Stanley Hauerwas’s Advice to Young Christians on Their Way to College


I read this piece when it first appeared in 2010, but I read it again this morning with new eyes. (Thanks for calling it to my attention Marti Eads!) Hauerwas’s open letter to Christian young people heading to college is worth reading in light of the conversation taking place here and at The Pietist Schoolman about the relationship between humanities, Christian colleges, evangelical churches,, and American democracy.

It also hit home for me because my oldest daughter is heading off to college in August.

Hauerwas urges Christian young people to pursue an intellectual life in college.  He wants them to explore the questions that they will be exposed to in their liberal arts and humanities courses. Why? Because the Christian church needs them.

Here is a taste:

Don’t underestimate how much the Church needs your mind. Remember your Bible-study class? Christians read Isaiah’s prophecy of a suffering servant as pointing to Christ. That seems obvious, but it’s not; or at least it wasn’t obvious to the Ethiopian eunuch to whom the Lord sent Philip to explain things. Christ is written everywhere, not only in the prophecies of the Old Testament but also in the pages of history and in the book of nature. The Church has been explaining, interpreting, and illuminating ever since it began. It takes an educated mind to do the Church’s work of thinking about and interpreting the world in light of Christ. Physics, sociology, French literary theory: All these and more—in fact, everything you study in college—is bathed in the light of Christ. It takes the eyes of faith to see that light, and it takes an educated mind to understand and articulate it.

Read the entire piece here.  It is a must read.