Today, Eric Metaxas published an article at CNSNews talking up Christian colleges. The major talking point is that Christian colleges are well rounded while secular schools are one-dimensional. Actually, in the article, he reported the views of NY Times columnist David Brooks. Speaking of Ivy League students, Brooks says:
“They’ve been raised in a culture,” Brooks says, “that encourages them to pay attention to the résumé virtues of how to have a great career but leaves by the wayside … time to think about the eulogy virtues: the things they’ll say about you after you’re dead. They go through their school with the mixture of complete self-confidence and utter terror, afraid of a single false step off the achievement machine.” It’s flat, lifeless, and soul-killing.
But Christian schools attempt to educate their charges in three dimensions. Brooks told Christian college leaders that Christian universities “are the avant-garde of 21st century culture.” Christian colleges “have a way of talking about and educating the human person in a way that integrates faith, emotion and intellect. [They] have a recipe to nurture human beings who have a devoted heart, a courageous mind and a purposeful soul. Almost no other set of institutions in American society has that, and everyone wants it.”
I can’t agree or disagree with Brooks about Ivy League students, but I can say he is close to the mark on the place where I teach.
It interests me that Metaxas resonates with Brooks observations. Recently on Twitter, Metaxas has blocked several Christian college professors who have publicly expressed concerns with his newest book, as well as his support for Donald Trump. To David Brooks observations, I would add that several of the Christian colleges that I know well are not intimidated by the celebrity culture which marks evangelical Christianity. We encourage students to question the status quo both in and outside the church.
Over the past couple of months, Metaxas has blocked Messiah College history prof John Fea, Oklahoma Baptist University English prof Alan Noble (recently unblocked), Tyndale University College Philosophy prof Paul Franks and me. There are others but these are the ones who came to mind. It isn’t a major thing to be blocked and my point isn’t to gripe about that. My point is that in addition to the virtues identified by Brooks, many profs at Christian colleges seek the truth wherever it leads, even when that upsets a few big name apple carts.