UESI Foundation day celeberation Engaging the Whole University for Christ - Benalin. C.R (Vimal)
Few Stories 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 20th Century Success: students reaching students 21st Century Challenge: engaging the whole university So as to transform the student community as UESI's vision statement states.
NOT ENGAGING THE WHOLE UNIVERSITY. WHY? What do we normally conduct? What efforts we could have done? What constitutes a whole university?
What constitute a Whole University? People Undergraduates Graduate students Faculty Research staff Administrators Workers Programs Teaching Research 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 and purpose 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
Quotes 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 theres that inner urging. I think even a non- Christian can understand that. Theres this desire, this goal, and thats what God puts in people. That basically is what calls them to their profession or where theyre 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 Christian soul 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 Reaching the Whole University Undergraduates & Graduate Students Advanced Graduate Students & Faculty The Whole Campus Staff
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 Topics Black Money Laundering Cloning Protest against Government International Trade Negotiations Climate Change Summit debates www.summerstudy2013.wordpress.com
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, Guatemala 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 exhibitiona 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 gifta piece of fruit, a cup of coffeeto 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 Ghanas 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 . . . .
Process 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 dont 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 johnson Almighty God, in whose hands are all the powers of man; who givest understandi