The Commons Spring 2018: Graduation Edition - Page 5

President’s Welcome WELCOME TO THE COMMONS, the New Saint Andrews College period- ical for alums, students, and friends of the college. This is our special print edi- tion in honor of Commencement 2018. We take this opportunity to say goodbye to our graduates; it has been a privilege to instruct and equip you for “living a life worthy of the calling.” A busy and glorious Spring has come upon us. The Grace Agenda confer- ence, only recently completed, brought a number of both old friends and new guests to town; quite a few of them were prospective students who came to visit our campus for the first time. If you ha- ven’t come to a Grace Agenda weekend yet, I highly recommend that you find time to attend one. The conference theme this year was “enraging the culture,” and I was asked to speak on the challenge before us in the world of higher education. For one portion of my talk, I focused on the question of what exactly the purpose of education is, because over the last fifty years there has been a dramatic shift in how we answer this question. The older understanding of what con- stituted an education has recently been reduced to the acquisition of skills and credentials necessary to be hired for a particular job. We think less now of be- ing “educated” and more of being “certi- fied.” College education, once primarily It is not fitting for the children of God to see themselves as merely hopeless cogs in a large employment machine. We are called to be leaders and shapers of our culture. a liberal arts venture, was intended to in- still and sharpen the qualities necessary for cultural leadership. But now college is primarily thought of as specific voca- tional training. While at first this shift may feel very subtle, the implications are fairly significant. Someone who seeks “certification” wants to become qualified to perform the list of tasks associated with a certain career. However, someone who seeks education wants to learn how to think broadly and critically about a whole host of larger matters. While the “quali- fied” man looks to become employable, the educated man looks to become in- fluential. The result is that the former becomes someone well-suited to follow orders and the latter becomes someone well-suited to give the orders. Of course, since vocational training is obviously necessary at some level, I don’t want to dismiss the importance of being well trained for certain jobs. But it is a shame if we do so with a dilut- ed understanding of what an education really looks like. As Christian men and women, we have been called to advance God’s kingdom, to fill and subdue, to preach and to baptize. It is not fitting for the children of God to see themselves as merely hopeless cogs in a large employ- ment machine. We are called to be lead- ers and shapers of our culture. This is why we continue our labors here at NSA; to provide a rigorous liberal arts education and pray that God will be glorified in the lives of our graduates. Dr. Benjamin Merkle President SPRING 2018 5