Only a few years ago we celebrated 100 years of Lutherans' distinguished ministry on state university campuses nationwide. In restructuring the ELCA we tucked campus ministry under the umbrella of higher education, dumbing down the intellectual freedom and interchange between theology and culture that campus ministry has provided for decades to highly respected U.S. universities.
|Eastvold, a retired ELCA campus pastor, lives in Port Washington, Wis. |
The church, in step with contemporary communication, apparently links its thinking process to the electronic brain. Paul admonishes us not to conform to the contemporary world but to become transformed through the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2
). Jesus was a teacher who opened minds to discern the truth.
Accompaniment is a big word now. But a more accurate word for the church's relationship to secular higher education is abandonment. In a highly competitive world where students are required to learn and perform in specialized professions, we are reducing budget and support to them in their spiritual discernment and mental awakening to mature faith (see page 48). Their theology rests unexamined or refreshed since vacation Bible school, summer Bible camp, Sunday school and confirmation. Faculty are often not encouraged or engaged in the mind of Christ nor are the power brokers who preside over the administration of these influential institutions.
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