To me, to be “Unambiguously Christian” requires the ability to openly declare that we are Christian and that the lordship of Jesus Christ governs our very lives and callings. I’ve enjoyed being at Baylor University, because here, not only do I have the freedom to make that declaration before my own students without fear of reprisal, but I can also look to and learn from my colleagues about what it means to live out my calling in Christ while also being an academic and a research scientist. I think that as professing Christians, then, we also are called to the highest standards of integrity, excellence, fairness, and compassion in every aspect of our work, personal lives, and interpersonal relations. It also means that we mentor our students in class and on our research teams in keeping with the example of Jesus Christ mentoring his disciples. Furthermore, it means we build on the legacy of many great Christian thinkers from diverse disciplines who made definitive contributions over the centuries to the arts, sciences, and engineering.
Personally, it means that I can acknowledge my faith in Jesus Christ before my classes and my research team. It also means that there are opportunities to dialog about the relevance of faith to our work and lives as academics: these include forums organized by student organizations or the annual Communio retreat for faculty.
“It means we build on the legacy of many great Christian thinkers from diverse disciplines who made definitive contributions over the centuries to the arts, sciences, and engineering.”
I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to attend some of the discussions such as the “Does God Matter?” panel in 2017. I also treasure the opportunity to introduce myself as a Christian to students and co-workers alike, and to be able to discuss in the course of daily activities what being a Christian in academia means.
Pursuit of an educational environment where Christian thought and values are cherished and where our Christian faith animates our endeavors makes Baylor unique. The values that are integral to the practice of the Christian faith—including humility, service, integrity, and love—are desirable in professionals and as members of the various communities where members of our Baylor family find themselves working and living. When men and women with Baylor ties take these principles and shine their light in their own spheres of influence, we make the world a better place.
I think the challenge in having an unambiguously Christian education environment is coming to an agreement on what that looks like. I think this can be overcome by being in agreement about what authoritative source defines for us what it means to be Christians. As this is an institution born out of a Baptist tradition, submission to the Scriptures would be a reasonable solution.