AC Featured in the Ivy League Christian Observer

Augustine Collective Retreat 2013

Having Something to Say

Journals Retreat Fosters National Movement  

D. Michael Lindsay, the president of Gordon College, and John Lennox, an Oxford professor, exhorted 120 college and graduate school students, including several from the Ivy League, at The Augustine Collective’s 2013 Journals Retreat at Boston’s Park Street Church in February.

The Augustine Collective was formed in 2011 with the support of the Cecil B. Day Foundation to bring together and support new and growing journals on college campuses.

Lindsay, Princeton Ph.D. ’06, and Lennox inspired and framed the dialogue on the intersection between faith and the academy and culture. Students also gained practical insights and encouragement from former journal editors-in-chief and Dr. Gregg Fairbrothers, a faculty advisor from Dartmouth. Smaller workshops were also used for practical training.

Lindsay said the gospel must be understood, legitimate, relevant, beautiful, and attractive in order to be persuasive, citing specific examples of how Christian leaders use power to shape the world. In 2008, Lindsay interviewed hundreds of leaders for his book, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite. Lennox, a professor of mathematics at Oxford, emphasized the importance and influence of the written word, but he reminded the students to get into the Word of God and the presence of God until His face appears. “Then you’ll have something to say,” he said.

In 2004, The Augustine Collective launched its first journal, the Harvard Ichthus. Since then, the number of journals of Christian thought across the nation has steadily increased. To date, members include journals from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Williams College, Yale University, the University of Maine, the Five Colleges (MA), Brown University, University of Penn, Princeton University, UC Berkeley, Duke University, and Wheaton College. More than fifteen colleges were in attendance at the 2013 retreat, including students with a vision to start a journal of Christian thought on their own campuses.

The weekend was a poignant and memorable reminder of why such journals exist. One Princeton student put it this way: “It’s not about the journal is an utterance I will never forget. If the goal is clear (getting thoughtful people…on a university campus to think more deeply about the intersection of faith and reason), then everything else should follow.”

The words of Lennox were also memorable: “There are two dangers in life—to pretend like you are something that you’re not, and to pretend like you are not something that you are.” Indeed, to tuck away religious convictions and beliefs in an academic setting, to separate faith and reason, would be for Christian students to pretend like they are something that they are not. Similarly, to ignore the centrality of Christ and the Good News in every sphere of life would be to pretend to be something that Christian students are not.

Accordingly, The Augustine Collective’s  vision is for the journals of Christian thought to “write articles that bring the intellectual riches of the Christian tradition to bear upon the diverse ideas in the modern academy.”

Arguably, the most moving moment was the final session of the retreat. Following a period of sharing in smaller groups by college, a representative from each educational institution shared what the group had gained during the course of the retreat in a larger group setting. As students from each university spoke, words of encouragement, excitement, hope, purpose, gratitude, and unity overflowed. Inspiration from God’s work through more established journals on the respective campuses, as well as the boldness of a handful of students with the courageous vision to start a journal on their campus, provided a glimpse of the beauty of community.

For more information on The Augustine Collective, visit www.augustinecollective.org.

Article from The Ivy League Christian Observer, Spring 2013.

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