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Putting the faith back in Faith, Reason and Justice

Most of us here at Eastern would not be surprised to learn that the university’s mission statement is summed up in the triad of faith, reason and justice. This motto is certainly something heard and reiterated time and time again at Eastern, and it is something that sets Eastern apart from many other Christian universities. But how many of us actually strive to act out all three of these principles?

When I examine my own Christianity, I can’t exactly say I run down the checklist of whether or not I am engaged in faith, reason and justice. There is obviously much more to being a follower of Christ than those three commitments. However, they are certainly important and crucial principles if we truly desire to live like Christ. The question is how we go about implementing these principles in our daily lives.

At Eastern, we have required courses to further our theological understanding of the Bible and Christianity. We also have required courses to teach us how to perform social justice. In fact, of the three components of the triad, it seems as though justice is the most prevalent at Eastern. Eastern boasts numerous clubs geared toward social injustices, as well as the requirement for all students to participate in at least twenty hours of service learning. There are also on-going debates covering topics such as homosexuality and abortion, for example, which are without a doubt important issues, and I am proud to attend a Christian university that encompasses these things.

However, I find it disheartening that our personal expressions of faith seem to be lacking here at Eastern. This inequality is unfortunate because the triad is not truly complete without the correspondence of all three components. With the exception of chapel and grow groups, it seems as though strengthening our faith as believers is not as much of a priority as the other two commitments of reason and justice. But how do we encourage this strengthening of our faith?

The truth is that increasing one’s faith must be a personal desire and a daily growth experience. Faith is not simply knowledge that can be gained and getting your theology right – it is taking action both inwardly and outwardly. It is not just the desire to grow as a Christian; it means to actively follow Christ. This cannot be taught in a classroom. However, my hope is to see our faith included within our everyday lives, especially during our time at Eastern. This includes not only enacting justice but also constantly striving to let the fruits of the Spirit be evident in everything we do – especially in our relationships with one another. If we cannot wholly express our faith at Eastern, then how can we expect to be witnesses for Christ after we graduate?

As followers of Christ, we must strive to not only have a personal relationship with Him but to share our faith with the world, including our fellow believers, treating one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. This actively based faith will result in and manifest itself in our commitments to reason and justice.

There is no doubt that a growing knowledge of Christ and performing social justice is what we as Christians are called to do. But let us live Christ-like lives not just by our knowledge and actions but though our entire beings.

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24

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