We just celebrated St Patrick’s Day, which reminded me that several years ago a provocatively entitled book upset conventional wisdom. It was Thomas Cahill’s, How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe. Those of us with an Irish heritage didn’t need to read beyond the title. Finally our ancestors were being recognized as the superior beings they were. By extension, we, too, were remarkable people and very important!
My reference to those of Irish descent is not serious, but the author certainly was. In his interpretation, the Huns and Germanic tribes which invaded Western Europe 1600 years ago threatened to destroy the cultural legacy of the ancient world. Christian clerics led by Patrick, “single-handedly refounded European civilization throughout the continent.”
It’s an interesting, controversial thesis but, setting the academic debate aside, we can ask ourselves, “How does God preserve truth in a world beset with figurative Huns and Saxons?” Throughout recorded history there has always been a “family of faith” and there has always been a majority world living in opposition to it. Nevertheless, today thousands of years since the creation of human beings, the “children of Abraham” are as numerous as the sand of the sea shore. How is this possible when human “isms” are routinely born, adopted, rejected, and swept into the dustbin of history? Many of the supposedly great ideas of the 20th century are already a fading memory but the metanarrative of the Gospel continues to flourish.
One reason is that God has used reforming movements to bring new vitality into the community of faith. More specifically, during the church age, educational reforms have been the hallmark of renewal and we believe the Holy Spirit is once again using such a reform to bring growth and energy to the church.
With this work of the Spirit in mind, I recently wrote to our leadership team that our organizational size is irrelevant but our vision isn’t: we have in our hearts to be used by Him to contribute to global renewal in the church through participation in an educational movement that is analogous to the great educational reforming movements of the past. In other words, we want to help with something far greater than “us.” We hope, by God’s grace, to be a spark or a forest fire – something small or something large – which the Spirit uses for His glory to bring renewal to the church through education.
We are God called, God commissioned, God gifted, and God blessed. What a great privilege it is to serve together with many others across the globe in this new thing God is doing.
– George Durance, President
Image: wikimedia.org/…commons/…Saint_Patrick…/ by Sicarr (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.