Opinion: A Strange Paradox

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The other day my housemates and I were discussing the recent Chimes article that detailed the results of the Cultural Intelligence Center report, which found that Calvin has yet to translate its commitment to diversity on paper into practice. This grew into a discussion about our frustrations with the faculty requirement of attending a CRC church, and how it constricts the diversity of our community. At one point my housemate noted, “I just think people should have the freedom to go to whatever church they want,” and I added somewhat unthinkingly, “Or the freedom to not go anywhere at all!” It sounded like a catchy thing to say at the time, but it ended up inspiring some deeper reflection.

I began to think about why we don’t have non-Christian professors at Calvin, and more importantly what it means about our theology as an institution. Calvin College is a place we come to learn about God’s world from a Christian perspective, right? But what exactly is a “Christian perspective”? Well, Reformed theology has a lot to tell us about what a Christian perspective looks like. I am by no means a theology expert (in fact, full disclosure, I am a music composition and international relations double major), but from what I could gather from my nearly four years spent at Calvin, Reformed theology claims that “every square inch” of creation, including cultures, religions, institutions, etc. have all been touched by the fall, but that every square inch is also in the process of being redeemed. This means that no one square inch of creation has a monopoly on God’s truth. In other words, geology, art, Islam and dance all reveal something about God and his truth.

We would rightly lament a Christian liberal arts education that fails to acknowledge the sciences as an instrument of God’s revelation, so why are we so comfortable with the exclusion of other worldviews, religions, and perspectives from our campus when all things bear the imprint of God’s revelation? Proponents of the current system might argue that an opening up of faculty positions to individuals of other faith perspectives and backgrounds would undermine Calvin College’s institutional identity as a Christian Reformed school. But it seems to me that this move would actually represent the institutional realization of Calvin’s Reformed identity, as Reformed theology in action. This lead me to recognize a strange paradox we find here at Calvin College; the non-representation of other faith perspectives in our faculty may in fact be the greatest obstacle we face in developing Christian minds! What do you think, fellow students?