Good beginnings start with clarity about who and what you love.Â
The beginning of a new academic year is a good time to take stock of how we may pursue the things we most deeply care about. InterVarsity’s Faculty Ministry, of which the Emerging Scholars Network is a part, has a helpful guide,Â The Four Faculty Loves, that applies well wherever you are on the academic pathway. I would suggest in these last weeks before fall term begins finding a quiet hour to think about how you might pursue who and what you love in this new year. Here are the four loves and a few suggestions for your reflection:
Love God & Love One Another:
- What one practice do you want to make sure is part of your life that nurtures your love for God and your awareness that you are His beloved?
- Who (even two or three) will you regularly join with on campus for prayer, care, nurture, and encouragement in pursuing your shared calling on your campus?
Love Your Campus:
- For whom in your circle of acquaintance (students, peers, staff, and faculty) will you pray and be open to the ways God would show his love for them in Christ through you?
- How will you offer your work on campus of research, teaching, and service as works of love?
Love Your Discipline:
- How will you cultivate what Jeff Hardin speaks of as “doxological fascination” inÂ your field of study?
- What question about the intersection of your faith, discipline, and practice will you pursue and how could you go about that?
Love Our World:
- What is something in the world that shows up on your campus that breaks the heart of God?
- How might God be inviting you, in even a small way,Â to be part of bringing Kingdom shalom to campus and human flourishing in the world?
Don’t feel you need to come up with responses to all of these. They are suggestions for reflection. Focus on those that catch your attention. Chances are, you are already pursuing these loves to some degree. It may come down to one invitation God has for you to grow in love this year.
This article first appeared in the August 2022 update for members of The Emerging Scholars Network. If you don’t receive these updates, we invite you to join the Emerging Scholars Network today. It’s free!