“A small crisis of my faith” is how the student put it.

“A small crisis of my faith” is how the student put it. His email to me included an attachment of a letter he was writing to the campus paper. Turns out his young heart and mind were troubled by what appeared to him to be a contradiction of faith and life at a public event not long ago. So he exercised the very proper and academic right of public expression to voice his convictions. It is the stuff of university life—this free-for-all exchange of thought and belief. Whether this young adult’s opinion is the minority opinion these days is really immaterial, isn’t it? An institution of higher learning like this one is the great protector of such expression. And a Christian university is surely even more the defender of a faith confession such as this young man has made, is it not?

I replied to his email with these words: “Thank you for your note and the attached SM letter. Well written and clearly expressed. God will honor your desire to live faithfully for him. And I’m certain he will bless your witness via the campus paper. BTW, don't worry about the numbers—Daniel, his three friends, Joseph, Esther, John the Baptist and Jesus didn't! God will have his way. So keep kneeling down . . . and standing up . . . for him! DKN.”

Why share this simple email exchange? Because university churches need at times to give voice to those whose voices may otherwise be unheard, ignored or drowned out. While the academy across this nation seems more and more to be chained to its own veneration of political correctness (read, the majority opinion), is it not the place and cause of the community of Christ to give voice to those who humbly seek to know the meaning of faithfulness in contradistinction to the majority? The issue here is not the issues of the young man’s concern, but rather a pastoral affirmation that wider communities must be defenders of narrower interests (which may not be so narrow after all, given Jesus’ own propensity to champion the “narrow way”—Matthew 7:13, 14).

The student was concerned his letter might not see the light of day, and so wrote me to be assured at least someone would hear his heart. It was heard. And having heard, I am reminded that perhaps it is in the hearing that some of the most important teaching takes place. And surely that is what this academy is most about, isn’t it?