The decision is made, the initiative has been approved, and the iPads will be on their way shortly. I understand that now it is time to forget about the concerns and critiques that were raised and start the celebration for the potential opportunities and innovations to come. Unfortunately, I am having a hard time getting excited.
Throughout the discussion on campus I was increasingly discouraged by the superficial level of engagement by students, faculty and staff. My frustration grew as different voices tried to pull the conversation towards deeper questions, but their calls were seemingly ignored.
Most of the arguments in favor of the initiative were built on what are, in my opinion, false assumptions. Before spring break Michael Sherer wrote a perspective outlining his support for the initiative. He made many wonderful points, but they were grounded in the fundamental assumption that this tension is between a culture of preservation and a culture of innovation.
However, I would like to suggest that the real tension is between a culture of innovation and another culture of innovation–a different, deeper kind of innovation that arises from faith-based living and a commitment to the core values, and what I hope we would all consider a more important kind of innovation.
This type of innovation understands that actively participating in a culture of overconsumption that carries immense social justice and environmental costs is more than a side effect of living in this country and more than a burden that we hope will resolve itself in the near future.
This type of innovation realizes that our actions are a direct expression of the faith and values we hold at our center. What we engage in defines how we see the world and relate to our Creator.
This type of innovation seeks a different way of living and strives to interact with the world in more just and peaceful ways, moving away from the practices that perpetuate the corrupt and oppressive systems of the world instead of tying ourselves closer to them.
This is a type of innovation that the world desperately needs, one that does not try to conform to what our society currently deems most stimulating and popular, but strives to live out our faith more fully. This is the innovation that Christ calls us to.
Therefore, if Goshen really wants to remain relevant, we must put our time and energy into living out our beliefs in a more tangible way than just philosophizing about them in class. If Goshen really wants to attract students, we must showcase strong academics backed up by sustainable practices instead of the highest-end technology.
If Goshen wants to more fully model its core values, we must reject the culture of overconsumption that leads to oppression and violence for our brothers and sisters around the world and more actively work toward a future where we can live at peace with our environment and world.
This is the innovation that will create the educational environment we seek. This is what will attract passionate students who resonate with the core values. This is the innovation that is informed by our beliefs, and it is the direction we need to move.
So I challenge and plead with all facets of Goshen College to be more intentional in the decisions we make. Let us make choices that lead to a bold and unique lifestyle, choices that reject excessive consumption and destructive systems and seek to live out the core values with our community and environment here and around the world.
Grant Miller is a junior history and PJCS major