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Unashamed and Unafraid

Mark Osler, Assistant Professor of Law


... In general, it is fair to say that Christian universities have been unashamed of their faith, but that it has been the great secular universities who have been unafraid of the often contentious, even anarchic world of scholarly work and criticism. If we are to be a great Christian university, it is being unashamed of our faith that will mark us as Christian and being unafraid of the larger academy that will mark us as a great university. It is being both unashamed and unafraid that will mark us as unique.

What do I mean when I refer to those who are unashamed and unafraid? I do not simply mean those who call themselves Christian, but those whose Christianity suffuses their lives in a whole and challenging way. For many of these Christians, their faith life will be marked not by comfort, but by struggle, as the teachings of Christ often clash with the majority view. Christian ideas about wealth, about forgiveness, and about charity often clash with the accepted views in many of our fields. In my own field, criminal law, the Christian practitioner must struggle with the imperatives of Christ. For the defense attorney, the troubling question is how justice informs the work of defending those accused of crime, while for the prosecutor the problem is how to reconcile the idea of mercy with the everyday work of enforcing secular laws.

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