From One Christian College President in Virginia to Another…

Loren Swartzendruber
Swartzendruber will be retiring from EMU at the end of this academic year – Eastern Mennonite University

If I’d just been a bit more patient, I could have saved myself the time and trouble of writing my own response to Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. and just let Eastern Mennonite University president Loren Swartzendruber talk. (H/T Scot McKnight)

Mine ended by reflecting on the season of Advent; that’s where Loren’s starts:

Advent is traditionally a time of unrest, of unease, of latent coming. Yet, as a practicing Christian of some 50 years, a pastor, and the president of Eastern Mennonite University – a Christian university in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition – I find this Advent to be one during which I am experiencing a constant call for the presence of Jesus.

The attacks in Paris, recent violent attacks in South Carolina and California in the United States, expressed hatred towards immigrants, and now the sight of another Christian university president urging, in fact condoning acts of violence, to his student body – I feel an obligation to publicly enter this conversation.

I’m so glad he did. Liberty and EMU might both be described as Christian universities in Virginia — just over 100 miles apart, actually — but their leaders couldn’t sound more different from each other.

You should read the full post, but especially heed Loren’s multi-part call

• for reaffirmation of the invitation of Jesus and his teachings to love our enemies;

• for dialogue and engagement with those who are different than us;

• for greater sensitivity to language that condemns others and absolves us of moral responsibility;

• for national and local leaders who refuse to articulate simplistic answers to complex societal problems;

• for U.S. political candidates who dare to call us to our best, and choose not to play to our base fears.

And I’ll happily let those bullet points speak for me in opposition to Donald Trump’s latest outrage. I only have so many “a response to” posts in me.

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