The Colson Center for Christian Worldview is concerned. There is a growing movement of silence among Christian's regarding social issues which stand in opposition to God's image and are being purported as normal.
We have a strategy to break this spiral of silence, and it goes hand-in-hand with a movement in Christian apologetics. The strategy involves detailed apologetic training, using current issues in news and culture, and cultural engagement.
At Hillcrest, we have a mission-emphasis at the core of our approach to education. Our students are offered field experiences that involve protesting at abortion clinics, street evangelism in Minneapolis' Phillips Neighborhood, a cross-cultural Gospel communication trip to the Dominican Republic for the Senior class, a Chicago field experience that involves communicating the Truth of Creation in secular museums along with various other field experiences.
One of Hillcrest's most intentional classes recently completed it's final exam for the first semester. The 12 person Local Missions class is a mentor-based class, equipping students for street-evangelism. The class has a two-pronged field-experience that accompanies the classroom instruction.
The first component is seen as students gather around lunch tables at the Salvation Army in Fergus Falls. The new friends of the 12 students have become dear brothers and sisters, sharing their stories and hearing of how God is working the lives of the Hillcrest students.
The second intentional field experience component involves students, a hand-held webcam and a survey sheet. Reading the Harris brothers' book Do Hard Things, students are inspired to engage in their surrounding culture by asking deep, probing questions into how people understand and interact with the world. The questions are listed below:
- Where does life come from?
- What do you think the purpose of life is?
- What do you believe about God?
- Does life have an intrinsic value?
- Is mankind inherentely good, inherently evil or determined by their circumstances?
- What makes up a healthy society?
To each of the above questions, students ask a follow-up question such as, "how do you know that to be true", "what do you mean by what you said", "what difference does what you're saying make in your life", and "what leads you to that conclusion".
The questions are challenging. Many adults are stumped, reverting to a "sunday-school" answer approach. However, the students aren't satisfied with mere cliche. Armed with the follow-up questions, students are able to use the Local Missions' class assignment as a pry-bar to open the minds of their interviewees and reveal the operating worldview.
At the end of each survey is a section where students ask the adults if the students can share their perspective. The students then use their Hillcrest education to explain what a Bible-based, God oriented world looks like.
Students bring the videos back to the local missions class where sharpening and prayer occur. Many times students think of additional questions to ask, hoping to lead the conversation to a discussion of the Cross of Christ and the hope and purpose found in the Gospel.
The spiral of silence is a movement that has been noticed by Charles Colson and his contemporaries. We are excited at the movement of God within this generation to do hard things and engage in their culture for the purpose of leading Image bearers to understand the Creator.