It’s hard to anticipate what a new school, community and culture will be like, let alone understanding how it will affect you. When I transferred to Liberty University three years ago, I had a beautiful vision of how a Christian community might come together to learn about the world God had created and how we, as God’s children, might live in such a world.
In many ways, there have been things at Liberty that have exemplified this beautiful community. I have met some intelligent and loving professors; I have made community with some people like me and many that are not like me; and I have been given a space to research more about what I believe. However, there also seemed to be a growing cloud of tension in the community as the 2016 presidential campaign gained steam.
Liberty has quite a past concerning its political involvement. From Jerry Falwell, Sr.’s Moral Majority to Jerry Falwell Jr.’s role on President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, Liberty prides itself in being “Politically Incorrect Since 1971.”
During the 2016 campaign, it often seemed as if the chapel stage (also known as Convocation) had become a place where politicians might come and make cases for their favorite political candidate. Not surprisingly, most of these speakers were there to support Donald Trump as their favored candidate. As the campaign continued, I became increasingly uncomfortable with how much our time in chapel was being consumed with speaking about why Donald Trump was a good presidential candidate and not why Jesus Christ was a life-giving savior like no one else.
I hoped that after the election we might return to being a school that looked more like a Jesus community than a Republican community, but the political speakers continued to come and professors continued to make comments about a conservative agenda in classes wholly unrelated to politics. When the white supremacist protests happened in Charlottesville, Liberty’s president came out in support of President Trump’s comments that there were good people on both sides of the protests.
At this point, I began to realize that to Jerry Falwell, Jr., and many others at the school, their faith and politics were so intertwined that they could no longer use their faith as a prophetic assessment of the political state of America. I began to realize that it was time for a revival.
My hope for a revival in Lynchburg is not that we would vigorously throw our hands in the air singing of how our God is greater and stronger. Instead, my hope for a revival in Lynchburg is that we be brought to our knees in humility. The humility that maybe God looks different than our culture has made God out to be.
This revival would be a time of listening before speaking and asking the Spirit how we can best represent Jesus to the world. So we come with questions and not answers, because we truly believe the Spirit will reveal itself to us in beautiful ways if our posture is first humility.
This revival is not only for one tribe. It is radically inviting and ready to include anyone who has ears to hear. If we can grasp this humility and collectively ask for direction, I believe God will move through our community in beautiful ways.
It is time for a revival in Lynchburg.