Renewing & Redeeming the Campus – What Can We Do?

Last Friday in the midst of crazy weather, I boarded Amtrak in Elizabethtown, PA, to lead a discussion on Renewing & Redeeming the Campus – What Can We Do? at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate Christian Fellowship (PGCF).

Abstract:  PGCF and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is more than a student ministry, we are a university ministry.  We are called to be a redeeming influence among the ideas, people, and structures of higher education.  But what does this bold aspiration mean on a practical level, both in the short and long term, as we wrestle with/within a fallen and flawed context? How do we stay faithful in offering up our “Head, Heart, and Hands” in worship each step of the academic journey, in such a manner that the Kingdom/people of God truly are salt, light, and leaven which renews the university?  Come join the conversation.

During preparation and presentation,* I found the material flowing. Why?  As Mike drew attention to in Campuses Renewed (Mike Hickerson. ESN Blog. 1/25/2011), we have a lot to share.

Below’s the basic outline of Renewing & Redeeming the Campus – What Can We Do? (Thomas B. Grosh IV. 1/28/2011. PGCF)

The Mission of the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN)

  1. Background:  My own and that of those who joined us for the evening, i.e., introductions around the room
  2. Salt-Light-Yeast-Seed Video (1:45) from InterVarsity-twentyonehundred
  3. Glimpse of InterVarsity’s Chapter Building/Missional Christian Material
  4. Salt, light, yeast, seed as lens for stories of Renewing & Redeeming the Campus and to stimulate consideration of what participants have seen/heard along their journey in higher education.  Two focused illustrations:
    1. Ken Elzinga, Professor of Economics, University of Virginia
    2. Mary Poplin, Professor of Education, Claremont Graduate University
  5. Outlining of the Emerging Scholars Network’s mission. Asked participants for “testimonies” in the various aspects of the mission.
    1. Identify
    2. Encourage
    3. Equip
  6. Salt, light, yeast, seed as lens for stories of Renewing & Redeeming the Campus and to stimulate consideration what attendees have seen/heard along their journey in higher education.
    1. Cynthia Lo, Assistant Professor in Dept. of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, Washington U in St. Louis, http://media.intervarsity.org/mp3/SC11-CynthiaLoSunday.mp3 (5:45)
    2. South Central PA Christian Scholar Series (The local incarnation of the Emerging Scholars Network with which I labor):  Andy CrouchStephen NicholsDonald KraybillDennis HollingerDavid C. DowningMary PoplinJenell Williams ParisPhil Thuma.
    3. 2011 Christian Medical & Dental Association (CMDA) Winter Retreat
    4. 2011 InterVarsity National Staff Conference: Faculty Story Videos
      1. Dr. Terry Gustafson, Professor of Chemistry at The Ohio State University, integrates science and faith, with great care for his students (3:10)
      2. Carol Swain, Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University (3:02)
      3. Dr. Austin Busch, an English professor at SUNY Brockport, shares how academic rigor springs from his faith, even when looking at the Bible (3:13)
    5. 2011 MidAtlantic Graduate Student Winter Retreat — Coming up soon.  Can’t wait!  Nothing like having the privilege to direct such an opportunity.  To God be the glory!
  7. New Heavens and the New Earth — Come, Lord Jesus, come.  Come quickly.  We long for a complete renewal and redemption of the creation, an overturning of the brokenness/sin by which we are surrounded, for our “Head, Heart & Hands” to be completely yours in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

I must confess that I ran out of time to show the 2011 InterVarsity National Staff Conference Faculty Story Videos.  Maybe they could be worked in over time if I had opportunity for a series of presentations, during which I’d also develop material along the lines of Loving God in the Flesh in the Real World. Anyone with interest?  For a PDF of the slides with a rough set of notes click 2011 Renewing & Redeeming the Campus (Penn)/2011 Renewing & Redeeming the Campus (Penn) p.4.  For my friends at Penn (and across the Mid-Atlantic), video will show at 2011 MidAtlantic Graduate Student Winter Retreat :-)

*By God’s providence I connected with my InterVarsity Regional Director (Shout out to Kevin!) en route and with friends from my local congregation on the return trip.  The second “God appointment” was excellent preparation for a smaller version of material shared with my local congregation during the Sunday morning worship service.  Interested?  Click 2011 ESN Presentation for Elizabethtown Brethren Christ (Thomas B. Grosh IV. 1/30/2011. PDF.  Note: Christian Scholar Series is the local incarnation of the Emerging Scholars Network).

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God’s creation.

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