Thank-you to Bob Trube for sharing his introduction to the 2014 MidWest Faculty Conference (dare I say “Dialog”) on The Ends and Goals of Higher Education in Twenty First Century America: Change and the Calling of the Christian Educator (InterVarsity’s Cedar Campus) with the Emerging Scholars Network!
What a kick-off to a tremendous collaborative endeavor/working community. Much more coming, feel free to chime in with your insights and questions. To God be the glory! ~ Thomas B. Grosh IV, Associate Director, Emerging Scholars Network
Conference Introduction: Esther 4:10-14
10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
What is the time we are in? I think you would all agree that it is a time of sweeping change in the university world—changes in how instruction is delivered, changes reflecting societal demands upon academia for STEM training, changes in funding and enrollments. This is a cause for hand-wringing in many circles. That’s not what this conference is about. It will be a time to explore in presentations and conversations, in times in the scripture and prayer, times alone and together what it means that God has called each of us to our respective positions in such a time. This conference is about the idea that God might be calling us to something more than putting our heads down and focusing on our work and complaining about the changes taking place around us.
Some friends have said, “Wow, the ‘end’ of higher education. Sounds depressing. I don’t believe that is the call of God’s people.” We believe that the love of God and the love of learning go together. If you study our history, you see we are the ones who thought up the university as a place where people were instructed to understand the handiwork of God and how they might exercise responsible dominion over his creation to his glory. Even though many of us are connected with public institutions, we recognize that these are culturally important places that are worth preserving and strengthening because of the glory that might be brought to God and the service to society. May God give us grace to seek the peace and prosperity of these places.
We’ll speak much more of these things in the next days. . . .
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!