“A small crisis of my faith” is how the student put it.


“A small crisis of my faith” is how the student put it. His email to me included an attachment of a letter he was writing to the campus paper. Turns out his young heart and mind were troubled by what appeared to him to be a contradiction of faith and life at a public event not long ago. So he exercised the very proper and academic right of public expression to voice his convictions. It is the stuff of university life—this free-for-all exchange of thought and belief. Whether this young adult’s opinion is the minority opinion these days is really immaterial, isn’t it? An institution of higher learning like this one is the great protector of such expression. And a Christian university is surely even more the defender of a faith confession such as this young man has made, is it not?
I replied to his email with these words: “Thank you for your note and the attached SM letter. Well written and clearly expressed. God will honor your desire to live faithfully for him. And I’m certain he will bless your witness via the campus paper. BTW, don't worry about the numbers—Daniel, his three friends, Joseph, Esther, John the Baptist and Jesus didn't! God will have his way. So keep kneeling down . . . and standing up . . . for him! DKN.”
Why share this simple email exchange? Because university churches need at times to give voice to those whose voices may otherwise be unheard, ignored or drowned out. While the academy across this nation seems more and more to be chained to its own veneration of political correctness (read, the majority opinion), is it not the place and cause of the community of Christ to give voice to those who humbly seek to know the meaning of faithfulness in contradistinction to the majority? The issue here is not the issues of the young man’s concern, but rather a pastoral affirmation that wider communities must be defenders of narrower interests (which may not be so narrow after all, given Jesus’ own propensity to champion the “narrow way”—Matthew 7:13, 14).
The student was concerned his letter might not see the light of day, and so wrote me to be assured at least someone would hear his heart. It was heard. And having heard, I am reminded that perhaps it is in the hearing that some of the most important teaching takes place. And surely that is what this academy is most about, isn’t it?

Comments

I must agree that everyone must be given an opportunity to voice their opinion, no matter how insignificant their status or opinion may be to us because we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord. James, the apostle, warns us about making distinction of persons. Also, I think we are better communicators when we spend time listening to others and speaking in due time. God bless!

Thank you for your insight on how important small matters can be. Although not small at all the young man writing you. Having been heard and acknowledged is rare these days. You truly "taught" that at least one person,CAN be trusted with his thoughts and feelings. Kudos to you for showing him the human face of Christ.

Thank you for your touching letter. A community of faith is built by hearing and listening to everyone within it! (young and old). Let us all take time to hear each other!! It is time to press together!

I agree that we as a church need to be more open about discussing Biblical issues. We hear it said that "There is yet much light to shine forth from the law and from the gospel of righteousness." And yet no one in "officialdom" seems at all eager to discuss "new light." If this young man has expressed a concern, perhaps this might be a place to start, especially if it can be expressed as a general concern, not as a personal vindetta against another person. Let's hear some real discussion. Let's back up our opinions with scripture. Let's see if the theologians and church leaders are willing to discuss Biblical issues openly.

Dear Pastor Nelson, I attend a young man with disabilities to a local State College. This has been my first academic encounter with the secular and evolutionistic approach to education. It has been very disappointing the universal lack of interest and downright disapproval from students and professors to anything pertaining to the God of Creation. Keep keeping on Pastor as our young people are going to face this outright skepticism and unbelief as they go from our schools. I pray often for you and your ministry. Sincerely, Wanda Scarbrough Buena Vista, Colorado

TRUE CONFESSION COMES BY SPEAKING OUT AND THAT I BELIEVE THAT IF PEOPLE GET TO KNOW THAT AND SEE REASON WHY THEY SHOULD AND ALSO BE GIVING CHANCE TO AIR THEIR VIEWS AND MIND, IT WILL BE WONDERFUL TO THE GLORY OF GOD. THANKS

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