The beginning of a new academic year is an exciting time at OBU. Students move in, settle into classes, make new friends and enjoy community on Bison Hill. I often become nostalgic at this time of year, reflecting on my own experiences while a student and contrasting them to the events of today.
At the beginning of the semester, I was privileged to share the message at Convocation, an annual tradition for OBU presidents. As I prepared the message, God placed a charge in my heart to speak on racial reconciliation and the need, in our country, in our churches, in our homes, and in our University, for shalom. Completeness, contentment, wholeness, peace.
I challenged our University community to address this because reconciliation is at the heart of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus, and as believers, we are called to be ministers of reconciliation. I am convinced that we must use the creative skills, talents, and intellectual gifts that God has granted us as a community of scholars, to work together toward solutions that foster shalom.
Academically, we must become more diverse among our faculty, staff and students. We must insure the inclusion of minority scholarship within our fields of study.
Socially, we must engage one another as brothers and sisters in Christ to develop meaningful relationships with one another without allowing skin tones and ethnic backgrounds to limit our friendships.
Culturally, we have a mandate in our mission statement to engage a diverse world. We must provide opportunities for our students to participate in international study programs to become better informed and more mature believers and citizens.
At OBU, we seek shalom. It is at the root of who we are. OBU is a distinctively Christian university that transforms lives by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of the high calling of God in Christ.
May we have the courage to forge ahead boldly in tearing down old walls that separate us, and build new structures that unite us. May we do so with great love for one another. May we seek, and may God grant that we should find, shalom.