Checking the Spiritual Climate Around You
(This MMM was written by a colleague, Dr. Mike Madaris from Southern Mississippi.)
In becoming a lighthouse to those around you, one key ingredient would be a good knowledge of what is going on around you. An effective lighthouse keeper knows the terrain, so he can direct ships away from danger and towards safety.
In his landmark book, A Christian Critique of the University, the late scholar and statesman Dr. Charles Malik said,
"...to a Christian nothing is more serious than if Christ is not at home in the great citadels of learning...."and
"The universities directly and indirectly dominate the world; their influence is so pervasive and total that whatever problem afflicts them is bound to have far-reaching repercussions throughout the entire fabric of Western civilization. No task is more crucial and urgent today than to examine the state of the mind and spirit in the Western university."I am quite sure you would agree that the university is a vital part of our society and our world. The problem is that the examination Malik speaks of seems too large a task in light of the very immediate demands of teaching, research, service, family, church, and all the other time demands you face.
However, there is a very important as well as a fairly easy way to conduct this examination. Think about the spiritual climate in your department and in your college. Consider the hobbies, the office decorations, the kinds of jokes, and the views on morality in your department and in your college. This will tell quite a bit about the spiritual beliefs of your colleagues.
Note that this does not ask you to decide whether a colleague is "in the Kingdom of God" or not; that's between that individual and God. Nor does it ask you to stand in judgment; that too is God's business.
Try to notice the environment around you on campus this week as if Jesus Himself were experiencing it. What would He think? Would He have you respond? If so, how? Those are the questions embodied in Malik's plea. (Often it is difficult to analyze a situation as an impartial observer when you're in the middle of that situation; I think you'll find it very instructive to take the time to do so.)
Scripture: Titus 3:2-3 -- "...malign no one, be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves..."
Action Point: Prayerfully note the spiritual climate in your department and college this week. Talk with a Christian colleague about how you can have a positive influence -- as an individual and as a team of co-workers. Can you be a lighthouse there?
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