Truth Lives in Community
Imagine that you’re a student just starting college.
You’re arriving filled with expectations of pursuing truth, asking big questions, seeking and finding the meaning of life.
But when you get to campus, you’re bombarded. Thousands of people, hundreds of class options, dozens of groups, programs, and extracurriculars all clamor for your time and attention. You quickly find yourself overwhelmed and confused.
It’s not that you’re pushed away from pursuing the truth or asking the big questions. It’s more that they’re crowded out, lost in the noise and the chaos and the conflicting demands on your time and attention. In all likelihood, you’ll wind up finding yourself content to be entertained, to choose your major based on what’s popular or lucrative rather than on God’s calling for your life. You’re likely to put your faith on hold too, telling yourself that you’ll return to church after college (even though statistics show that you probably won’t).
You — just like each and every student here at the U — need a community that strengthens, supports, and nurtures you in your pursuit of truth. And a community that strengthens you in your pursuit of Christ, who is the truth, and in whom all truth coheres.
Because truth coheres in the person of Jesus Christ, seeking the truth is never a purely intellectual endeavor, but a deeply personal and relational pursuit. Truth is therefore found in community. And it depends on community, finding its fullest expression in the love and responsibility that the rhythms of daily life involve. Indeed, one of the recurring themes of the wisdom literature in Scripture is the deep connection between these very things — devotion to God, diligence in work, and care for our neighbors.
Recognizing this fundamental reality about the deep connection between the pursuit of truth and the presence of rich community, this year, in an exciting development for our ministry, several of our students and recent graduates began living together in an intentional Christian community, beginning to actively pursue deep, life-on-life discipleship alongside the intellectual engagement we provide. Here’s what one of those students, Kathryn (one of this year’s Colin MacLaurin Fellows), has to say about the experience so far:
I’m spending time with the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know through MacLaurin, but now what binds us together is not only a shared intellectual interest but a dozen different ties, intellectual, spiritual, social, material, even economic (we share groceries).
Becca, one of last year’s Fellows, emphasizes the importance of the residents’ communal prayer:
I have especially appreciated our times of morning prayer. I am so blessed by, first thing in the morning, being loved through my housemates and expressing love to our Creator. We play together (day trip to Duluth), break bread together (weekly family meals) and bless one another through small means of grace like washing each other’s dishes.
David, a recent graduate and also a past Fellow, expands on the importance of both communal living and the shared practice of daily prayer:
How can we expect to integrate our faith with our studies and work if we don’t first begin by asking for his grace and blessing in each day’s tasks? The community provides accountability by establishing patterns of faithfulness which guide each of us in our work and study.
What changes lives? Reaching both the head and the heart.
The two can’t and shouldn’t ever be separated. So here at MacLaurinCSF, we’re starting to deliberately increase our engagement with the whole person — establishing practices and programs that engage the mind, body, and spirit.
Our goal? A community that grounds the pursuit and use of knowledge in the love of God, where knowledge finds true unity and coherence. A community dedicated not just to the pursuit of knowledge (though that’s essential), but also to pursuing how to put that knowledge into use through wise Christian living, loving discipleship, and service of the common good.
God is blessing the MacLaurinCSF presence at the University of Minnesota. By his provision and empowerment, we’re doing more than ever before. Reading group participation and lecture attendance are stronger than ever, and our student group continues to grow, drawing in new students each semester. And as we write this, we’ve just finished up a month filled with events:
- 10 lectures (including our 20th annual Paul Holmer Lecture)
- The start of 11 reading groups, on topics including literature, Biblical theology, and philosophy
- Back-to-school events for students and faculty
- The launch of this year’s Colin MacLaurin Fellows Program and our Lumen program for first-year students
- The return of Friday coffee hours and the start of a new, informal lecture series for students, Fridays@4
Thank you so much for all the ways you already support us, through your attendance at our events, your prayers, and your financial generosity. Thanks to your support, we’re able to do more than ever. And as we grow, our need for your support is greater than ever.
How can you support our work?
There are a number of ways you can get involved:
- Pray for us
- Join our email list
- Come to our next “Why MacLaurin Matters” dessert reception
- Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram
- Come to an event or join a reading group
- If you’re a student, come to the study center for coffee and a quiet place to study. We’re on the St. Paul campus and we’re open 9–5 Monday-Friday.
By supporting our mission of bringing the Gospel to bear on every facet of life at the U of M — in the lives of students, faculty, and staff; in each and every discipline and department; in the work of study, teaching, research, and administration done here every day — you’re not only helping us. You’re helping students like Becca, David, and Kathryn as they learn to put the truth of Christ into practice in their studies and their daily lives.