Dear students, alumni, staff, faculty, and friends of the College:
Today’s hot button debates are intense. Those on various sides of an issue will talk past one another, making assumptions about the motives or character of their intellectual opponents. When someone brings assumptions about you into a conversation, it’s nearly impossible to be heard for what you’re actually saying. It begins to approach the account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, where coordinated action is untenable because each person speaks a different language.
Of course, the confusion in that case was the Lord’s doing, designed to frustrate humanity’s prideful goal of “making a name for ourselves.” The splintered communication I see around us now is getting in the way of justice being done, communities functioning, businesses pursuing common good solutions, and tragically, the Church acting as a united body.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to chart a different path: to refuse the temptation of pride and instead listen attentively and humbly to our neighbors, even when we differ from them. The liberal arts, animated by Jesus Christ’s light, equip us for this task.
By reading old texts that speak strangely to our ears, we cultivate charity for those who are unlike us. By learning to receive the meaning of a text with precision and fairness, we become able to hear what someone has to say instead of our assumptions about them. By pinpointing where we diverge from one another, we open the door not just to persuade, but to be persuaded. We keep alive the conviction that truth exists, distant as it might be at times. Because of this faith, we commit in our actions to honor reason and human freedom, instead of force and manipulation.
I believe the education we offer at The King’s College is vital today because these practices don’t come to anyone naturally. While it is easier to seek out an echo chamber, it is far more fruitful to choose to listen and collaborate with our neighbors, despite disagreement. By doing so, we approach a vision more like Pentecost than Babel, where every tongue is spoken, yet every word is understood. We open ourselves to learning from others who are also seeking to bear witness to the light, but doing it in a way unlike our own.
The pages that follow offer a window into how the King’s community has sought after this vision in the last year, from student-organized events, to faculty scholarship on cutting-edge issues, to alumni cultivating their families and breaking new ground in their careers because of their devotion to Jesus Christ.
Yours In Service,
Tim Gibson, Brig Gen, USAF (Ret.)