Message from the President
Breaking the Wall
We recently hosted nearly 300 first-year students who are looking forward to attending George Fox in the fall. We call this event Genesis because it represents a beginning for new students as they get introduced to campus, meet their advisor, register for classes and take the first steps to becoming “known” at George Fox. It is also my goal to help them understand that we believe each of them is a unique creation of God, gifted in special ways to make a difference in this world (and the next). It is the sole purpose of every faculty and staff member at George Fox to equip students well for what we often refer to within our faith-based community as their calling.
In our culture we most often define work as the thing we do to earn a living. It is the secular part of our existence providing us with meaning at times but most often giving us currency that we use to fund more meaningful pursuits – churches, mission efforts, family activities and other things where we gain purpose in life. I suppose in some context this division is at the root of the sacred/secular divide in our culture, and it has extended itself into the educational community. Often when parents today consider a college education for their children they focus on careers that provide strong job prospects. Education is expensive and one needs to ensure that the money invested achieves an appropriate “return.” It is not surprising, then, that we have seen growth in majors that lead to more clearly defined careers – business, engineering, nursing, graphic art, media and communications, and education.
A George Fox education is far more than adding religion or faith to a career-preparatory major. We are focused on breaking the wall that divides the secular and the sacred. As I considered this issue of the Journal, I reread an essay by a noted Christian writer of the 20th century, Dorothy Sayers. In her initial discussion she criticizes the church for failing to see the importance of work. She writes:
“But is it astonishing? How can any one remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life? The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables.”
For Sayers, work was the place where we were most like the Creator – using our unique gifts to create and to serve. I agree. Christ offers a more compelling vision of life, one that transforms all aspects of human work, play and worship.
Sayers continues: “Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”
Yes! We want to be the Christian university of choice for Christ followers and world changers! It is our commitment that students will be challenged to view life through the eyes of Christ – where work is a place of calling.
In this issue of the Journal, you are going to read about several of our recent graduates and how they are finding their callings after George Fox. As you read the stories of our former students, I hope you will find excitement, meaning and a true sense of a vision for these young lives.