by Thomas White, President
At Cedarville University, we have three areas of focus. First, we focus on biblical faithfulness. That’s most important. Without biblical faithfulness, we are just another school. Second, we focus on academic excellence. Some people would have you think that you can’t do both. We believe that is a false dichotomy. A university is at its best when it has a unified worldview focused on pursuing truth, and since ultimate truth is found in Jesus — the Way, the Truth, and the Life — these two in balance provide a complete education for the mind and the soul. The purpose of this article, and to some degree this entire magazine, is our third area of emphasis — fun. We articulate fun as vibrant, joyful, Christian community.
Why do we place this level of emphasis on vibrant, joyful community? Because it honors Christ and demonstrates consistently living out our Christian faith.
You don’t have to look very far in modern society to find people seeking to tear others down, trying to spoil everyone’s joy through legalism, or being the stereotypical curmudgeon. Twitter, blogs, and the internet in general provide endless examples, but make no mistake, these killjoys exist in person, too. Such a disposition contradicts Scripture.
We are to rejoice always, and again Paul writes, rejoice. We are to do all things without grumbling or disputing. We are to consider others before ourselves, looking out not only for our own interest but for the interest of others. We should exhibit humility, recognizing that pride comes before the fall. The last will be first, and the first will be last. Those who want to be great in the Kingdom should seek to serve others.
Live out these biblical principles and you will find an authentically Christian, vibrant, joyful community. A place with this culture will be fun.
If we can model and create a culture where no one takes themselves too seriously — a place where everyone demonstrates humility, recognizing our equality as created in the image of God and our joint need for forgiveness on the level ground at the foot of the cross — then we can create a healthy environment that fosters learning and spiritual growth while having fun.
At Cedarville, we number our days. Psalm 90:12 states, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” We want to live with biblical wisdom, so we remind ourselves often of the concept of “1,000 days.” Three years — approximately 1,000 days — shows up repeatedly in Scripture. While we have most students for four years, they go home for Christmas and summer breaks, which equates to approximately 1,000 days on campus. Consider these biblical references:
- The Israelites spent three years in the Babylonians’ educational system to become productive citizens. We desire our students to spend their 1,000 days learning a biblical worldview to be productive Kingdom citizens.
- Jesus spent three years living life alongside the disciples. Cedarville is a place where godly faculty and staff mentor and disciple our students, eating meals together, attending sporting events, and walking with our students during their 1,000 days.
- Paul prepared for three years for his missionary calling. Our students spend their 1,000 days aligning their God given gifts with their God-given passions to live out His vocational calling for their lives.
We want these 1,000 days of intentional preparation to be the most fun these students have ever had.
From Lawlorpalooza and Printy Wars to Young’s Jersey Dairy ice cream runs, these students should be making memories and friendships that last a lifetime.
Arguably the most depressing book in the Bible is Ecclesiastes, and even that book talks about joy.
- Ecclesiastes 2:23 states that there is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This is from the hand of God.
- Ecclesiastes 8:15 commends joy.
- Ecclesiastes 9:7 and 9 tell us to enjoy life.
If Solomon can commend joy amid telling us that everything is vanity, then Christians redeemed by King Jesus, forgiven of our sins, and assured of a resurrection and eternal life with Him should be the most joyful of all people. We have nothing to fear. We have been forgiven and adopted into a family full of brothers and sisters who share the same Spirit living within them. This shared Spirit allows genuine koinonia, or fellowship, to occur in ways that some humans will never experience.
Christian, you should have joy. The world should look at us with wonder about how we are able to have so much fun and joy in our lives. The genuine Christian should seek to build up and not tear down, to live a life of humility and fun, to encourage others without grumbling and complaining, and to live every day in the reality of the forgiveness of Christ. Doesn’t this type of community sound wonderful?
That’s why at Cedarville we emphasize vibrant, joyful community.
We should have more fun and laugh more than any other group of humans. Our joy flows from living out our theology and creates the best possible environment for educational and spiritual growth. Our greenhouse of growth is fun, and, Lord willing, we will take an attitude of joy with us wherever God calls us to stand for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.