Engaging univ benalin final
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UESI Foundation day celeberation
Engaging the Whole University for Christ
- Benalin. C.R (Vimal)
A Hindu teacher taching Bible from Hindu perspective in BHU
A pro communist teacher teaching English lit from communist perspective
Many Christian and other students interested to join Bible studies avoiding Bible
studies by giving reason
'we want to study'
A Christian alumini in BHU avoiding EU-EGF
meeting to concentrate in academics
WHY THIS DISCONNECT?
UESI in the 20th and 21st Centuries
Success: “students reaching students”
Challenge: “engaging the whole university”
So as to transform the student community as
UESI's vision statement states.
NOT ENGAGING THE WHOLEUNIVERSITY. WHY?
● What do we normally conduct?
● What efforts we could have done?
● What constitutes a whole university?
What constitute a Whole University?
Undergraduates Graduate students Faculty Research staff Administrators Workers
Critical thinking Search for truth
Tackling the big issues • In scholarship• In the world
Biblical Basis for engaging university
Colo 1 : 15- 20
Gen 1 & 2, Adam naming
Lk 4 43: Establishing Christ's kingdom in campuses
Theological Framework for engaging
Colo 1 : 15- 20 – God is the owner of all field of study. He created them for His great plan
Man with his sinful nature has corrupted many of these fields by his fallen priorities without any acountability to God. But God
acounted for its redemption in Christ
Our call to be responsible stewards in field of studies
Problems faced by India and the world calls for engaging
What hinders us from engaging the whole university?
• A narrow understanding of the gospel seen only in terms of personal salvation
A divided understanding of life in terms of 'sacred' and 'secular'
So we ended up making “Christian” students instead of “Christian students”
“God has called me to work at the university. I can have as much influence there as pastors can in a church, in a way. It sounds kind of mystical, but there’s that inner urging. I think even a non-Christian can understand that. There’s this desire, this goal, and that’s what God puts in people. That basically is what calls them to their profession or where they’re to be.” (microbiology professor)
3 Diamensions of Engaging the university
• Understanding the culture and dominant worldviews of the modern university
• Forming learning and witnessing Christian communites• Seeking to influence universities so that they become
more humane and just institutions, instruments of the Kingdom of God rather than mammon
Forming Learning and witnessing communities
• Students, researchers, faculty, administrators engaging holistically, dialogically and prophetically with the diverse conversations, academic and the non academic.
• This is more than evangelism and apologetics• It makes us open to learn from others and to make Christian
contribution to study, research, administration and teaching• This eventually proves as to how Christianity of the Bible is
the answer to the problem of mankind.• This constitutes Christian mind contributing to nation building
The Dialogic model of engaging
Takes the university seriously on its own terms Regards the university ministry as a distinctive
calling, not a reproduction of the local church on a university campus
Engages the mind
Injects faith into all conversations in the university
Seven Principal Features It is proactive. It brings Christ to the great issues of major universities and
the great issues to Christ
It is expansive: it nurtures the minds of Christian students and engages Christian faculty
It is comprehensive: it shines the light of Christ into every corner of the university
It respects the intellectual gifts of the students and faculty It is relevant – it takes on the big issues of current academic life
It listens as well as speaks
It enjoys intellectual community
Fundamental Shifts The Christian mind is enjoyed as enthusiastically as the
Christians move from the edge of the university into its heartland
Christians learn “to think Christianly” about every issue encountered by the university
The barriers between students and faculty are reduced
Christian students are prepared to be leaders in every sphere: society, government, the market, the church, the media, science, technology, public administration, sport
Examples of Reachingthe Whole University
Undergraduates & Graduate Students
Advanced Graduate Students & Faculty
The Whole Campus
Example: Undergraduates & Graduate Students
in New Delhi, India
Summer Study Program
6 weeks, 5 days a week, 5 hours per day
Reading 2-5 books per week Christian readings Other readings
• From the Ruins of Empire by Pankaj Mishra
• Empire by Niall Fergusson• The Black Economy in India by
Arun Kumar• The Ascent of Money: A
Financial History of the World by Niall Fergusson
• Black Money Laundering• Cloning• Protest against
Government• International Trade
Negotiations• Climate Change Summit
Example: Doctoral Students in U.S., Australia
Student Passion Talks, Stanford University
10-15 minute talks
Student research & intersections with faith
Topics:• Artificial intelligence & game
design• Computer science and
hacking, open-source software
• Psychology and neuro-science
University of Queensland
Topic: Christians Engaging the University
20 faculty, post-docs, graduate students
International relations, biochemistry, physics, computer science, law
Example: Whole Campus, University of San Carlos,
Arts Festival for Justice
Christians in Guatemala mostly silent on violence, corruption, inequality, racism
Goal: show a different face of Christianity to the university
Approach:• An arts festival on campus focused on justice• Authorized as part of campus-wide student program• Students wrote ‘mini-plays’ to perform on stage• Student wrote a theme song• Students created a painting exhibition—a collage on justice
Results: 100 people performing on stage -- 600-700 attending festival
Example: Campus-wide Impact, Nigeria
NIFES Social Response Unit
Goal: “quest for total and absolute engagement of our students with contemporary social realities.”
Approach: Social Response Unit
Programs:• HIV/AIDS tests, education• Free medical checkups• Stress management seminars • Job training• Corruption seminars
See SPAN for more . . . .
Example: Project Gratitude, Singapore
Goals• Mobilize entire student body to express appreciate to campus workers (e.g., cleaners,
bus drivers, security guards)• Create a “culture of gratitude and compassion.”
Approach: • Offer a small gift—a piece of fruit, a cup of coffee—to campus workers • Present workers with a note of gratitude for their work• Create a public exhibit of photo essays
Results:• Surprise and gratitude from workers• Campus-wide coverage, including student newspaper
See SCAN for more . . . .
Future Example? Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1958)
Things Fall Apart, “after Ghana’s independence, for many Africans, the most important event for a whole generation.”
A powerful critique of Christianity
8 million copies sold – translated into 50 languages
How can we use this novel now to engage the university in Africa? In the Global North? Elsewhere in former colonies?
What conversations could we have in the university with Christians and non-Christians about the themes of Things Fall Apart?
See SPAN for more . . . .
“the goal of UESI is to release the creativity of young people.”
Gideon Para-Mallam Exciting IFES innovations come from students
Young people do not know that something cannot be done
They don’t know that something is impossible
They invent AND they act
May we, who are older, give them the oxygen to breathe new energy into IFES movements
Questions to ponder
Why do you think your academic field is very precious in God's sight?
Can you write down few points as to how you can integrate your subject with the redeeming gospel?
What activity can we think of this academic year for engaging the whole university?
Prayer by samuel johnsonAlmighty God, in whose hands are all the powers of man; who givest understanding, and takest it away; who as it seemeth good unto Thee, enlightenest the thoughts of the simple, and darkenest the meditations fo the wise, be present with me in my studies and enquiries.
Grant, O LORD, that I may not lavish away the life which Thou hast given me on useless trifles, not waste it in vain searches after things which Thou hast hidden from me.
Enable me, by the Holy Spirit, so to shun sloth and negligence, that every day may discharge part of the task which Thou hast allotted me; and so further with Thy help that labour which, without thy help must be ineffectual, such success as will most promote thy glory, and the salvation of my own soul, for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Sources● Articles published in “Campus Link” (UESI's bi-monthly magazine)
– Engaging the University by Raj Mandol
– Students... Engage your campus as stewards by Reji Koshi Daniel
– Rethink UESI by Sathish Joseph Simon
● Audio lectures:
– Henry Martin lecture on “Engaging the University” by Dr. Vinoth Ramachandra
– Word and World – Engaging the university by Dr. Terence Halliday
● Some online resources:
– IFES Engaging university fb group https://www.facebook.com/groups/193305160731645/