Dordt College News

Leading Off with the President: Springing to Life

March 14, 2014

I love the beginning of spring semester. The campus comes to life as students and faculty return to inhabit and enliven campus. We miss those who graduated in December and the many who are on off-campus programs, but having students return in the cold but sunny Iowa winter is a tangible reminder of things springing to life.

I had the privilege of speaking to returning students at this semester’s first chapel, and I reflected on Matthew 10:16:

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Under the title “Wolves, Snakes, and Flying Things: Our Call to Discipleship,” I encouraged the campus community to consider how we are to be distinctive as disciples of the risen Christ—neither conforming nor blending into the broader culture. Christ came to set everything right—which, from a human perspective, means he lived, died, and rose again to turn everything upside down.

As agents of cultural transformation, we must be both wise (as serpents) and innocent (as doves). In our learning, we need to be sharp, decisive, and ready to strike—doing everything with excellence for the cause of Christ. We also need to be gentle, winsome, and ready to serve—doing everything with humility for the cause of Christ.

I can’t think of a better role model for being counter-cultural in a sharp yet serving manner than Dr. Charles Adams, emeritus professor of engineering. This Voice profiles the engineering program that he founded more than 30 years ago. Charles never settled for anything less than a distinctively biblical approach to his work. He had keen insight and a high regard for excellence in all things. Charles also had a servant’s heart and demeanor that deflected any accolades away from himself, giving glory to God alone.

That is why I was so pleased that the campus and Board of Trustees recently approved naming the engineering wing of the new science building the “The Charles Adams Engineering Center” in recognition of his substantial contribution to this important, distinctive, and high-quality program. Although his participation in the program ended abruptly in February 2008, following a serious automobile accident, Charles’s impact on this program continues in powerful ways.

Naming the building after Dr. Adams will be a continual reminder to engineering majors and to all of us to be agents of cultural transformation with a snake-like skill and a dove-like demeanor.

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