This week a guest lecturer is coming to my campus to speak about Christian mission. I work at a small private Christian liberal arts college in the Northeast, and I think this guy plans on talking about things I’d expect the students around here to be into: social justice and serving the poor. I know this because the “speaker-guy” (as I used to call him) is a friend of mine. I rented a room from and hung out with him and his family years ago before I was married.
I’m a little anxious. He’s been speaking publicly in recent months about ideas he’s previously kept to himself. Stuff about biblical interpretation, judgment and eternal damnation, gay people. In fact it’s a lot of the things I hear discussed by emerging Christians (and the traditionalists who loathe their theology).
But maybe it won’t be so bad. The students (and faculty and staff) at my college are pretty good examples of people without a 100% buy-in to the comfortable cultural system that rationalizes the hoarding of wealth at the expense of others. A lot of the students coming through my classes plan post-graduation lives of service. It will take many of them a long, long time to pay off their college debts because they will be working for development organizations that don’t pay jack (at least in dollars).
All of this is central to my friend’s typical message. Other Christian colleges that have been canceling his speaking engagements, even asking him to leave early in one case, probably don’t have the commitment to radical service to the poor that Speakerguy calls for in his sermons and lectures.
I mean, I hope not anyway.