A soft hush came over Hillcrest students during Wednesdays chapel. The slide on the projector screen changed to Mr. T holding his gold chains tightly, while a caricature of Jesus, winking and giving a thumbs-up, told the 80's superstar to, "Stay over there, and I'll stay over here." The image startled a few students, who leaned to their neighbor in a whisper, trying to discover who Mr. T is. Jason Poarch, a college representative from Rivendell Sanctuary, interrupted with an explanation. The unconventional presentation was a post-high school explanation that gave students more to think about than their future institution's cafeteria food and course offerings.
Rivendell is an organization Hillcrest has grown to appreciate, due to the school's desire to train students to impact culture. During the presentation the representative outlined Richard Niebuhr's 5 Views of Christ & Culture. Students listened to an explanation of Niebuhr's explanation of Christ against culture, Christ and culture in paradox, Christ as culture transformer, Christ above culture, and Christ of culture.
The presentation shifted to explain that Christ is not against culture, saying we shouldn't watch any movies. But at the same time Christ is not a superstar, in the sense that His role is to be popular. Students listened as the presenter identified Christ as a culture transformer; with students being drawn to think about their history courses, literature class, and mathematics instruction where people changed the world due to the Holy Spirit's work in their lives.
The discussion shifted to the college campus, where the representative called students to think of their time on the campus as a time to see Christ. Jesus transforms how cultures and societies operate, and when a student looks at college they should look to see where God is at work and if the education is one that drives them to understand God's design, or if the education is clouding or avoiding God's imprint on society.
As students left the chapel there was a genuine pause in the hallways. Colleges recruit students often at Hillcrest Academy. Many boast of facilities or opportunities in their institution. In contrast, students heard today that education is deeply personal and should be thought through more than simply if the lunch menu fits the carnal hopes of the student body.
Hillcrest's administration sat comfortably in their chairs after hearing the presentation. The message was a reverberation in the halls from the words spoken to students from Hillcrest faculty and staff. Hillcrest is pleased to encourage, welcome, and educate side-by-side with Rivendell.