Summer 2016

Dirt-Filled Trucks and Spirit-Filled Believers

By Jason Newell

From my window in Metzger Hall, I’ve got a front-and-center view of a massive pit opening up in the ground near Biola’s main entrance. Don’t worry, though: It’s the good kind of pit.

Each day over the past couple of months, I’ve watched a steady procession of trucks descend a dirt slope to haul away loads of freshly excavated earth. Each day, their work has moved further into the ground, getting us a bit closer to construction of the new Alton and Lydia Lim Center for Science, Technology and Health.

And while the view isn’t the prettiest and the tractors’ roars can be distracting — think of the T. rex from Jurassic Park — to me, these are the sights and sounds of God’s faithfulness. When I look out the window, I see his hand at work. In just a matter of months, the classrooms and equipment in this building will begin to prepare future generations of Christians for leadership roles in the ever-expanding and ever-more-important fields of science, technology and health care. I’m excited about what will take place in this building over the coming decades.

More than just anticipation of the future, though, the coming and going of the trucks has also given me a daily reminder of the significance that seemingly small and mundane activities can have for the fulfillment of a greater purpose. When the dust finally settles, the new building will have been built through tens of thousands of actions by thousands of people: paperwork submitted, prayers prayed, donations given, meetings attended, dump trucks filled.

When we look around at the broken state of our world — with its cultural shifts, political disarray, refugee crises, racial strife, spiritual emptiness — it’s natural to want radical, sudden change. But much like a building doesn’t materialize overnight, God doesn’t bring transformation in dramatic, all-at-once moments, at least not usually. Instead, he uses the steady, faithful work of people seeking to be obedient with the callings and vocations he’s given them. He uses the Spirit-produced fruit of his Spirit-filled image-bearers.

As Christians, we’re called to be faithful disciples who are being conformed daily to the character of Christ, trusting that he is at work in ways we don’t always see. One of the ways we do that is by pursuing Christ-like kindness, the subject of this issue’s cover story from President Barry H. Corey. As he points out, kindness isn’t the same thing as niceness. It’s a courageous, countercultural and sometimes costly posture of heart. A robust understanding of this “forgotten virtue” can have a profound impact on how we as Christians share our faith, engage in politics, serve the marginalized, bridge racial divides and go about our day-to-day work.

Throughout this issue, we spotlight alumni and professors who embody such kindness, living with “a firm center and soft edges,” as Corey puts it. Together, they represent untold thousands of Biolans whose steady, faithful work is playing an important role in a much larger mission — not unlike the trucks outside my window.

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Issue Highlights

  • The Radical Call of Kindness

    Why the church must recover Christian compassion in an age of incivility

  • Offering Refuge

    Amid a worldwide refugee crisis, Biolans are taking bold action to care for those in need

  • One SCORR and 20 Years Ago

    For 20 years, Biola’s annual Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation has celebrated the beauty and engaged the challenges of diversity on Christian college campuses

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