I’m posting from my temporary assignment at Ocean City NJ where, as I’ve said at my Facebook site, I’ve been teaching and sharing life with a group of college students at the CCOs annual student leadership experience, the summer-long Ocean City Beach Project. What a privilege it was earlier in the summer to help train the professional CCO campus ministers (as I blogged about a week or so ago–scroll down) and now to meet some of their sharpest students. The house here in OC is spacious and warm (in more ways than one) and we have our traveling book display laid out on pool tables and end tables and shelving borrowed from the kitchen. In between their work and beach fun, meetings and ministry, classes and cooking, they browse the display, and have bought plenty. (One donor, and old OCBP teacher, offers some money to subsidize their purchases a bit. THANKS!) The students have had guest speakers all summer and have learned what community life is like as they sharpen their leadership skills for their upcoming fall semester.
I am grateful for how they befriended me and my family—even the ones lost in HP7 this week. These students represented maybe a dozen different colleges, and various majors and interests. They all work at day jobs on the boardwalk or town, and have all kinds of learning experiences, small groups and Bible studies through-out the week.
My topic complimented their more specific weeks on racial justice, leadership, evangelism, Bible study and such. I gave my lectures on integrating faith and learning, being faithful in academic discipleship (for the sake of culture-shaping, world-tranforming social innovations), helping them relate their Christian worldview to the callings and careers learned in the classroom. From Steve Garber’s essential book (Fabric of Faithfulness) to the resources on worldview and the Christian mind by James Sire, from Al Wolters Creation Regained to Neal Plantinga’s Engaging God’s World, we called these young students to a robust and sturdy faith that can withstand the fierce (or the subtle) opposition found on most modern campuses. (I hope you linked to my op-ed piece in the York Sunday News last week where I pondered the state of contemporary college life. Again, scroll down a few posts below if you haven’t read it.) That there is much need for deep discernment in our culture, and in the college classroom, as students nurture the mind of Christ should be evident. For some students, though, and usually their churches, and sometimes even campus workers, the radical call to “take every thought captive” comes as a bit of a shock. The vast implications, once realized, opens new and challanging vistas of ways to connect faith and thinking, devotion and life, prayer and politics, our deepest cares and our longed for careers. One student said I shook her up a bit, “in a good way.” Let’s hope.
It is our conviction that the best resource on these things for college students is the new book, The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness: A Guide for Students by Derek Melleby and Don Opitz (Brazos; $14.00)which I have raved about here before. Readers of BookNotes should know I’m close to these guys and feel involved in the manuscript. You can see the advertisement about it on the left.
You know how many books I love and how many new ones I commend; this one gets an banner ad here because we are so committed to making it known. If you are reading this and know anyone in college who has an interest in Christian discipleship and living out faith in relevant ways, this book is a must. If space permitted I’d share portions we read together here at the OCBP. It is both radical and fun; serious-minded and light-hearted. Perfect.
Here’s a special deal. I’ve talked before about the very handsome journal we sell, the special issues of the quarterly Comment, entitled “How to Make the Most Out of College.” This is a great collection of essays on several key aspects of college life (from forming friendships to learning how to ask questions, from appreciation of the arts to developing habits of reading, written by your truly.) We usually sell it for $8.00 and it is a marvelous resource for students wanting to ponder some important questions and learn life-giving habits about their college experiences. We’ll give ya a free one for every Outrageous Idea… you buy. OCBP students liked it. I’d bet that students you know would too. Email or call us today!
We will give this special issue of Comment
with any purchase of
The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness: A Guide for Students.