Biola President Barry Corey Interview: Christian Higher Ed in Post-Christian Culture
This year, Biola University has faced legislative efforts to put religious higher education institutions out of business in California. Biola President Barry Corey joined us for a conversation on walking through these challenges, why it is so important for Christians to take the initiative in these hard discussions, and how to do so with radical kindness.
Listen to our entire conversation with President Barry Corey here.
SB 1146, as introduced in the California State Legislature in early 2016, attempted to eliminate the ability of religious higher education institutions to pursue their mission and operate according to their core convictions. Thankfully, the bill was amended before advancing and President Corey tells us about walking through the challenges and what is next:
“God has called us to a very unique time in the cultural conversation. The existential reality is here, there are now some laws being passed that touch some of the core values of faith-based institutions.
“But the bigger question is how do we flourish as Christian university in what seems to be a changing culture and changing landscape? And how do we do that in a way that we do not capitulate on our most deeply held values?
“As Christians, we are called to engage in conversation first. We weren’t invited to the conversation on this bill in Sacramento. We are trying to place ourselves at the table and say let’s have a conversation about what is happening on our campuses and the good we bring to society. If California is serious about diversity, then having diversity in higher education institutions has to be in the common good for this state.
“Increasingly we are not the majority culture anymore. Increasingly, we are more Daniel in Babylon than David in Jerusalem. We don’t want to be on the defensive, we want to thrive. Even if we are thriving as a profoundly Christian university in a post-Christian culture.”
If we are not taking our viewpoint into the conversation, then it is not the culture’s fault that God’s perspective is missing at the table. It’s the fault of the Christian who fails to go. President Corey also shared with us how we can be equipped for these conversations:
“We as Christians think kindness is weakness or niceness. This is not just “do kindness” in a Nike-espq sort of way. We are called to love kindness and embody it.
“Christ calls us to selfless kindness, which means kindness not to be thanked, but kindness to be obedient. Kindness is not a random act, but a radical act.
Some practical ideas on how to live out kindness:
- Lead with a winsomeness. Not all will receive it, and that’s ok. We are called to smell like Jesus. To some it will smell like life, and to others death. (2 Corinthians 2:15)
- Listen to learn, instead of waiting to respond.
- Begins with relationships, inviting people to our dinner table.
We asked him, what is the ONE thing we can do to develop kindness in the next generation:
Get off our soapboxes. Build relationships with those who are not like us, instead of just talking with people who are like us.
So, whether you agree or disagree, we want to hear from you on The Reconnect!