Spring 24 Olivet The Magazine: Conviction & Compassion

At Olivet we have decided to pursue the “most excellent way”: to hold fast to our convictions while living lives of love and compassion. May you be inspired by the images and stories that follow.
Brian Parker headshot

Brian Parker

May 9, 2024 Olivet The Magazine

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The 2024 spring issue of Olivet the Magazine is hitting homes and also available electronically here.

Take a look at these thoughts from the Editorial Team:

Dear Friends,

As our editorial team gathered to finalize the details of this issue, we were once again startled and thrilled by the compassion and convictions of so many of our students who have chosen to advance grace and truth around the world — and impressed by the great work of faculty and staff who help to make those pursuits possible. We began asking the first question: Is, perhaps, the world our campus? That led us quickly to the second question: What does it mean to simultaneously be people of conviction and compassion? These are the central themes of this issue.

In today’s polarizing world, conversations around the true value of a university education abound. Universities often stand for everything and nothing at the same time. Parents of undergraduate students are starting to ask real questions, and they should. We encourage parents to study the fine print: Look closely at the curriculum and course syllabi; read the writings and teachings of faculty; pay attention to the roster and teachings of chapel speakers; and thoroughly investigate a university’s approach to education and student development. Both the cost and the stakes are too high to take higher education lightly. In fact, Olivet believes in building on the good work of parents for the first 18 years of life and stands in partnership with the family. It is not our intention to undo these convictions or shock students into a new belief system but, rather, to support the transformative Christian journey of our students into adulthood, with all its endemic challenges and victories.

Might we also suggest that our approach as a university and as a group of devoted Christians should be to be “awake” rather than “woke”: awakened to the truths of Christianity and Scripture; awakened to the person and cause of Christ; awakened to the moving of the Holy Spirit; and awakened to the needs of a hurting and struggling world. The apostle Paul presented the conviction/compassion connection perfectly when he wrote, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39) and “I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). There are central Christian convictions that we should build our life around.

But Paul does not stop there. In his fist letter to the Corinthians, he declares the primary convictions for followers of Jesus Christ should be compassion and love: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1–3). 

At Olivet we have decided to pursue the “most excellent way”: to hold fast to our convictions while living lives of love and compassion. May you be inspired by the images and stories that follow. And may we all be compelled to do our very best to live principled lives filled with the highest ideal of compassion and love.


The Editorial Team

Brian Parker headshot

Brian Parker

Brian Parker ’94, EdD ’11, lives in New York City and is a Partner and Managing Director with 989Group.

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