In our roles, we saw our community embroiled in several controversies: about theology and sexuality, about what counts as a disputable matter, and about the place and role of Christians on an elite college campus. These conversations were often very difficult and deeply personal and emotional. We held what unintentionally became a controversial large group meeting; the University responded to that event and our leadership standards by creating a new category of “administrative probation.” Even in this confusing time, we sought to reflect the Gospel of Jesus Christ as best as we could. Our primary goal, in the past few months and even now, is that Christ and the Gospel would increasingly be exalted on Harvard’s campus. As we have transitioned out of our leadership roles, we want to share a little more about our experience. We are concerned about the place and future of religious groups at elite universities. Over the past decade, many of you have seen similar cases sweep the nation, with many organizations punished for holding to orthodox Christian beliefs. Neither of us expected that conversation to hit so close to home. This experience exposed us to the pressing fact that university administrations can indeed have agendas to impose upon student life, and these agendas often limit freedom of speech, thought, and association. In our experience, the responses of these administrations to questions of religious life on campus are often fraught with significant inconsistency and lack of clarity. Christians
Many people have asked us what we learned in this process. What tops both of our lists is an
think about how we, as Christians, can thoughtfully and graciously hold institutions accountable to procedures and principles they profess to hold dear. Above all, let us rejoice that Christ is Lord, that He loves students, professors, and administrators so abundantly more than we ever could, and He desires that all might know Him.
continue to hold our community and other campus ministries in your prayers. We ask you also to
abiding sense of God’s faithfulness and a trust that He works all things for His glory. We ask you to
winsome, but firm, voices are needed from across the political and religious spectrums.
are called to be peacemakers, and also called to be prophetic voices. This is a cultural moment when
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Celebrating Seniors Retreat Has Special Meaning for Christian Union at Brown by tom campisi, managing editor
Christian Union at Brown hosted a historic and joyous senior retreat this spring. Ministry fellows gathered on Cape Cod with the 12 students who comprise the first graduating class since the organization was launched four years ago. “It was a really great time to celebrate all they have done here at Brown in the last four years,” said Matt Woodard, Christian Union’s ministry director at Brown. “These 12 students were instrumental in getting this ministry started. It was great to see how God is working in their lives, to hear their stories, and reflect together.” Justin Doyle, a Christian Union ministry fellow, recalled the humble beginnings of the first freshman outreach campaign that subsequently evolved “into a little community of students who wanted to follow
22 Christian Union at Brown’s senior class retreat in April.
Jesus and make Him known on campus.” He also praised God’s providence in establishing a leadership ministry at Brown University: “God faithfully brought students to us; raised up leaders; guided us through the bumps and bruises of planting a ministry; and faithfully brought us to where we are today.” Doyle described the dozen seniors as having “grit, vision, steadfastness, and, above all, a love for Jesus and those whom God called them to serve during their time at Brown.” One of the key leaders is Gianna Uson, a computer science major who will intern in Washington, D.C. this summer in the Civic Digital Fellowship program. Uson appreciated how Christian Union was part of the fabric of her college experience. “My favorite memories of Christian Union at
Brown were found in the mundane—from going to the Jud (Christian Union’s Judson Center) and having life-giving conversations with people, doing homework, studying, eating, laughing, praying together, and having spontaneous worship nights, to seeing the ministry fellows and their children, and the insanely fun retreats.” Senior Kylen Soriano, another key leader, appreciated the long, but rewarding, days and nights of several freshman campaigns. “It’s easily the busiest time of the year for Christian Union, and so many of us operated on very
has also fostered a community that has cared for me and loved me throughout my time at Brown, giving me brothers and sisters in Christ who pray for me and encourage me to seek God above all.” Soriano, who will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in biology (with a track in physiology and biotechnology), is confident that he will carry the knowledge and fervor of seeking God at Brown into his future. He recently accepted a oneyear job offer to work as a clinical research fellow at Bronx Lebanon Hospital in New York. Soriano will work closely with the chairman of orthopedic surgery.
“Christian Union helped prepare me for what is next by giving me opportunities to receive mentorship and discipleship and equipping me to offer the same to others. Christian Union has also fostered a community that has cared for me and loved me throughout my time at Brown, giving me brothers and sisters in Christ who pray for me and encourage me to seek God above all.” —Gianna Uson ’18
2018 :: christianunion.org
“Christian Union has provided me with a family and a community of believers that I know will always be there to pray for me and love me,” he said. “I’ve developed so many lasting connections that will really sustain me as I move into the workforce.” “Through Christian Union, I learned to view my immediate surroundings as my mission field. I am much more prepared to go to New York next year than I was coming into Brown.” Developing Christian leaders like Soriano to transform culture is the mission of Christian Union. And Doyle is thankful for what God has been up to at Brown. “In our four years on campus, we’ve witnessed hundreds of students pursuing Jesus and seeking to make Him known,” Doyle said. “Watching as our first class of students graduates and sets out to change the world for Christ—that’s great stuff.” | cu
little sleep trying to love as many students as possible,” he said. “We were making pancakes and waffles, carrying Chipotle to people, and trying to remember as many names as possible. It was such a blast to see all of us come together for a common goal and sacrifice so much for [incoming freshmen].” In addition to Soriano and Uson, the Christian Union senior class includes: Joel Fortune, Ayisha Jackson, Jackie Cornejo, Isaac Whitney, Jackie Vargas, Meagan Peters, Yokabed Ashenafi, Bekah Lee, Joyce Elias, and Douglas Villalta. Both Soriano and Uson are thankful for the leadership training and community provided by Christian Union. “Christian Union helped prepare me for what is next by giving me opportunities to receive mentorship and discipleship and equipping me to offer the same to others,” Uson said. “Christian Union
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Preparing for Public Service Beck and Curtis Are Interns in Washington, D.C.
by catherine elvy, staff writer
A pair of Harvard Law School students tem the ministry provided as she adjusted to New are widening their professional horizons England and related stressful and trying times away and skill sets while exploring careers from family and close Christian friends. within the public sector. Likewise, Curtis paused to Kaitlyn Beck ’19 and highlight the remarkable numKelsey Curtis ’18 are spendber of sincere, inspirational ing the spring semester in believers she has encountered Washington, D.C., where within the Harvard commuthey are completing internnity, including participants in ships with the U.S. DepartChristian Union’s ministry. ment of Justice. The pair view “[Faith] is a very important such experiences as foundapart of their lives,” said Curtis, tional to careers that will inwho majored in English, Spanvolve government service. ish, and philosophy at the Beck and Curtis, who are University of Alabama. participants in Christian Curtis and Beck each exUnion’s ministry to Harvard pressed gratitude to Christian law students, aspire to use Union for providing abundant their intellectual talents to occasions for rich discussions reflect their faith in profeswith student believers. sional spheres. “We go deep into the Through Harvard Law Scriptures,” said Beck, who School’s Semester in Wash- Harvard Law School students Kelsey Curtis majored in English, Latin, and ington, D.C. program, ’18 and Kaitlyn Beck ’19 (at right) are classical culture at the Universpending the spring semester in Washington, advanced students receive sity of Georgia. assignments as legal interns D.C., via an internship program with the U.S. After arriving in CamDepartment of Justice. in federal offices, while also bridge, Christian Union’s mintaking a government lawyeristry helped Beck to connect ing class. Interns train in offices where lawyers conwith peers with the same group of priorities. The duct research and provide legal advice and assistance organization supplied a “really welcoming and exon policy, legislative, or regulatory matters. citing bunch of people,” she said. “I’ve always wanted God’s plan for me to be most Ministry Director Michael Wilkinson has deimportant,” said Curtis, a third-year law student. lighted in watching “both of these brilliant women “Whatever job I do, I want to do it for God and grow in the faith by striving to remain in active with an attitude that would be pleasing to Him.” Christian community during their busy schedules Beck, a second-year law student, echoed those at HLS.” comments. “My hope is not that I preach Christ, Christian Union provided robust training in the but that I live for Him,” the Georgia native said. “I meaningful application of Scripture plus prayer for would love to honor Him in what I do.” major life decisions, including career direction. Such Both women expressed deep appreciation for mentoring has dovetailed nicely with the myriad Christian Union’s ministry at Harvard Law School. opportunities Harvard offers to aspiring legal scholCurtis, an Alabama native, praised the support sysars and practitioners, including the law school’s
ment have allowed her to witness various attorney styles and personalities. Eventually, Beck desires to return to Georgia, where she envisions herself pouring back into her community.
Beck and Curtis, who are participants in Christian Union’s ministry to Harvard Law students, aspire to use their intellectual talents to reflect their faith in professional spheres.
2018 :: christianunion.org
Beck and Curtis spotlighted the role and importance of Christians in the legal profession, especially within influential government positions. “One of the things Christians bring is a sense of integrity,” said Beck. Curtis agreed. “We need strong, discerning Christians who care about people,” she said. Wilkinson, also a lawyer, is looking forward to what is in store for the women. “I know they will serve their future colleagues by continuing to display and call others to the wisdom of God’s ways and a joyful allegiance to Christ,” he said. | cu
Semester in Washington program. With the internships, Beck and Curtis “continue a trend among our students to bring godly character, gifted intelligence, and excellent education to bear on the proper administration of justice,” Wilkinson said. In the spring semester, Curtis is interning in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs with a team that focuses upon Asia, Pacific regions, Africa, and the Middle East. In addition to amassing insights into the practical inner workings of government, Curtis noted she has absorbed methods for managing complex projects. “I’m really interested in international relations,” she said. After law school, Curtis has lined up a two-year clerkship for a federal judge in Texas. Among her extensive credentials, Curtis served as a summer associate in Sidley Austin LLP’s London law office during summer 2017. Also, at the encouragement of Christian Union, Curtis participated in Alliance Defending Freedom’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship during summer 2016. As for Beck, the multi-talented member of Harvard’s Class of 2019 interned in the Kaitlyn Beck ’19 U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division during the accelerated winter semester, before transitioning to the criminal section for the spring semester. During summer 2017, Beck interned for Justice Nels Peterson, Harvard Law ’04, of the Supreme Court of Georgia. Of Beck’s time inside the Beltway, the aspiring lawyer said her internships with the Justice Depart-
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To the Beat of a Different Drum Dong ’20 Is a Leader in Breakdancing Community by catherine elvy, staff writer
A University of Pennsylvania student is using his footwork and power moves as a platform to reflect his faith. Mark Dong ’20 serves as president of Penn’s Freaks of the Beat, a gig that allows the suburban-Philadelphia native to spearhead the university’s breakdancing team as it travels across the Northeast to competitions and hosts an annual tournament on campus. The fruit of such leadership efforts was
Mark Dong ’20, a regular attendee of a Christian Union Bible Course, is the president of the Freaks of the Beat breakdancing club at the University of Pennsylvania.
especially sweet in November when Freaks of the Beat spun and maneuvered their way into the finals during the Harvard Breakers’ competitive Battle for Boston event. More importantly, while directing Penn’s breakdancing club and participating in Penn’s hip-hop and contemporary dance group, Strictly Funk, Dong strives to serve as a beacon of Christian light. “I’m really open about my faith,” said Dong, who is active in Christian Union’s ministry at Penn. The dance sensation credited his involvement with Christian Union for strengthening his leadership skills and his bold commitment to a Christ-cen-
tered lifestyle amid Penn’s dance community. The organization’s ministry fellows readily mentor and disciple students like Dong. “I’m so inspired by them,” he said. With support from Penn’s vibrant faith community, Dong functions as a witness of the Gospel during his engagement with Freaks of the Beat and Strictly Funk. Dong regularly asks if he can pray before meals and makes it a point to abstain from alcohol during social outings. Not surprisingly, Tucker Else, Christian Union’s ministry director at Penn, called Dong a natural leader. “Others gravitate toward him,” said Else. “His gentle spirit has made him a wonderful asset to the Penn community.” “Mark glorifies Christ in his academics, his relationships, and his dancing.” The Berwyn, Pennsylvania native’s interest in breakdancing dates back to the sixth grade when an older cousin learned the dance style. Dong launched award-winning clubs in middle school and at Conestoga High School. He served as president of the Stoga Breakers for three years, and he took over as president of Penn’s celebrated club at the end of his freshman year. As for the attraction to breakdancing, Dong points to camaraderie. “The biggest thing in breakdancing is just community,” Dong said. “I see it as a hobby. I’m going to keep dancing and competing.” At a more practical level, the politics, philosophy, and economics major also notes he receives handson lessons in logistical and organizational skills as he presides over Freaks of the Beat and serves as financial chair for Strictly Funk. As president of Freaks of the Beat, Dong was responsible for overseeing the group’s Rhythmic Damage XII event in November at Houston Hall. About 250 people attended the competition, where 35 teams vied for the top prize of $1,500. Dong’s involvement with Penn’s breakdancing troupe also provides an opportunity for the veteran performer to advance his admiration for the tech-
ships I make here,” he said. “I definitely know I’m here for a reason.” Dong, who received an early acceptance into Penn, began attending Grace Covenant during his senior year of high school. Dong visited campus frequently to spend time with his brother, Matthew
Dong ’17, also an alumnus of Freaks of the Beat and Christian Union. After graduation, the Eagle Scout envisions himself working in government, with an emphasis upon public policy. During summer 2017, Dong interned at Teva Pharmaceuticals. “I want to do my part in making a social impact,” he said. | cu
The dance sensation credited his involvement with Christian Union for strengthening his leadership skills and his bold commitment to a Christ-centered lifestyle amid Penn’s dance community.
niques, choreography, and artistry involved with breakdancing, a dance form that dates back to the 1970s. “It just amazes me what the body can do,” Dong said. “It’s straight up, really fun.” When the B-boy is not effortlessly flipping and twisting on the dance floor, he is active in the faith community at Penn. Dong regularly attends Christian Union’s Leadership Lecture Series and participates in a Christian Union Bible Course; he also previously served as an assistant Bible course leader. Dong serves as a designated helper with Grace Covenant Church, a congregation in Philadelphia’s University City. At Grace Covenant, Dong is involved with Overflow, the church’s dance troupe. “We see it as a ministry,” Dong said. “We try to emphasize that you can worship through your body.” Additionally, Dong leads prayer meetings on Saturday evenings in Houston Hall for about a dozen members of Penn’s class of 2020 who attend Grace Covenant Church. As well, he recently colaunched a weekly prayer gathering in his dorm to intercede for revival at Penn. He senses a distinct commission to serve Penn believers. “That’s what God has called me to, the relation-
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The Climb Hein ’20 Is Persistent in Pursuing God by tom campisi, managing editor
had just been a lousy day and I didn’t want to talk to the Lord about it,” Hein said. “But by His grace, revealed in persistent friends, I would go. And then, especially on those reluctant nights, I became ever so aware again of my need for Him, but also my delight in Him…He gives peace! He loves us! He knows that a mere 45 minutes in His presence will renew my mind, give me the strength to complete all that He is calling me to do, and enable me to love anyone at all (namely, Him).” In addition to Hein, students from Christian Union at Cornell who consistently attended the Cornell House of Prayer included: co-president John Nystrom ’18, Kaitlyn Blake ’21, Kimberly St. Fleur ’21, Anderson Chang ’19, and Michaela Brown ’18. “It was a beautiful thing to have students from all different ministries commit to come and pray each night for 40 days,” Jussely said. “What a beautiful reminder of both the diversity and the unity of the Church.” “It was incredible to spend the 40 days of Lent alongside my brothers and sisters in preparation of
Adrienne Hein is a leader with the Seeking God Team for Christian Union at Cornell. During the 40 days of Lent, Hein ’20 led by example. The Hotel Administration and French major joined Christians from various campus ministries at 10 p.m. for 45 minutes of prayer each evening. Hein made the uphill trek from her dorm to the Cornell House of Prayer to intercede on behalf of the campus community with approximately 20-30 other students. The Cornell House of Prayer is a place near campus where Christians gather “to glorify God and establish His Presence at Cornell University through intercession and worship.” Climbing the “Cornell Slope” every night was quite a mountaintop experience that changed Hein’s outlook on prayer. “She kept going. And the Lord met her there every time,” said Carrie Jussely, a Christian Union ministry fellow at Cornell. “There were nights when I thought I just couldn’t do it. I had too much work, not enough sleep, or it
28 Adrienne Hein ’20 is a Hotel Administration and French major at Cornell.
the greatest day of the year, Easter,” said Hein. Praying over 40 nights allowed the sophomore to understand one of her favorite verses in a practical way. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” “We sought first the King, who He is, what He desires,” recalled Hein. “We did not seek community first, nor His gifts, nor His peace…. We just wanted to be in His presence. But get this; He added all those things.” During the academic year, Christian Union’s Seeking God Team hosted daily prayer times for one hour each weekday, and other seasons of fasting and intercession. Hein recalled a memorable event when the ministry focused on a single attribute of God for the evening (faithfulness), and spent the night reading Scripture, sharing testimonies, praying, and worshiping. In addition to being a key member of the Seeking God Team, Hein also leads a freshman Bible
course for Christian Union and is part of a sophomore Bible course. As the spring semester came to a close, Hein and the Seeking God Team were already looking ahead to the fall and possibly offering more opportunities for students in the leadership develop ministry to seek the Lord together. “We’re hoping to start nightly prayer meetings next semester at the Christian Union’s Mott Center, which is an incredible home for students right off campus. How wild would it be if freshmen came to campus, and they knew where to find brothers and sisters who love the Lord every night? Count me in.” As she looks back on the past year at Cornell and her involvement with Christian Union, Hein is thankful for the way she has grown in grace. “I’ve seen the beauty in stopping, remembering He is worthy of so much more than a mere hour of my day,” Hein said. “God has radically grown the way I see and value prayer this past year, and I praise Him. It is all for His glory and my good.” | cu
Slowing Down, Hearing His Voice Conference Is Refreshing for Dartmouth Students
themes of justification by faith and peace with God. The activity proved critical for time-crunched undergraduates. “They are so used to being busy, running from one thing to the next, that it’s hard to be still and listen to God, not just talk to Him,” said Carlisle. “This practice teaches them also how to feast on the Word and not just treat it like a fast-food stop.” Indeed, Robert Moore ’20 described the exercise as profound. “I had the opportunity to meditate and seriously take in a passage of Scripture that I had always read on a very cursory level,” said Moore, a pre-med student from Georgia. “It proved to be one of the
The winter conference for Christian Union at Dartmouth featured a teaching that helped students better absorb the Word of God. In January at Singing Hills Christian Camp in Plainfield, New Hampshire, Ministry Fellow Julia Carlisle introduced the multi-step, contemplative prayer activity known as Lectio Divina, or divine reading. “It’s an ancient practice of slowing down while reading Scripture and meditating on it several times, paying attention to what the Holy Spirit calls your heart to and then praying into that,” she said. Carlisle’s exercise focused on Romans 5 and its
by catherine elvy, staff writer
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In January, students involved with Christian Union at Dartmouth learned about the power of meditating on the Word of God.
most powerful moments of Scripture reading I’ve ever experienced.” Moore looks forward to practicing the application of Lectio Divina, especially in Bible course settings. “What is so significant is how it forces you to look at Scriptures so intensely,” he said. “This is the Word of God. This is what was given to us.” In addition to contemplating the beauty and depth of Bible verses, the winter conference provided Dartmouth students with opportunities to bond in a tranquil environment. Located in the woodlands of Western New Hampshire and 12 miles south of Hanover, Singing Hills offers a backdrop of fields, trails, ponds, and streams. Inside amenities include game rooms, lounges, stone fireplaces, and chapels. “Having fellowship, along with games and worship, was such a blessing. It put things in perspective for the rest of the term,” said Melanie Prakash ’21. This year marked the Dartmouth ministry’s fifth winter conference at Singing Hills. During the cozy respite, students welcomed meals and activities that allowed them to connect with fellow believers. “One of the most valuable things about this retreat was the chance to experience community that is based in Christ,” said Moore.
Also during the winter conference, the undergraduates heard how God calls believers to serve as agents of divine peace and reconciliation in the midst of a broken, conflicted world. During the weekend, Ministry Director Zachary Albanese encouraged students to be ambassadors of Christ in their respective spheres of influence. “We are called to wait, be patient, and bear witness,” said Albanese. “We are called to be faithful, heavenly citizens participating in the new life of the church while we also live and exist in this world.” Parts of Albanese’s message reflected themes from Calvin College professor and philosopher James K.A. Smith’s newest book, Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology. Such messages resonated with Prakash, who left the weekend with a deep commitment to linger in the afterglow of spiritual refreshment and instruction. “We are peacemakers by letting Christ shine through us and by embracing the radical love that is repulsive to our sinful natures,” he said. Ultimately, the winter conference served to inspire and revitalize students as they returned for a fresh semester. “It really did jumpstart the term,” Albanese said. | cu
A Princeton Ski Safari Winter Conference Ministers to Students by jon garaffa, princeton
“Ski Safari makes those friendships possible. It’s a special time for those bonds to form, and that’s one of the ways that it’s so good for strengthening the Christian Union community for months and years afterwards. I met most of the people who are now my best friends at Ski Safari two years ago.” With a wide range of recreational activities, it’s easy to bond away from the pressures of campus. Throughout the week, students have the option to ski at Gore Mountain. When not skiing, students are free to rock climb, ice skate, and play board games until late at night.
One of the main appeals of Ski Safari is its nightly sessions, which included praise and worship music, prayer, a student testimony, and a message from one of the ministry fellows.
2018 :: christianunion.org
“I think free time is essential to retreats,” remarked Pyfrom ’19. “The free, unstructured time allowed for some of the week’s beautiful moments, whether it was in rest, prayer, personal reflection, fellowship over games and sports, or deep conversations.” James Fields, Christian Union’s ministry director at Princeton, was thankful that Princeton students took advantage of the opportunity to bond and seek the Lord on the trip. “The authentic community that God is creating within and amongst us is true and genuine,” he said. “Our students were able to see and encounter the ‘face of God’ in their peers. I’m thankful for the opportunity to get away each year to renew our hearts and minds in the Gospel and within community.” | cu
In January, Christian Union at Princeton hosted its annual Ski Safari conference at Camp-of-the-Woods in Speculator, New York. Students embarked on the trip during Intersession, the week after final exams and before the start of the spring semester. Many students came back with a fresh outlook, invigorated faith, and prepared to tackle the new semester head-on. One of the main appeals of the annual event is its nightly sessions, which included praise and worship music, prayer, a student testimony, and a message from one of the ministry fellows. “The night services were consistently humbling to me,” declared Rachel Pyfrom ’19. “God spoke to me through the worship and sermons, showing me how He wanted me to surrender more and commit myself to serving Him.” After each message, students broke into small groups to check in, reflecting on their growth throughout the trip. Ministry fellows offered a range of seminars at Ski Safari, including: “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality,” “Ask Us Anything,” “Should Christians Be Vegetarian?” and a theology Q+A hosted by Kevin Antlitz and Christopher Heslep. The seminars, which facilitated discussion in a small-group setting, pertained to Christian life on Princeton’s campus. One of the most characteristic offerings of the conference is its 24-hour prayer room. “It’s wonderful that there is always a space where you can go and be in community and have fun with friends, but even better that there is always a room open where you can go to be with God and worship, pray, or just rest with Him,” said Matthew Allen ’18. In addition to opportunities to seek God in various ways, students also appreciated the opportunity for new and old friendships to grow. The trip attracts a plethora of students, from those deeply committed in their faith walk, to those still exploring Christianity. “I especially enjoy seeing groups of friends hanging out back on campus, who I know only met each other a few weeks before at Ski Safari,” Allen noted.
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Implications of the Reformation Christian Union New York Hosts Os Guinness by catherine elvy, staff writer
to the United States in 1984, Guinness also has been hroughout 2017, in conjunction with the affiliated with the Woodrow Wilson Center for In500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformaternational Studies and the Brookings Institution. tion, many churches, universities, and institutions In assessing the wider impact of the Reformation, explored its far-reaching significance, especially Guinness pointed to the wealth of principles that the way it reshaped Christendom and the stream became the heart of the of Western history. American democratic exIn February, Os Guinperiment. Many of the ness contributed to this themes behind such prinongoing conversation ciples are rooted in the Old when the prolific author Testament, especially the and social critic appeared concept of covenantalism. on behalf of Christian Historically, allegiance Union New York, a minto intergenerational covistry to emerging leaders enants played a major role and professionals. More in the durability of the than 115 people attended Jewish people. “The mirthe forum, held in Februacle of Jewish survival is ary at The Union League the Torah and covenant,” Club. Guinness probed said Guinness. “It held examples of how the them through thick and country’s Protestant colothin.” nial founders embraced In turn, rather than many of the theological being the result of ecoconcepts that became en- Os Guinness speaks at Christian Union New York’s nomic prowess or milishrined in America’s core forum at the Union League Club in Manhattan. tary might, much of governmental framework. American endurance also comes from its Scott Crosby, ministry director of core covenantal nature, or adherence to a Christian Union New York, expressed apmorally binding agreement, Guinness preciation for Guinness’ efforts to showcase noted. the critical elements of faith and freedom Indeed, the concept of covenantalism at the heart of the United States. “As always, was woven into the fabric of Colonial Os was both erudite and engaging in his North America, especially in New England presentation,” Crosby said. where colonists pledged loyalty to one another. Specifically, Guinness demonstrated expertise in The preambles of the constitutions for Massa“taking a decisive historical event centered around chusetts and the United States echo the early colothe Christian church and broader European culture nists’ covenantal intent to voluntarily bind themselves (the Reformation), and delved into the specific imin love and respect. plications it had in shaping the American political In 1780, John Adams (Harvard 1755), drafted system and cultural framework.” the constitution for the Commonwealth of MassaAmong his vast credentials, Guinness has served chusetts. In addition to becoming the world’s oldest as a senior fellow with the EastWest Institute and is functioning written constitution, the document co-founder of the Trinity Forum. Since relocating
session that followed his appearance. Guinness “made a compelling case for the importance of covenant, freedom, and the impact of the Reformers on American democracy,” said Gardner, Princeton ’16. | cu
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served as a model for the U.S. Constitution. Guinness explained to his audience how the covenants of the Old Testament involved reciprocal responsibility, namely how Jews made binding pledges to the Lord and to one another. More importantly, relationships formed the essence of the Jewish community, and intergenerational transmission kept the core values alive. Covenants with God especially were critical because “we are not great promise-keepers,” Guinness said. “It’s by promising that we build trust.” Likewise, faith and freedom require that each generation is intentional in transmitting these ideals to the next. In contemporary America, covenantalism is a “forgotten secret” of democratic livelihood, said Guinness, who raised rhetorical questions about how much the United States might drift from its roots. “Will America restore what was once there?” Guinness asked. “The saddest thing in America is the crisis of faith in the churches.” Along with Guinness’ thought-provoking lecture, Christian Union intern Kate Gardner expressed appreciation for the stimulating question-and-answer
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FULL STEAM AHEAD During the past year, Christian Union New York hosted several networking and ministry events for young professionals, including a cruise around Manhattan.
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When the mission of an organization intersects with the ministry passion of joyful givers, kingdom work flourishes. Christian Union is so grateful for legacy gifts, which are an integral part of a thriving and long-lasting ministry. Thank you to everyone who makes the transformative work of Christian Union a reality. To consider your planned giving options further, please visit our website at www.christianunion.org/ plannedgiving or contact our Donor Care Specialist Sara Morrill at (616) 610-7436 or Sara.Morrill@ ChristianUnion.org. | cu
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Chelsea Samora ’18, Sherry Ann Morgenstern ’19, and Vivian Armitage ’20 (left to right) are student leaders with Christian Union at Yale. spring
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the spiritual climate on campus
brown 37 columbia 41 cornell 4 4 dar tmouth 47
penn 53 prince ton 56
harvard 5 0
ya l e 5 9
Penn students (left to right) Ricky Martinez ’18, Victor Adeleke ’17, and Trent Hagenbuch ’19
photo: cody min
reports from some of america’s most influential universities
The Spiritual Climate on Campus The following articles were written to keep readers informed about the spiritual atmosphere at some of America’s leading universities. Some stories will encourage you by highlighting ways God is working through other (non-Christian Union) ministries and alumni. Other articles— on news, trends, and events—are included to help motivate you to pray for these institutions, their students, faculty, and staff, and for all of the Christian ministries that work at these schools. ...................................................................................... BROW N | On Campus
‘Living Biblically’ SITCOM IS BASED ON BOOK BY A.J. JACOBS ’90 By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer
becoming a better man, one verse at a time.” Early episodes focused upon religious-themed topics including idolatry, adultery, and prayer. In his quest to apply literal scriptural imperatives, the main character attempts to turn away from his personal idols. In a possible nod to Moses’ fury in Exodus 32, Curry identifies his smartphone as the modern equivalent of a golden calf and smashes it upon a barroom table. The premiere of Living Biblically attracted 5 million or so viewers, ac-
al life by adhering to the Bible. For assistance, the lapsed Catholic turns to his so-called God Squad, which includes a priest and rabbi who often congregate at a neighborhood pub. Curry (played by Jay R. Ferguson of Mad Men fame) seeks to observe the explicit rules of the Bible in the aftershock of the death of his best friend and surprise pregnancy of his wife. With such developments, Curry reflects upon the Catholic faith of his childhood and sets out on a self-improvement mission. In the show’s intro, Curry explains, “I’m
his winter, CBS debuted a sitcom based upon a bestseller by a Brown alumnus that famously chronicled his fascinating, but humorous, efforts to follow scriptural instructions as precisely as possible for one year. On February 26, the network premiered a show adapted from A.J. Jacobs’ The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. The series, dubbed Living Biblically, revolves around Chip Curry, a film critic for a New York City newspaper who sets out to bolster his mor-
the spiritual climate on campus
As for his more celebrated efforts decision to enroll in Liberty Univercording to The Hollywood Reporter. Reviews were mixed, but some com- to keep Old Testament regulations in sity for spring 2007 as part of his own mentators noted how the series fea- twenty-first century Manhattan, Ja- journalistic pursuits. Roose detailed tures comedic creativity and charm. cobs hired an intern to assist with his undercover stint at the Christian Faith-based publications heralded practical tasks. During summer 2006, college in his first book, The Unlikely Living Biblically as respectful, enter- Kevin Roose, Brown ’09, researched Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at Amerfacts in the Jewish book section of the ica’s Holiest University. Today, Roose taining, and balanced. In his book, Jacobs ’90, who is New York Public Library, baked Eze- is a columnist for The New York Times and writer-at-large for The New Jewish, vowed to comply with the York Times Magazine. exact laws of the sacred scrolls as As for Jacobs, the Brown an experience in stunt journalism, alumnus once reflected upon how according to news reports. his undergraduate experiences For help with his experiment, played a role in his taste for exJacobs consulted experts in modtreme journalistic projects. “It’s ern piety, including Hasidic Jews interesting because I went to and Amish business operators. Brown because I loved the freeSome aspects of following ancient dom of choice,” Jacobs told The Hebrew edicts, such as growing Brown Daily Herald. “I loved to an untamed beard and shunning explore, and people at Brown are mixed fibers, prove more compatso adventurous and full of curiible with modernity than others, osity.” such as stoning adulterers. For that And America appears to be duty, Jacobs gathered some pebcurious about the television verbles from Central Park. “I figured sion of Living Biblically. Patrick my loophole would be this: the Walsh, the show’s creator, exBible doesn’t specify the size of the plained to The Gospel Coalition’s stones,” he wrote. Likewise, with editorial arm how he is fascinatinspiration from Ecclesiastes 9:8, ed by religion and believes it Jacobs traversed New York City’s should play a bigger role in telecongested byways and corridors CBS recently launched a sitcom based upon a vision and movie platforms. in white clothes, sandals, and a Brown University grad’s witty bestseller, namely “A big part of my pitch was walking stick. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble that 84 percent of the world The New York City-based Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. aligns themselves with some sort author, editor, and writer has of religion, and it’s never talked carved out a reputation for his colorful literary ventures. He perused kiel bread for Jacobs’ family, and about,” said Walsh. Indeed, the fictional protagonist the Encyclopedia Britannica, as in the tackled other chores rooted in antiq44 million words from a-ak to Zywiec, uity, according to The Brown Daily of Living Biblically describes his journey as more than a crusade of lofty, for his first book, The Know-It-All: Herald. Jacobs and Roose ventured to self-improvement goals. “I found faith One Man’s Humble Quest to Become Manhattan’s Times Square more than in something bigger than myself, the Smartest Person in the World. His 2009 release, The Guinea Pig a decade ago to answer the Old Tes- and it’s making me a better person,” Diaries: My Life as an Experiment, in- tament creed to clothe the naked for Curry tells viewers. | cu cluded a segment on efforts to out- The Year of Living Biblically. “We source his life to a team in India. found the Naked Cowboy and gave Contractors handled his phone calls, him a shirt to wear,” Roose told The e-mails, arguments with his wife, bed- Brown Daily Herald. Such duties played a role in Roose’s time stories for his son, and the like.
BROW N | On Campus
Seeking God and Studying Abroad S TUDENTS FIND CHRIS TIAN COMMUNIT Y, FELLOWSHIP By Ayleen Sanchez, Brown ’20
he transition into a four-year university is often considered one of the hardest spiritual trials faced by young people as they enter into a secular space as independent adults. However, another potentially isolating time often arises during study abroad season.
Yvonne Diabene ’19
Victoria Shulte ’19
Kyler Carlson ’19
listic attitude, passion for prayer, and willingness to have an open conversation about beliefs present in the church was so influential.” Shulte’s greatest piece of advice to students studying abroad is not to let themselves be plagued by fear, but instead focus on anticipating the spiritual growth, while opening themselves to new cultural experiences. Lastly, Kyler Carlson ’19, an urban studies major, spent his semester in the Development and Globalization Program in Isaan, which is located in the Northeast region of predominantly-Buddhist Thailand. Kyler expected to have difficulties practicing his faith in this region; yet, he says, “God has
Yet, there was still a deep sense of spiritual loneliness. “Our faith and endurance increase in the midst of storms and loneliness,” she said. Diabene said her prayer life and Bible study time did, in fact, increase overseas. However, looking back, she realizes she could have stayed connected with Christians at home by asking for prayer and advice before leaving. She would encourage others to reach out to spiritual mentors and friends when studying abroad. In contrast to Diabene’s times of solitude, Victoria Schulte ’19 found herself immersed in strong, Christian communities. A biology concentrator,
she spent her semester in London. Within a couple of weeks of her arrival in England, she engaged with fellow students at Holy Trinity Brompton Church. In this community, she “saw people my age so on fire for God and living out His will in a way I hadn’t before. The evange-
At Brown University, this is typically the fall or spring semester of a student’s junior year. Just as they have finally settled into a strong spiritual community, many Christian students choose to break away to live alone in a foreign country, facing the daunting task of maintaining and growing in their faith without support from peers. Christian Union: The Magazine recently interviewed three Brown students who studied abroad in the fall. Each was immersed in different cultures, yet each was able to seek God during their time abroad. Yvonne Diabene ’19, a public policy and French major, studied in
Paris. She improved her French, engaged with the people around her, and, in her quest to find a Christian community, connected with a Ghanaian church. Although the church was a long commute away, she chose to make the weekly trip because that congregation felt the most like home.
the spiritual climate on campus
Kyler Carlson (left) studying abroad in Thailand.
a tendency to shatter all expectations.” He quickly found out that three of the nine students in his program were
prayed together. Despite these strong Christian bonds, however, it was also very spir-
Within a couple of weeks of her arrival in England, Schulte engaged with fellow students at Holy Trinity Brompton Church. strong, faithful Christians. Those three Christians quickly became close friends while abroad, growing spiritually as they studied, travelled, and
itually challenging to engage with other students. Carlson found himself in lively discussions about humanity’s fallen state and its relationship to in-
herited systematic inequalities. However, this challenge proved fruitful as it gave him the opportunity to face the negative views of Christianity, while extending a loving hand to his neighbors. He offers to students considering a semester abroad a handful of very direct words: “Do it. God will take care of you.” As these three Brown University students can testify, He always does; whether its on campus or in a foreign land. | cu
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Cecile Richards and “Broken Lives” Early in 2018, Cecile Richards, Brown ’80, announced her decision to step down as president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, called out Richards for her “legacy
of death” and highlighted the momentum on the side of pro-life students. “Cecile Richards’ legacy is one of death and destruction for hundreds of thousands of preborn infants and pain, lasting harm, and regret for many hundreds of thousands of women. She leaves broken lives in her wake,” said
Hawkins. During Cecile Richards’ decade-plus tenure, abortions increased significantly. Catholic News Agency reported the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood reached 321,384 in 2016-17, up from 289,750 in 2006.
COLU M B I A | On Campus
The Role of Religion in a Secular State B A M P T O N L E C T U R E F E AT U R E S C A R D I N A L P É T E R E R DO ̋ By Nathan Barlow, Columbia ’20
thing to the spiritual fabric of a newly liberated people. Knitting this spiritual fabric will prevent Western
Cardinal Péter Erdő
democratic society from eating itself, he said. Erdő made it clear that the states are still secular and that individuals
al and religious fabric of the society. Marxism and Leninism were jammed into nations like Hungary in incongruous ways. Most states today are secular, but that does not remove Christianity’s important role in the history and consciousness of a people. He also stressed that democratic functioning required a moral consensus—the kind only religion can produce. Erdő’s speech was compelling, not merely from an academic point of view. He had witnessed the history to prove that a religious secular state is not an oxymoron. The connection between a people’s secular laws and their historic faiths should seem organic. Looking forward, he expressed concerns about the future of technology in Western nations with no ethical check on scientific advances. And those in atten-
dance came away with a nuanced view of church and state, one that cut through the caricatures and challenged some preconceived notions. | cu
still have freedom of religion. Church and state remained fully separated in his examples. His point was simple but perceptive: laws and governance should make sense and fit in with the cultur-
Erdő pointed out that elevating Christianity to a special status in founding documents does something to the spiritual fabric of a newly liberated people.
n Monday, January 29, in Columbia’s Low Library, Cardinal Péter Erdő of Hungary delivered the 40th Bampton Lecture in America. Erdő’s address, entitled “The Role of Religion and the Churches in a Secular State,” raised important questions for about 50 university officials and students who were able to secure a ticket. The event was organized by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, with co-sponsorships from the World Leaders Forum and the Columbia Department of Religion. During his visit, Cardinal Erdő also participated in Mass at St. Paul’s Chapel on Columbia’s campus. The Bampton Lecture was broad, but insightful. Erdő, the Archibishop of Esztergom-Budapest, began by tracing the gradual disentanglement of religion and society in the past few hundred years, with the Sovietization of countries like his own as the final nail in the coffin of officially recognized religion. Of course, he observed, Soviet atheism became a religion of its own. Starting in 1989, when the various Soviet bloc countries gained their independence and reconstituted, they enshrined the set of religions that had historically shaped their culture and people as having special status for the structure and decision-making of the government. Legally, these measures mandated nothing specific for the governance of the newly liberal nations. But Erdő pointed out that elevating Christianity to a special status in founding documents does some-
the spiritual climate on campus
COLU M B I A | On Campus
Biblical Jurisprudence L AW S C H O O L S E MIN AR E X AMIN E S O LD AN D N E W TE S TAME N T S By Gary Shapiro better lawyers because students learn that law, both biblical and modern-day, reflects social values and not merely a mechanical application of rules. ow many law courses discuss “There are fundamental values the creation of the heavens, the embedded in biblical law that society mark of Cain, and the forbidden fruit continues to struggle with to this day, of the Garden of Eden? such as the teaching of the absolute value of human life,” said Berman. “In the biblical text, that concept is foundational to the whole story of creation.” Indeed, the professors spend a good deal of time studying the Bible’s account of origins. “Genesis is the supreme document of Western civilization,” said Fletcher. “It is the founding text on good and evil, as well as determinism and free will.” Berman added, “The teaching that there is a single couple Photo credit: Barbara Alper/Columbia University out of which all of humanity George Fletcher and Saul Berman co-teach Biblical Jurisprudence at Columbia Law School. derives is understood to mean that all human beings are creThese are among the highlights of and political issues, including a spe- ated equal.” The two don’t see eye-to-eye on a class that professors George Fletch- cialty in Jewish medical ethics. “He history’s first recorded murder. Fletcher and Saul Berman teach together at has rabbinic depth,” said Fletcher. The two men take turns leading er relishes the role of defending Cain, Columbia Law School titled “Biblical Jurisprudence,” which involves teasing the class that focuses on the five books who killed Abel, against the verdict out the jurisprudential implications of Moses in the Old Testament and of history. When God condemns him of ancient religious texts, a practice the Prophets. They also include rele- to be a fugitive who must wander the vant parts of the New Testament, such earth, the Bible quotes Cain saying, more than two thousand years old. “The Bible communicates in as the parable of the Good Samaritan “My punishment is too great to bear.” words, and words require interpreta- and examination of the role of law in But Fletcher argues that in Hebrew that can also mean, “My wrong is too tion,” said Berman. “A subtle differ- the Christian gospels. Berman said the seminar makes much to bear,” meaning that he recence between the meaning of words Editor’s note: The following story was reprinted with permission from Columbia News.
often makes a significant difference in one’s understanding of a narrative, a value, or a law.” Fletcher, a former prosecutor, teaches criminal law, legal philosophy, and comparative law. Berman, a rabbi, scholar, and educator, is an expert in Jewish law related to modern social
ognizes the gravity of the crime. Berman doesn’t read it as sympathetically. “I think Cain accepts the punishment, but does not regret what he did. While we don’t really know exactly what his motive was in killing his brother, he never defends his action nor regrets it nor repents for it.”
of God’s law? The two met more than 20 years ago when Berman was the rabbi at Lincoln Square Synagogue and Fletcher had recently joined Columbia from UCLA. Fletcher came up to Berman after a talk on religion and values, and their conversation has since stretched across decades.
manuel Kant and Jewish jurisprudence. Both men believe America has a deep “religious sensibility,” Fletcher said, offering examples such as Lincoln’s reference to psalms in his second inaugural address and noting that the Ten Commandments are displayed in many courtrooms.
Berman said the seminar makes better lawyers, because students learn that law, both biblical and modern-day, reflects social values and not merely a mechanical application of rules. The students over the past several years have been diverse, hailing from many countries and identifying with many faiths. Just how did an Orthodox rabbi and a secular Jew come to co-teach a course that wrestles over the meaning
“We just hit it off,” said Berman, “His brilliance and love of the law were magnetic.” Berman also teaches another course at the law school in Jewish law. The pair has collaborated in other law school seminars, including one on Im-
Overall, Fletcher and Berman find that legal study can bridge divides among people who base their faith on the Bible. Fletcher said, “Whether Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, there is a monotheistic faith that unites all the Abrahamic cultures.” | cu
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Europe. Most recently, Jenkins served as director of vocational and career development for The King’s College, where she now holds the title of senior fellow. Among her extensive credentials, Jenkins has worked for faith-based nonprofit organizations, and held positions on Capitol Hill, at the U.S. State Department, and on Wall Street.
Columbia University alumna Bethany Jenkins is assuming core responsibilities for The Veritas Forum in her new role with the Massachusetts-based organization. In 2017, Jenkins, JD ’09, accepted a position with Veritas as vice president of forums and content. Veritas Forums help students and faculty probe life’s toughest questions with events at universities in North America and
On Sunday evening, April 29 in Lerner Hall, Jubilation!, Columbia’s Christian a cappella group, celebrated the end of the semester by hosting its spring concert, “Oh Happy Day.” On April 7, Jubilation! participated in Break It Down Boston with several other a cappella groups. During the day, the groups performed on the streets and gave out invitations to the free concert held at Boston College that evening.
Jenkins, JD ’09, Is VP at Veritas Forum
the spiritual climate on campus
COR N E LL | On Campus
“This Changes Everything”
CORNELL STUDENTS ENJOY ROAD TRIP TO JUBILEE CONFERENCE By Zachary Lee, Cornell ’20
n February, a group of students from Cornell University and Ithaca College boarded a bus and embarked on a six-hour drive to Pittsburgh for the forty-first Jubilee Conference. Hosted by the Coalition for Christian Outreach, this year’s theme was “This Changes Everything.” In typical Jubilee tradition, the conference was explored through the four-part narrative of “Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.” Jubilee’s talented and vast consortium of speakers spoke about each facet during the plenary sessions. Kicking off the first night of Creation, Andy Crouch spoke on the “abundance and order” of God. Charting abundance on the x-axis of a graph and order on the y-axis, the author and Cornell alumnus (’89) explored the connections and stated, “If we have order but no abundance, then we just have a machine; no order and no abundance is nothing; and abundance but no order is chaos. But if there is order and abundance...we have cosmos.” This served as a perfect segue to rapper and author Trip Lee, who boldly stated that “our creativity thrives best in the shadow of God’s creation...the moment we try to step out of it is when our work loses the ability to point back to the ultimate hope.” The Fall is usually the heaviest and most intense time of the four main sessions. Jackie Hill-Perry spoke about human suffering, but also about hope. Hill-Perry gave a powerful analysis of Genesis 3.
“At the core of sin is disbelief,” she said. “Once we begin to doubt God’s Word, we then have grounds to begin doubting His personhood.” Hill-Perry talked about how Adam and Eve tried to use physical objects, such as
Trip Lee, a pastor and hip-hop artist, was one of the speakers at the Jubilee Conference.
the tree and leaves, to shield their shame, yet “God has sent the ultimate mediator, Jesus Christ; we no longer have to hide our shame.” When speaking on Redemption, Saleem Ghubril, executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise, said we need to be “compelled by love.” “Do we realize just how much God is crazy for us and yet we stiff arm Him?” asked Ghubril. He described how if we, as God’s children, do not love or care for His creation, how can we expect to bring about change or transformation in our community?
Finally, on Restoration, Michael Shen, director of cross-cultural ministry for the Coalition of Christian Outreach, talked about how, in ancient times, the church was culture-defying and a “place where the sociologically impossible happened.” While full restoration will not come till the day of judgement, there are things Christians can do in the here and now to give a glimpse of what this restoration can look like to non-believers—things such as welcoming strangers and caring about social justice. In addition to the plenary sessions, the seminars and workshops gave students practical and vocational advice. Scott St. Peter, a Cornell senior studying computer science, was blessed by a workshop exploring gender roles in the church. “I had the opportunity to attend an excellent workshop that taught men how to love their sisters in Christ better. Having approached these issues from the Christian perspective gives me much more clarity and hope as I navigate loving my sisters in Christ in a God-honoring and Gospel-informed way on campus,” he said. Adrienne Hein, a sophomore studying hotel administration, learned valuable insights at a leadership workshop she attended. “In leadership, we are often told to take one of two postures when we see the gravity of sin and brokenness: cynicism or naive
optimism. These two postures limit us from seeing the goodness in God’s creation and character. Rather, we are called into the proximate, where we seek to enter and understand present brokenness here on earth, while maintaining hope for the fulfillment of the promises spoken by the king that knows no lie. By His grace, we are hopeful realists!” Karl Johnson, founding director of Chesterton House at Cornell, said Jubilee continues to minister to at-
tendees in a powerful way. “At my age (I was Cornell Class of ’89), I don’t exactly need to road trip 12 hours round trip to attend yet another student conference,” he said.
“And yet, I continue to be so impressed with CCO’s Jubilee conference—the great keynote speakers and variety of breakout sessions, the outrageous book table (really a moveable store), and the overarching Creation-toNew-Creation narrative.” For all who attended, this sentiment rang true, as students were reminded that an encounter with Jesus does not just change one facet of your life—it changes everything. | cu
....................................................................................... COR N E LL | On Campus
A Spiritual Visionary REV. MCMULLIN ENJOYS SERVING IN A DIVERSITY OF ROLES By Francine Barchett, Cornell ’20 McMullin, a Catholic priest, has a broad résumé which includes a doctorate of musical arts and numerous professional and faculty positions. He
served as a monk for 16 years before turning to the priesthood and shepherding several parishes and university ministries in New York and Minnesota. He began his work with the Cornell Catholic community in 2005.
ences at Cornell. “What I’ve found is that the attentiveness to religious life has surprisingly grown in places that one wouldn’t have imagined before,” McMullin said.
“The attentiveness to religious life has surprisingly grown in places that one wouldn’t have imagined before.”
tered in iconic Anabel Taylor Hall. McMullin recently talked about the expanding need for intelligent conversations about religious experi-
ather Daniel McMullin is encouraged by the ever-increasing interest and exploration of religion and spirituality on the campus of Cornell University. For the last year, McMullin has served as the director of Cornell United Religious Work, an umbrella organization for nearly 25 Cornell-affiliated religious entities. The vision of Cornell United Religious Work (CURW) is to foster a multi-faith community among Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions, all of which are headquar-
the spiritual climate on campus
Another major role McMullin un- es that strides have already been made McMullin seeks to engage with people of other faiths broad-minded- dertakes is reorganizing the numerous there—including increased religious ly, all while setting a Christ-like ex- chaplaincies to promote mutual cour- attentiveness in unexpected domains, ample. Working at Cornell for university departments joining the past 13 years has been a to discuss faith-based responses positive experience, not only as to international and global ishe supported the Cornell Cathsues, and his brainchild, the olic community, but also now Office of Spirituality and Meanas he addresses the college’s overing-Making. arching spiritual needs. NeverJust how does McMullin do theless, he understands that the it? How does he maintain his means to satisfying them are godly convictions, while steering multifaceted. As the Associate the development of such a diDean of Students for the Office verse, multi-religious commuof Spirituality and Meannity as Cornell? According to ing-Making, a position he asMcMullin, his strength lies in a sumes alongside his CURW life rooted in Christ. leadership role, McMullin strives Father Daniel McMullin is the director of Cornell And just what kind of advice to fulfill students’ yearnings for United Religious Work. or counsel would he give student spiritual, yet non-denominabelievers seeking to live out their tional, attention. faith on campus and later in the This new position as associate dean tesy and accountability. “I have a great marketplace? for the Office of Spirituality and deal of respect for the traditions that “The pathway to living with Christ Meaning-Making was created at the are represented here and for the lead- is multifaceted,” he said. “Number ers that are put into place,” he said. request of the dean of students. one, be sure you pray regularly; be As one finished academic year sure that you inform your knowledge “We are trying to find a way for students to talk about their spiritual- gives way to the meticulous planning in Christ by both Scripture and, beity,” McMullin said. “And this posi- of another, McMullin senses oppor- cause of my tradition, a good solid tion includes all religions, not just tunity within the Cornell religious theological education. And then find community. Indeed, he acknowledg- a community of support!” | cu Christianity.”
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Veritas Forum Focuses on Mental Health What is happiness? That was the question posed by the Veritas Forum at Cornell University on March 7. This year’s forum aimed to create a dialogue on the topic of mental health, while exploring pertinent questions about human happiness and flourishing. The speakers were Shimon Edelman, professor of psychology at Cornell,
and David Carreon, current resident of psychiatry at Stanford University. Dr. Rosemary Avery, the department chair in the college of human ecology at Cornell, was the moderator.
Minute to Win It Returns to Cornell After a long hiatus, Campus on a Hill revived its inter-ministry Minute to Win It competition. In
the spring, seven campus ministries participated in an intense gauntlet of ten games with each activity getting successively more outrageous. “[Minute to Win It] is about community building,” said Campus On A Hill co-president Rachel Liu. “This semester, we wanted to focus not just on building up student leadership, but the entirety of the student body.”
D A R T M OU T H | On Campus
The Dartmouth Roundtable DINNER DISCUSSIONS CATER TO ACADEMIC COMMUNITY By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer
2018 :: christianunion.org
he Dartmouth Roundtable host- personal and warmer,” said Dahlberg. with larger, divine purposes. ed a series of dinner discussions “We try to have the topic and launch As for feedback, scholars often say for college faculty on a wide range of the questions to be fairly personal.” they regard the gatherings as an oasis, In 2009, Kent and Denise Dahl- a welcomed opportunity for rich contopics, including: the role of emotions in decision-making, the implications berg, former ministry leaders with templation and a break from intense of genetic engineering, and percep- Cru, formed Integrare (Integrare.us) scholarly duties. “Here is the chance as a student and adult ministry to the to step back, in a thoughtful way, to tions about self-character. The Christian organization recent- Dartmouth community. During the interact with other people who think ly wrapped up its fourth year of host- 2014-15 year, the couple helped very differently from you,” said Kent ing Dartmouth College academicians launch the Dartmouth Roundtable Dahlberg. for stimulating evening As well, the guests gatherings, often are largely open to touching upon science meaningful probes of and faith. Typically, contemporary issues about half of the parfrom both Christian ticipants are professed and secular worldviews. Christians, said Kent “There is a real hunDahlberg, a director ger for these opportuwho has served in camnities,” Dahlberg said. pus ministry for three In April, the Dartdecades. mouth Roundtable At its core, the dinfeatured Christian Millner series provides er, an author and Wake The Dartmouth Roundtable Dinner held a series of discussions opportunities for nonForest University produring the academic year with distinguished speakers such as Luke Christians to encounter fessor of moral philosChang (left) and James Sherley. believers in an engaging, ophy. On April 23, the non-confrontational Princeton University setting. On campus, secular scholars to mirror the success and reach of the alumnus of 1999 explored some of often do not have a lot of encounters Cambridge Roundtable on Science, the concepts from his 2017 book, The with people of faith who are thinking Art, and Religion in Massachusetts. Character Gap: How Good Are We? very deeply, Dahlberg said. As it turns out, most people are The dinners provide occasions for Unlike similar programs catering the organizers and their guests to form not actually as moral and honest as to other top universities, the Dart- meaningful connections with Dart- they believe themselves to be, accordmouth Roundtable incorporates a mouth faculty. ing to Miller’s findings. The author mixture of community and student “The conversation is impactful,” revealed strategies aimed at characleaders into the gatherings. About 70 said Dahlberg. ter-building. people attend each function inside the The Dahlbergs also hosted Miller Likewise, the Dahlbergs encourage charming, landmark Hanover Inn, participants to approach topics from for a breakfast gathering to discuss ways which dates back to 1769. their personal experiences. As such, Christian scholars can be more effective “Our dinners have a little less of Christian attendees often share ac- for God’s kingdom on campus. an academic edge. They are more counts of efforts to align life choices Among earlier gatherings, Dart-
the spiritual climate on campus
mouth scholar Luke Chang examined how emotions help humans make better decisions. The professor of psychological and brain sciences focuses most of his research upon the neurobiological and computational mechanisms underlying human emotions, social interactions, and decision-making. While many people, especially highly educated individuals, assume emotions need to be set aside for sound contemplation, emerging research suggests another view. During his appearance on February 19, Chang noted recent findings in neuroscience suggesting some emotions crystallize substantial quantities of accumulated information and experiences. With that, emotions can offer speedy assessments of complex data.
At the autumn gathering, noted scientist James Sherley, Harvard ’80, delved into the implications of genetic engineering, including what it means to be human and to stay human. Sherley, a former MIT professor, serves as director of Asymmetrex, an organization seeking to advance adult stem-cell technologies for applications in drug discovery and cellular medicine. Through a lead grant from the John Templeton Foundation, Dartmouth Roundtable invites guests to dinner and discussions at the Hanover Inn. The mixture of backgrounds, including faith perspectives, among attendees makes for “great dialogue.” The dinners also help facilitate
rapport between community leaders and Dartmouth faculty. Even within New Hampshire’s quaint Upper Valley, misperceptions can persist. “We’re creating the context for those connections and new bridges to form,” said Dahlberg. As for the success of the Roundtable, Dahlberg pointed to the tangible power and allure of hospitality. “That’s part of the beauty of these evenings,” Dahlberg said. “They are very well done. It creates ambiance. It’s a very convivial occasion.” Most importantly, such events provide an “entrée into people who would be otherwise difficult to connect with or reach,” said Dahlberg. “It’s really quite remarkable over time.” | cu
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FOMO (The Fear of Missing out)
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WORLDLINESS AND ANXIETY By Andrew Schuman, Dartmouth ’10
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared at Fare Forward (www.farefwd.com), a Christian Review of Ideas. Reprinted with permission.
alking across Dartmouth’s campus recently I overheard one student say to another: “You should come to Gammapalooza at Chi Gam tonight, everyone’ll be there…” Then, somewhat compassionately, he added, “but don’t worry if you can’t… no FOMO!” If you don’t know what this acronym stands for, it’s one of the most useful additions to the online urban dictionary in the last ten years. FOMO = “fear of missing out.” With these four letters, the animating spir-
it behind the bewilto think this way is to deringly frantic pace be ignorant of history. of college life has In 1681, Oxford been given a name. University Chancellor We’ve talked about and renowned theothis phenomenon at logian John Owen Fare Forward before, wrote the following: but I wanted to give “The world is at presa slightly different ent in a mighty hurry, take on it. and being in many It can be temptplaces cut off from all Andrew Schuman ing to blame the “infoundations of steadformation age” for fastness, it makes the our societal schizophrenia. We think minds of men giddy with its revoluthat because we now have access to tions, or disorderly in the expectations so much information and entertain- of them…” ment and opportunity that we are “Giddy with its revolutions” and plagued with FOMO. We think that “disorderly in the expectations of earlier generations had it easier. But them”? This observation from over
330 years ago could describe our mindset today. Why all the hurry? Owen gives this explanation: “Men walk and talk as if the world were all, when comparatively it is nothing.” What Owen is suggesting is that FOMO is a symptom of the ancient
out. Having no deeper realities to hold onto, we are left flitting from one momentary pleasure to the next. If worldliness is the cause of our collective FOMO, then the prescription for sanity in our hurried society is not to speed up or slow down, per
In 1681, Oxford University Chancellor and renowned theologian John Owen wrote the following: “The world is at present in a mighty hurry, and being in many places cut off from all foundations of steadfastness, it makes the minds of men giddy with its revolutions, or disorderly in the expectations of them…” biblical notion known as worldliness. When we believe that this world is all there is we instinctively value the fleeting over the eternal. We create cultural forms that embody these priorities and then we cannot help but feel like we are constantly missing
se, but to comprehend the eternal beauty of God and let this affection produce freedom from fear. It’s precisely our ability to hope in the world to come that grounds a balanced engagement in the world right here. It reminds me of this C.S.
Lewis quote: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” This passage of Scripture from Jeremiah gives us wise counsel, pointing us forward by pointing us back: “Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16) | cu Dartmouth ’10, is the Director of Veritas Labs for the Veritas Forum. While an undergraduate, he served as the founding editor-in-chief of Dartmouth’s Christian journal, Apologia, as well as co-founder of the national network of Christian thought journals, The Augustine Collective. Schulman earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and an MAR from Yale Divinity School.
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Students involved with The Dartmouth Apologia: A Journal of Christian Thought (dartmouthapologia.org/apologia) recently participated in the Augustine Collective’s 10th annual retreat for collegiate Christian journals. During the 2018 conference at the Hyatt Regency Boston, the students heard from a variety
Dartmouth College’s Aquinas House passionately embraced Holy Week. The ministry hosted the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, a Passion of the Lord service on Good Friday, and an Easter vigil on Holy Saturday. Following the vigil, the students gathered for a reception in the center on Occom Ridge.
of speakers, including Andrew Schuman, Dartmouth ’10. Schuman is the founding editor of The Dartmouth Apologia and co-founder of the Augustine Collective. Other top speakers included author Andy Crouch, Cornell ’89. About two dozen student-run journals belong to the Augustine Collective.
Apologia Staff Attends Augustine Collective Retreat in Boston
Aquinas House Hosts Holy Week Events, Receptions
the spiritual climate on campus
H A RVA RD | On Campus
God at Work
HARVARD PROFE SSOR SPE AK S AT ALETHEIA CHURCH By Christian Schatz, Harvard ’18
n the first Sunday of March, become among the brightest students of theology and spirituality in the congregants of Aletheia of Babylon and conscripted into the study of humans. Hill seemed to be making a case Church sat in a chilly YMCA gym- king’s service. “I focus on Daniel chapter 1 today for why her work in psychology put nasium and listened to a sermon by Harvard University professor Nancy because, if I’m honest, sometimes I her in the position of the exile. But feel like I’m in exile,” Hill said. “I feel she pivoted and asked the question, Hill. “When you know that God is over like if the people I work with really “Am I in exile, or am I on mission?” To answer this question, Hill your discipline, and you are called showed that, while Daniel may to it, you can be confident that have physically been in exile, he God is going to use the very tools acted like he was on mission. of your training to bring His Daniel stayed true to the comtruth into your discipline,” said mands of the Lord by not eating Dr. Hill in a central point to the unclean food, but he also devotsermon. “So I didn’t have to give ed himself to studying Babyloup psychology. I had to become nian literature. “They were set in a better psychologist.” a deep and powerful place, in the Aletheia Church is a non-deking’s service, where knowledge nominational congregation was generated, where knowledge founded in 2013 in association was applied,” Dr. Hill said. with The Gospel Coalition and Addressing a room full of inEvery Nation Ministries. The dividuals associated with Harvard church meets in the Cambridge YMCA, drawing students from Dr. Nancy Hill is the Charles Bigelow Professor and M.I.T., Hill stated, “They are of Education at Harvard Graduate School of not terribly different from us.” both Harvard and M.I.T.’s camEducation. She concluded her sermon with puses. Dr. Hill was invited to a call for the congregation to folspeak as part of a sermon series knew I was a Christian… they would low Daniel’s model of being missiontitled God at Work. Hill is the Charles Bigelow Pro- think less of me. They would see my al, while working in academia. Central to following this model is fessor of Education at Harvard Grad- faith… as an intellectual weakness.” Moreover, the academy encour- a call to study “harder and deeper than uate School of Education and researches the role of ethnicity, cul- ages individuals to cultivate their anyone around us.” The knowledge ture, and context on the growth of name and their ego, to “publish or produced in academia’s many disciadolescents through the discipline of perish,” while God calls for humility. plines, even in the discipline of psyThe perceived opposition between chology, belongs to God. Thus, says developmental psychology. She began with a reading of Dan- faith and academics is pointedly clear Dr. Hill, we can rely on God in the iel 1, the familiar story in which Dan- in Hill’s discipline. Psychology arose pursuit of our studies. Hill went on to say that bringing iel and his three friends, Shadrach, as a field in the late eighteenth cenMeshach and Abednego, are exiled tury to study humans through the God’s mission into academia leads to to Babylon, but remain faithful to the same lens used by scientists to study an intellectual advantage. She exLord by refusing to eat unclean food. animals and the laws of nature. In so plained how she can “step out of” the In turn, the Lord blesses them as they doing, psychology rejected the role assumptions of her field and view it
from a different angle. “When we hold it out in front of us, God will show us the holes in the logic, how confusing findings fit together.” This is because, in Hill’s words, “We are not bound by the belief systems of the disciplines we study.”
While an inherent divide between faith and intellectualism persists in the American cultural imagination, Hill’s words were received by students who navigate the interface of Christianity and academics every day. The sermon encouraged such students to
act out their faith by being simultaneously part of and apart from their culture, to appear at times foolish in keeping the commandments of the Lord, and at other times outstandingly successful. | cu
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Bold Faith Is Thriving in U.S. S TUDY DEBUNK S POPUL AR MY TH CONCERNING RELIGION By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer
cording to sociological literature. As such, many scholars assert the United States is following in the path of comparable countries that have become predominantly secular.
A Harvard University doctoral student recently co-authored a paper suggesting fervently practiced religion within the United States remains “persistent and exceptional,” despite trends within industrialized societies for spiritual declines to accompany modern advances.
of average religiosity in the United States as noted in academic literature. However, in further mining existing data, Bock and Schnabel found astonishing details involving Americans who practice “persistently intense religion.” Such individuals stand out for their robust affiliation, frequent worship, and views concerning Scriptural reliability. At the same time, the data reflected declining religious affiliation among Americans with moderate levels of practices. Nonetheless, the “intensity of American religion is actually becoming more exceptional over time,” Bock and Schnabel noted. “We conclude that intense religion in the United States is persistent and exceptional in ways that do not fit the secularization thesis.” Most research on shifts within the United States has focused on the rise of unaffiliated individuals. Absent from many of the discussions has been a look at the solid intensity of the highly spiritual. Since the late 1980s, Americans have hastily “disaffiliated” with traditional doctrines, sparking downward trends in nationwide religiosity, ac-
ith the advances of science and modernization, prevailing academic circles often suggest religion is becoming increasingly obsolete. A Harvard University doctoral student recently co-authored a paper debunking aspects of such popular scholarly perspectives. Remarkably, Sean Bock and his research partner from Indiana University found that fervently practiced religion within the United States remains “persistent and exceptional.” In late November, Sociological Science published the findings of Bock and Landon Schnabel in an article entitled The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research. Bock is a doctoral student in Harvard’s sociology department, while Schnabel is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University, where he is a faculty member in the Liberal Arts and Management Program. While religious adherence appears to be disappearing in advanced, industrial societies, the pattern for the United States is less clear, Bock and Schnabel wrote. Still, the pair readily affirmed the “steep downward trend”
the spiritual climate on campus
While noting steep declines in average religiosity across the United States, the young scholars were skeptical of academic pronouncements of the demise and eventual extinction of Christianity. More importantly, when Bock and Schnabel probed international data concerning spirituality practices, they uncovered fascinating finds. Namely, American adherents have demonstrat-
to Bock and Schnabel. The data also finds a “patently persistent level of strong affiliation from 1989 to 2016. There is some year-to-year fluctuation, but a very stable trend line.” In combing data from 1989 to 2016, the scholars noted the jump in the counts of unaffiliated individuals, a category that more than doubled as a percentage of the total population.
Bock and Schnabel found astonishing details involving Americans who practice “persistently intense religion.” Such individuals stand out for their robust affiliation, frequent worship, and views concerning Scriptural reliability. ed sustained levels of intense religiosity across key measures over the past few decades—results that are striking in light of comparable measures for other industrial societies. The practices of fervent individuals cause the United States to stand apart from other nations in overall religiosity. Essentially, the United States remains an “exceptional outlier and potential counterexample to the secularization thesis,” according
A closer examination of practices with the intensely religious category also produced remarkable results, including some highlighting the vital nature of spirituality. For example, in 1989, 31 percent of those who prayed at least once a week, did so multiple times a day. In 2016, 40 percent of this group prayed multiple times a day, Bock and Schnabel noted. Among overall results, rising
American secularism often touted in academia appears to be strictly tied to declining counts of moderate followers, including those from mainline churches. Practices among those with the highest levels of involvement remained consistent. As such, Bock and Schnabel found the intensity of American religion persistent across key measures, suggesting U.S. practices are exceptional for prayer, church attendance, and beliefs. “That American religion is not becoming irrelevant or any less intense has important societal implications,” they wrote. At the Family Research Council, President Tony Perkins celebrated the themes within the analysis from Bock and Schnabel. “In other words, Christianity is shifting – not dying,” he wrote. Likewise, in a commentary for The Federalist, author Glenn Stanton noted such results are tangible, rather than isolated. “There has been a growing gulf between the faithful and the dabblers for quite some time, with the first group growing more numerous,” he wrote. In short, “people are navigating toward substantive Christianity.” | cu
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Billy Graham and Harvard In 1964, Rev. Billy Graham highlighted the far-reaching impact of Harvard University students when he spoke with the student newspaper. “If just one student at Harvard would go back to his room tomorrow night and make a commitment to Christ, who knows
what might come of it?” Graham told The Harvard Crimson. In February, recollections of the celebrated evangelist dominated headlines across the nation after he died at 99. Among the accounts, The Boston Globe recalled Graham’s visit to Harvard’s Memorial Church in 1999. “We’re looking for answers, and Jesus is the answer,” he said.
Rev. Billy Graham
P E N N | On Campus
Newman Center to Relocate, Renovate L O C A L C AT H O L I C L E A D E R S E X C I T E D A B O U T M O V E By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer
2018 :: christianunion.org
he Newman Center recently ment, the future is truly exciting for ect leaders plan to add a breezeway announced plans to relocate its the Newman Center at St. Agatha-St. between the renovated school and the lower level of the church plus a bright, current ministry hub at the University James,” said Father Carlos Keen. of Pennsylvania into modern, renovatDuring the spring and summer, welcoming lobby. Daily Mass will be celebrated in ed facilities on the campus of nearby renovations will take place on the St. Agatha-St. James Parish. lower level of St. Agatha-St. James to the Church of St. Agatha-St. James, In January, the Archdiocese of prepare it to serve as a base for New- which supports the Catholic mission Philadelphia unveiled plans to sell the man operations during the 2018-19 throughout University City. As such, the plans will help St. property housing the Newman Cen- academic year. ter to EPG Urban LLC. A substantial portion of the sale will support the move and redevelopment of the Newman Center to St. Agatha-St. James Parish and the parish’s former school building. “This is a really positive move. This is the Catholic Church trying to have a vision for expanded ministry for the University of Pennsylvania and all of University City,” said Scott Bucko, director of mission advancement for The Newman Center. Bucko described the Newman Center’s longtime home at 3720 Chestnut Street as in The Newman Center is pursuing plans to relocate its ministry hub at the University of need of costly repairs and upPennsylvania. dates. The Newman Center (newman.upenn.edu) moved into the facility in 1970. Redevelopment of the former Agatha-St. James Parish fulfill its viA key goal of the move is to help school at 111 38th Street will begin in sion of becoming a “Catholic center the Newman Center to provide ex- January 2019 after the University of of consequence bearing witness to panded programing for the Penn Pennsylvania vacates rental space. Ren- Jesus Christ in a growing, dynamic, community. Likewise, parish leaders ovations are expected to wrap up before urban neighborhood,” Keen said. envision the redevelopment efforts the start of the 2019-20 academic year. For approximately 125 years, the helping to unify the Newman Center, Once finished, the Newman Cen- Newman apostolate has provided both structurally and architecturally, ter will gain square footage, and the ministry to the University of Pennwithin St. Agatha-St. James. space will be more suitable to program sylvania. The ministry is planning a “With the move and redevelop- and community needs. As well, proj- series of commemorations with a
the spiritual climate on campus
major celebration in autumn 2019. The activities also will recognize the spread of the Newman mission throughout the United States. When completed, the Newman Center’s new home will feature a small chapel, meeting and lounge spaces, a library, study nooks, classrooms, and office space.
Parish leaders are excited about the revamped facilities increasing their church’s influence within their neighborhood and providing a welcoming place of prayer for students “We’re here for everyone,” said Bucko. “lf we do this right, it’s going to greatly help our presence and impact at the university.”
“We thank God for His faithfulness to us, and for sustaining our work and that of our predecessors, for so many years,” said Keen. “Over these many years, the Newman Center has been blessed with the opportunity and privilege of serving countless young men and women during their university education.” | cu
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Worshipping on Locust Walk S T U D E N T S U N I T E F O R P R A I S E , P R AY E R T E N T By Kaiyla Banks, Penn ’21
inside the Prayer Tent. On Tuesday, March 27, a group of students from the University of Pennsylvania gathered on a very spe-
hout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It
Penn for Jesus sponsored the Prayer Tent on campus during the Easter season.
is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” − Psalm 100:1-3 The “All Are Welcome” sign was posted high. Lights, hot chocolate, and a wooden cross greeted visitors
cial night in the heart of campus. Right next to the compass, and in the middle of Locust Walk, students organized an amazing night of outreach and worship in the annual Prayer Tent sponsored by Penn For Jesus.
At the open-mic night, Christians from across University City and the Philadelphia area gathered for praise and fellowship. Members of the New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir opened with a few songs. Samelle Arhin ’20, the group’s director, was moved to share her own testimony. “I came to college thinking that being far from home meant I could be far from God, until I realized that God is truly everywhere,” she told the crowd. “He found me here at Penn when I found myself in darkness and depression. He restored my light and gave me that godly glow. So, yeah, I’m that person who walks down Locust Walk with a big grin because He’s just been so good to me.” Shown through her endless efforts to welcome complete strangers into the Prayer Tent, even just to write a request on the wall, Samelle is truly serving God throughout Penn’s community. Chris Jackson ’20 shared a spoken word piece entitled I Remember. Exposing the common doubts we are faced with every day, he emphasized
how we must remember the faithfulness of God. The Prayer Tent is one of the highlights of spring semester at Penn. In addition to providing a place to give and receive prayer and encouragement, the event also unites Christians of all denominations. Penn For Jesus (pennforjesus.com) seeks to be “a gathering place for Christians on campus who desire Christian unity and revival through intercessory prayer, united events, and
communication within the body of Christ.”
shifts in the tent in order to pray and minister to all who entered. With the anticipation and excitement about Resurrection Sunday and Good Friday, students on campus were thankful for the opportunity to provide a tangible witness. On March 27, as the students of the University of Pennsylvania prayed and worshipped together in the tent, God’s presence was evident. From hymns to Hillsong music, God’s name was lifted high in numerous ways. Whether people came into the tent just for the hot chocolate and donuts, or actually to meet Jesus for the first
The Prayer Tent is one of the highlights of spring semester at Penn. In addition to providing a place to give and receive prayer and encouragement, the event also unites Christians of all denominations. Throughout the week, members of various ministries signed up for
time, God spoke through the local body of Christ. | cu
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Merican. “Where I struggled to get past the small talk to real conversations, the Christian faith assured me there was a God who understood the deepest, most desperate desires of my heart; where I struggled to ‘fit in’ at Penn, the Christian faith blessed me with a community of loving, openhearted people…”
A few days before Easter, columnist Sara Merican ’20 wrote a heart-felt testimony in the Daily Pennsylvanian, “Having Faith at Penn.” Merican, who is from Singapore, gave thanks for the meaning and comfort she finds in Christ. “Where I searched for something that spoke deeper than the readings I was studying for English class, or philosophy, the Christian faith whispered a life-giving, profound truth,” wrote
The New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir hosted its annual Total Praise Café on April 20. This year’s theme was “Praise Is What I Do.” The gospel choir invited students from Penn and other campuses, churches, and the surrounding community “to come and freely praise the Lord.” On April 7, the New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir presented a concert event, “Hallelujah: Praise Him in Advance,” at the Iron Gate Theater in Philadelphia.
Having Faith at Penn spring
Total Praise Café
the spiritual climate on campus
PR I N C E T O N | On Campus
Christian Leader of the Year
CARE NET CEO HONORED AT NEXUS CONFERENCE By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer
girlfriend, Yvette, was pregnant. Despite the pressures to opt for abortion, the psychology major and running back decided to keep the child, marry, and shun the thread of fatherlessness within the African-American community. His wife, the former Yvette Lopez, earned a psychology degree from Princeton in 1985 and now practices family medicine in Maryland. Warren went on to serve nearly a dozen years as president of the National FaRoland Warren (Princeton ’83, Penn MBA ’96) receives the Christian Leader of the Year award therhood Initiative. from Matt Bennett, Christian Union’s founder and CEO. While at the helm of the Maryland-based Such comments were a nod to the organization, the father of two funterintuitive pathway to true success. “You are meant for greatness – true conference’s theme, “Turn the World neled his passion for highlighting the needs of fatherless children and equipgreatness,” said Warren (Princeton Upside Down (Acts 17:6).” “The more vulnerable the others ping dads to embrace their roles. ’83, Penn MBA ’96), chief executive That background, plus earlier officer of Care Net. “I’m hoping to you serve, the greater you are,” Warinspire you to live truly great, in the ren said. “Jesus turned the world up- stints in the corporate arena, doveupside-down way we find in the Bi- side down and He is calling you to tailed perfectly in 2012 when Warren stepped up to become president and go and do likewise.” ble.” As for Warren, the former Princ- CEO of Care Net, a Christian pregIn February, Warren addressed nearly 300 students from top univer- eton athlete has devoted much of his nancy center network. Warren, who grew up in a fathersities at Christian Union’s annual professional life to recasting unconference in New Brunswick, New planned pregnancies as opportunities. less home, hopes his story will inspire In the early 1980s, Warren was an young men facing unplanned pregJersey, where he received the Christian Leader of the Year Award. At Nexus, unlikely candidate to become a nancies to become committed fathers. Warren was honored for his longtime spokesman for pro-life and family He has shared his story and spoken on issues of marriage and fatherhood commitment to championing pro-life issues. During his junior year at Prince- across a spectrum of media outlets. and family causes, along with leaderton University, Warren learned his His appearances include: The Oprah ship development.
t the Nexus Student Conference this winter, plenary speaker Roland Warren talked about servant leadership and Christianity’s coun-
“There’s greatness in each and every one of you,” Warren said. “Are you willing to stand up for Christ’s model of greatness?”
Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CNN, Focus on the Family, Dateline NBC, and BET. Likewise, his writings have been printed in The Washington Post, Christianity Today, and The Wall Street Journal. As well, Warren sought to provide a meaningful resource for parents when he penned Bad Dads of the Bible: 8 Mistakes Every Good Dad Can Avoid. In the 2014 book, Warren presented accounts of godly fathers who made common, but costly mis-
takes, and he explored ways contemporary dads can handle similar situations. Essentially, wise individuals learn from the mistakes of others. That is why the Bible features candid accounts of the missteps of flawed characters alongside celebrated narratives of unexpected heroes. Chronicles of basic human miscalculations and misdeeds provide rich learning materials for individuals of all eras, whether new parents or contem-
porary college students. “That’s really why these mistakes were put out there for others to see,” Warren said. As for his recent visit to Nexus, Warren told students to view their circumstances through the lens of Christian discipleship. “A legacy is not something that you leave. It’s something that you live every day,” said Warren. “See God’s purpose for your life.” “It’s never too late and it’s never too early to start being great.” | cu
....................................................................................... PR I N C E T O N | On Campus
The Finger of God
M I N I S T R I E S H O S T S P I R I T U A L WA R F A R E C O N F E R E N C E AT P R I N C E T O N By Jon Garaffa, Princeton ’20
The night session on Friday focused on the involvement of spiritual beings in the activities of humanity. Led by David Sharpe, associate pastor of Worship Church New Brunswick, this session emphasized
Walcott ’19, founder of Worship House. “Prayer life is a cornerstone of spiritual defense for many students as they combat performance pressure.” Alexander Pagani, a pastor in New York City, led the session to cap the
conference. Pagani pointed to Noah’s ark – a vessel of deliverance and salvation from judgement. After his talk, Pagani took time for an altar call, saying a short prayer for each student who came up for spiritual deliverance. The positive outcome of the conference was evident. “I saw many
prayer most of all. A highlight of Sharpe’s talk was a reference to Daniel 10, where Daniel prays and heaven responds as he receives a revelation. “David Sharpe pointed out how in Babylon the decree was ‘perform or die,’ and spiritually, that’s what it can feel like on campus,” said Mikal
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
n February, the Finger of God Spiritual Warfare Conference was held in McCosh Hall on Princeton’s campus. The Friday night and Saturday event was presented in collaboration with Kingdom Conferences, Worship Church of New Jersey, and Worship House, a student organization at Princeton. Open to the public, each of the three sessions surpassed 200 attendees. The main aim of the conference was to advocate for spiritual warfare against darkness throughout various sociological, psychological, and supernatural areas of struggle. Its main inspiration was Ephesians 6:12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
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students set free from bondages that entered through lies and experiences of pain. Shame and guilt were erased at the power of God’s love,” declared Sharpe. Spiritual breakthroughs abounded as the sessions continued, each lesson imparting new strategies for spiritual warfare.
“Jesus said the enemy comes in not through the gate, but through another way. The bad fruit of depression, anxiety, or performance pressure always comes in through the back door when we welcome and exalt ideologies like humanism, love of money, or liberal personal ethics,”
remarked Walcott. Princeton students left the conference feeling particularly empowered as they headed back to class. Each prepared once more for the spiritual battles of the semester. | cu
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Poster Campaign Encourages Dating
This Valentine’s Day, the Elizabeth Anscombe Society teamed up with the Love and Fidelity Network for the #TakeAChance poster campaign. The goal of the campaign was to encourage more dating among students as an alternative to hookup culture or a universitysponsored “Sex Week.” The #TakeAChance movement seeks
to humanize dating and encourages students to be casual about asking each other out; “It’s coffee, not a ring” is one of the slogans on the posters.
‘How to Turn Your Idea Into Reality’ In March, Manna Christian Fellowship convened a panel of alumni to discuss entrepreneurial ventures and their Christian faith. How to Turn Your Idea into Reality
was held in McCormick Hall. Speakers included two members of Princeton’s Class of 2011, Ken Kantzer and Becker Polverini, the co-founders of the software and cybersecurity firm, PKC Security. The panel also featured Nyron Burke ’05, founder of Lithero, a Philadelphia-based software company; and Laura Megill (’76, Penn MBA ’06), who previously founded and managed Penncom, an internet service provider in western Pennsylvania.
YA L E | On Campus
Life Worth Living UNIQUE COURSE AT YALE FOSTERS INTROSPECTION By Kayla Bartsch, Yale ’20
sort of normative judgment that is required to tackle the most important questions of our lives.” They agreed with the assertion from esteemed Yale Law School Professor Anthony Kronman, who said that colleges and universities have decided to “give up on the meaning of life.” The Life Worth Living (LWL)
Friedrich Nietzsche.” In engaging with Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, etc., the course places a special focus on locating the normative claims each tradition makes. Fiona Riebeling ’18 took the Life Worth Living course as a first-year student.
Matt Croasmun (Yale ’01, Yale Divinity School ’06) is the director of the Life Worth Living Program at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.
“One of the things I liked most about the course was that after each tradition we covered, Professor Croasmun asked us what it would look like if we implemented the core themes of each tradition into our own lives,” she said. “It’s one thing to think about our own values and beliefs in the abstract sense, but this course really challenged me to reflect on how I was actually putting those into action, and
course is structured as a survey of different religious and/or philosophical traditions. As Croasmun noted in his syllabus, the course material “engages with the lives and visions of founding figures from seven diverse traditions of imagining a good life: the Buddha, the Torah and the Hebrew prophetic and wisdom writers, Jesus of Nazareth, Muhammad, John Stuart Mill, scientific naturalism, and
hat makes a life worth living? This is perhaps the most crucial question a person will ever face, and a question which big universities seem less and less inclined to answer. Students are left to discover the meaning of existence on their own, or they are simply told that their existence is meaningless. Especially in the physical and social sciences, students are often encouraged to regard metaphysical questions as mere sophistry, and to focus instead on questions of an empirical nature. At Yale, however, there is a small, but substantial, community battling this teleologically-emptying trend in higher education. The Life Worth Living Program stares this ultimate question square in the face, and challenges undergraduates to do the same through participation in unique lecture-seminar courses offered within the Humanities Program. Matt Croasmun (Yale ’01, Divinity School ’06, PhD ’14) is the director of the Life Worth Living Program at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, which is housed in the divinity school. A lecturer for the undergraduate Life Worth Living courses, Croasmun noted how it was developed originally by his colleagues at the Yale Divinity School, Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz, “in response to a troubling trend they saw in higher education more broadly, though certainly at Yale, as well.” Volf and McAnnally-Linz observed that “courses are no longer offered that equip students to do the
the spiritual climate on campus
what I was (or wasn’t) concretely doing to shape my life into the one I wanted to live.” Unlike other courses offered at Yale, which ask students to extricate their own experience from the classroom, the LWL course encourages students to grapple with the texts being read and the discussions being had. Rather than the traditional, third-person academic approach, Croasmun notes that “LWL seminars are persistently second person,” that is, “rather than just telling students about the world (though we do that as well), the primary thrust of the seminars addresses the students in the second person, allowing ancient traditions to issue a summons to them across the
ages.” Riebling, who did not grown up in a religious environment, has“always been interested in questions about what makes our lives worth living, but had never had a structured environment to reflect on them and discuss them with others.” The LWL seminar served “as a foundational block of (her) first year at Yale,” shaping the way she thought “about almost every facet of (her) life.” Riebling noted that the LWL course “influenced the trajectories I have chosen to follow over my four years here, as well as where I hope to go and who I hope to be after graduation.” Nardos Kebede ’20, an international student from Ethiopia, took
the class in the fall of her first year. Kebede, a Christian, said, “The class demanded that we bring our own experiences to the table, so I had to engage actively with my religious tradition when discussing other traditions.” Kebede astutely noted that “this class is as much about learning about the course material as it is about yourself...It forces you to think critically about your own choices and values and perhaps reevaluate your priorities.” While there is no easy way to describe what a good life looks like, the LWL program at Yale is helping to ensure that students are, at the very least, leading an examined life – the first step in seeking a life worth living. | cu
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Faith and the Intellectual Life R . R . R E N O S P E A K S AT T H O M I S T I C I N S T I T U T E By Kayla Bartsch, Yale ’20
In his lecture, Reno detudents from across the varied noted four qualities—exemschools of Yale joined local minplified in Mary the mother istry leaders and community members of Jesus—that support the in historic William H. Harkness Hall intellectual life. He argued in April to hear R.R. Reno speak on that these qualities – purity, the topic of the spirituality of the inhumility, courage, and joy tellectual life. – are absolutely essential to Reno is widely admired for his the intellectual life, yet they work as executive editor of First Things, are becoming harder and an ecumenical journal centered on the harder to find amongst the role of religion in public life. He renation’s academic elite. ceived his Ph.D. in Religious Ethics at Reno touched upon a Yale University and previously served crisis prevalent at universities as a professor in ethics and theology R.R. Reno, executive editor of First Things today: academics are so often at Creighton University. magazine, spoke at Yale University in April. focused on not being wrong The event was coordinated by the that they fail to seek out Thomistic Institute at Yale, which, like other campus chapters of the “faith-filled intellectuals to speak on what is right. In a realm completely saturated with skepticism, Reno put national organization, seeks to bring mainly secular campuses.”
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is my chief mentor related to the current glory and reign of God’s Son. I have spent untold hours sitting at his feet as he taught on this thrilling subject. I have spent even more hours poring over all he has written. His words, his phrases, and his thought processes have permeated how I see and think about Jesus. With humble permission, David has allowed me to use his clear thoughts in many of my own writings. Christ be praised! Dr. Richard Ross, professor at Southwestern Theological Seminary and author of Student Ministry and the Supremacy of Christ and Youth Ministry That Lasts A Lifetime
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the spiritual climate on campus
forth that modern academics often find it easier to embark upon the via negativa – to contribute to their discipline by deconstructing the theories of others, without proposing an alternate theory themselves. Thus, although very many are confident of what truth is not, very few have an answer as to what it is.
turning to Augustine’s Confessions, and continually teaching the work to his students throughout the years, played an important role in centering his own studies. Reno noted that there is a danger in spending too much time with our own ideas – what Iris Murdoch termed the “self-occupied mind.” The longer we spend cultivating our
Along with the importance of humility, Reno gave a rallying call for courage in the intellectual life. A person of faith pursuing his studies ought to cultivate a healthy ambition, not shying away from challenging, foreign topics… The theologian emphasized that the intellectual life requires breadth and comprehension – the current danger in universities is the “cult of the expertise.” While the development of intensive knowledge is necessary to flourish in any field, one must maintain a proper, but not exaggerated, dedication to their discipline, remaining focused on the greater questions. In order that faithful academics might avoid the perils of over-sophistication, Reno encouraged them to continually return to the touchstones of their own field. He noted that re-
own ideas, the more we fall in love with them in a sort of self-love. In order to stay pure in the search for truth, Reno propounded the crucial importance of returning to the foundations. Reno continued that a faithful intellectual ought to strive for humility, advancing in healthy self-doubt and the capacity to listen. Sean Bland ’18 said his main takeaway from the talk “was how we must be humble in pursuing the academic and intellectual life. Not only must we be open to new ideas and being proven wrong, but we should read things and learn
about entirely different subjects and fields, both to know more about the world, but also to know just how much we actually don’t know.” Along with the importance of humility, Reno gave a rallying call for courage in the intellectual life. A person of faith pursuing his studies ought to cultivate a healthy ambition, not shying away from challenging, foreign topics. All students have a duty to speak their minds openly in the classroom – students of faith especially. If honest, intellectual discourse cannot take place within the space specifically designed for it, times are dire indeed. Ultimately, Reno reminded his audience of the importance of joy in the academic life. Faithful academics must fight against the sour mood that often permeates universities; for to have any job that revolves around the life of the mind is certainly a blessing. They must not lose sight of the great wonder of it all, the wonder of giving rise to ideas with lives of their own. The intellect is a blessing to be treasured, for through its faculties, we are able to know much more than we could ever experience and seek to be in union with the truth. | cu
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‘What Is the Good Life?’ In April, the Veritas Forum at Yale explored what Christianity has to offer in consideration of the topic, “What is the Good Life? A Discussion on Happiness.” Presenters included: Dr. Laurie Santos, professor of psychology
and cognitive science at Yale, and Dr. Jennifer Frey, assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of South Carolina. The moderator for the event, held in Battell Chapel, was Adam Eitel, assistant professor of ethics at Yale Divinity School. The Veritas Forum at Yale proposed such questions as: “What
is the reason for our unhappiness?” “How do we grapple with the subtle but nagging feeling of unhappiness—or the uglier, more visceral reality of evil?” and “Does practicing virtue under the guise of religion offer just one among many means of coping with unhappiness, or does it teach something different altogether?”
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