Chapter 3

Hello again, friends! This will be the last blog post until we see each other again next week! It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it… :)
 
This chapter primarily deals with the issue of how our faith is a matter of both the heart and the head. While those at the first universities in America saw the intellect as vitally important to one’s faith, the focus of the “Great Awakening” was certainly more on the heart than in the head. And yet, neither of these approaches had it quite right; indeed, there is something of a balance that better captures what it means to be Christian. The author shows Christ to be one who preached not only for the saving of souls, but also the renewal and changing of minds (p. 58-60). 
 
Rather than wax on about more stuff, I just have some questions for thought:
 
How do you feel like you balance faith and intellect? Do you find yourself to be pretty in the middle or do you tend to lean to one side or the other? Or is it inappropriate to even think of it as some kind of spectrum that you balance out?
 
If you’re being honest with yourself, where do you need to “change your mind” about how you’re following Jesus? (For me personally, the beatitudes in Matthew 5 always come to mind)
 
What’s your personal vision of revival on the campus of SMU? What do you truly expect?

Chapter 2

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In this chapter, I found a lot of truths that I feel like I already “know,” but sometimes just need to be reminded of. Here are a few that stuck out particularly to me:

One of the greatest myths and disempowering concepts of our collegiate years is the faulty idea that real life starts later” (p. 42). Indeed, the “Holy Club” was devoted to this idea that the present moment matters most, and so they were not called to simply float through college. While us SMU students are accustomed to living lives that are full of achievements and things that really make a difference in the “real world,” does this attitude resonate with you in any way, either for yourself or what you’ve witnessed in others?

Even more than that, Sheppard tells us how these particular people sought to engage with the present in a meaningful way: “A rhythm of practical discipleship and steady engagement with suffering people was not simply characteristic of the Oxford Methodists: it was their DNA” (p. 47). As I reflect on my past semester, I acknowledge in myself that I have truly felt a call to be more intentional about both of those things (discipleship and missions), but I certainly have a ways to go before I feel like it’s part of my DNA! And that’s alright, there’s grace in that, but yeah. Where would you like to see your heart, your DNA, more stirred in the coming semester, or where do you feel like it’s already being stirred?

Christianity is essentially a social religion, and to turn it into a solitary religion is indeed to destroy it” (p. 48). That’s a pretty bold claim from Wesley! What do you think about this? Have you had any experiences either verifying or disproving this statement?

Much love – looking forward to hearing y’all’s thoughts on this chapter.

-Blake

Chapter 1

Hello friends! I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas break so far, and have possibly gotten a chance to read through some of God on Campus. If you haven’t yet, it’s a pretty quick read :) Also, please forgive me if the page numbers are off – I’m using an ebook version.

I think there’s a ton that we can glean from this chapter. While the narrative of Henry Dunster at the beginning dragged on a little bit for me, it paints the rest of this chapter and the book in a particular light, and it gives us as Christians a challenging reminder: “There are some things worth rebelling against” (p. 29). For me, I’ve found that I naturally try to “rebel” against certain words or phrases people use that can be more destructive to someone rather than uplifting (my current crusade is against “awkward” – would love to explain more if you’re interested :p). This example is a pretty petty thing, but yeah. What are some things that you find yourself naturally willing to rebel against? How much “rebellion” do you sense God calling us to?

Sheppard tells us that the one of the chief, original purposes of Harvard, according to Dunster, was that each student might come to the realization that the “main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17:3, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning” (p. 32-33). The only foundation? Wow. Is this just an outdated, 370 year old position by a particular guy? Or could that actually still be true for us today?

Indeed, Sheppard’s main objective of this chapter, as I see it, is to show us that “God and academia are by no means mutually exclusive” (p. 34). While all of us reading this probably cognitively realize that, there’s still some sense, at least for me, that we don’t always fully grasp that. Think about your own studies this past semester. How did you see (or not see) God in the midst of those?

And, in light of the stuff in this chapter, and thinking about the fact that we are “Southern Methodist University,” what about this claim: “The Christian college has no need to apologize for its existence. It was the pioneer” (J. Edwin Orr, on p. 34). Do you agree or disagree with this, and why?

Leave a comment with your thoughts/opinions about any of those questions, or about whatever else you found interesting in this chapter!

Love,
Blake

Introduction to the Book

So, I have been super blessed and super challenged by the introduction and the  first chapter of God on Campus.  So, I thought I would begin this blog on this book, by quoting a few passages from the book and then asking a few questions.

So, here we go.

“The soul of our ‘great universities’ is beginning to stir.  Students and professors, young and old, the powerful and the poor are seeking for something more…something bigger” (p 10)

How do you see evidence of this’ stirring’ at SMU?  

Trent Shepherd talks about his dream of a student movement “made up of young people who were disillusioned by certain elements of their religious backgrounds and desperately searching for a faith that was wildly courageous, intellectually honest, socially engaged, and genuinely free.”  (page 17)

How does this vision of a student movement resound with your own vision for the SMU campus?  What would a campus ministry on SMU look like if it had these characteristics?

“This is a book that tells that tale of ordinary people, just like you and me- bold and timid, brilliant and insecure, disillusioned and dangerous, ambitious and naive, holy and fallen, fearless and afraid- people who prayed, people who conspired together with friends in faith and action, people who believed their lives could actually help shape the unfolding narrative of history.”

What part do we have to play in this narrative?

Looking forward to hearing your responses  Feel free to answer one or more of the questions.

Andy

 

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