(25.) F is for Fools for Christ

(25.) F is for Fools for Christ

(25.) F is for Fools for Christ

Is there a more difficult place to swallow pride than academia? In education, where impressive credibility is sought, where so many believe that knowledge is power and prestige, intentionally becoming a fool for Christ is very tough sledding. What happens when we decide not to conform to this world’s way of thinking (Romans 12:1-2), when what we believe runs upstream against the academic current? Then, we begin rowing in the same boat with God’s fools in ages past and present, most of whom were not defensive for Christ or feeling like some woebegone victim, but instead cheerfully, obediently foolish in the eyes of the world. That’s right, our very reason for being at some point will run counter to conventional wisdom. Sooner or later, what Flannery O’Conner said will ring true… “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.”

After all, we do believe that absolute truth exists and is knowable, that Creation, Fall and Redemption is God’s outline in HisStory. Countercultural to say the least. Even more outlandish, we believe in a personal Creator God who fashioned a moral universe, in which each person is an icon, an image of this God, so each human being is sacred, unique, and full of worth and┬ádignity. Hence, we believe in the historical fact of Jesus, God with flesh on, the world’s only spiritual genius.

But what about ambition, America’s great blind spot, or more specifically academic ambition, where self-advancement is the highest goal? Christ-centered schools need to keep examining ourselves: How do Christians measure success, and to what extent does our success model imitate gospel values? How do we order our academic community, and does it reflect a biblical vision? I believe our holy ambition is to be the presence of Jesus in the academic marketplace, keeping our intellectual integrity while remaining servants of the truth, bearing witness to heavenly foolishness with winsome balance, developing not only a school culture where students love to learn, but also where students learn to love. “Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool. That’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid.” (1 Corinthians 13:18, Message)