In his address to the entering Freshman Class of 2020 at Yale University, President of Yale University, Peter Salovey, spoke about “Countering False Narratives.” Let’s overhear in part what he had to say:
President Salovey goes on to say two things more: (1) A good education is one where you become “a more careful and critical thinker,” learning “the difficult, painstaking skills you will need in order to evaluate evidence, to deliberate more broadly and more carefully, and to arrive at your own conclusions.” (2) A good education is one where you “learn how and why to gravitate toward people who view things differently than you do, who will test your most strongly held assumptions.”
From my earliest days in the church, I have witnessed the church to be a Yale-of-sorts — a place to come and reason together, a place to experiment, a place to sift through all sorts of ideas, beliefs, and world views. The educational components of the worshipping community always keep debate of one sort or another alive and well. People in the pews learn how to wrestle with all kinds of viewpoints and perspectives. Often it is the preacher who opens us to the wide diversity of opinion and thought, helping people learn to think for themselves. Really good preachers teach people to search for their ideological cliffs, sprout wings, and fly.
I once heard it said that the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world and that the Bible is the smallest library. Likewise, I have come to view the church as the largest university in the world and every human being in their quest for understanding as the smallest university. Each Sunday the church gathers together all around the world to equip the saints to do some deep thinking on matters of importance, helping “to construct new foundations for tackling the most intractable and challenging questions of our time.”
Been thinking that the church is insignificant, immaterial, impertinent, irrelevant, and out of touch. Not my church. In my church hearts are touched, eyes are opened, ideas are shared, problems are solved, no one is expendable, and all are loved. I believe that my church can change the world for the better. I believe that my church will change the world for the better. There is nothing else like it in all the world, not even Yale.