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Langston Hughes and Religion

Langston Hughes and Religion

If the churches Hughes attended were less focused on numbers of “converts” and numbers of dollars, perhaps they would have seen a searching soul.

Amanda Harman is a student at Calvary and is from Colorado Springs, CO. She loves to play her violin and entertain friends with her dry sense of humor. 

by Amanda Harman

 

February was Black History Month, and one can scarcely glance at black history without seeing the fingerprints of Langston Hughes. He is best remembered as a poet, but he also wrote novels, plays, essays, memoirs, children’s stories, not to mention influencing the movement that cemented black influence in modern culture. He was at the forefront of the Harlem Renaissance—a resurgence and celebration of black culture through music, writing, and art centered in the New York City neighborhood that inspired its name (“Langston Hughes”). It is tragic that such a great man with such a heavy influence on society was not a believer, so it is imperative that the modern church learns from the mistakes that drove him away.

Hughes spent part of his childhood in Lawrence, Kansas. There, his foster aunt took him to a Black Church for a revival when he was about twelve. Several children sat on a bench close together, and as the service went on, the others stood up one by one and approached the pulpit, declaring Jesus as their savior, until only Hughes was left (Oates). The congregation begged and prayed for him. He did finally give into the pressure and get up, but he felt like he had “failed to see Jesus” and, therefore, believed he had a forsaken salvation (Oates).

This early experience led to a general distrust of religion and its pressure to keep up appearances. As a man, Hughes was able to travel the world to places like Mexico, Cuba, and the Soviet Union (Oates). His travels opened his eyes to the major problems with American Christianity (Oates). In one of his most controversial poems called “Goodbye Christ” Hughes wrote:

“The popes and the preachers’ve

Made too much money from it.

They’ve sold you to too many

Kings, generals, robbers, and killers.”

 

The poem criticizes the commercial nature of Christianity in America, which made religion an impediment to society rather than a vehicle for God’s grace—an exploitation rather than a salvation (Piper).

The American church’s capitalistic focus on empty professions of faith for profit rather than sincere repentance from love impacted his view on Christianity for the rest of his life (Oates), and it is heartbreaking that Hughes is likely not in heaven. But his insight in this area can still be used to further God’s work here on earth (Piper). If the churches Hughes attended were less focused on numbers of “converts” and numbers of dollars, perhaps they would have seen a searching soul, one wanting the truth and finding only empty religion. Maybe they would have reached out to Hughes in love, answered his questions, and led him to a true saving knowledge of Christ. After all, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 [NLT]).

This is the lesson modern churches and believers must take from the life and work of Langston Hughes. Our conduct should invite others in with love, not repel them with disgust.

_________________

Works Cited:
“Langston Hughes.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 29 Jan. 2021, www.biography.com/writer/langston-hughes. Accessed 22 Feb. 2021.
Oates, N’Kosi. “Religion in the Work of Langston Hughes.” Black Perspectives, AAIHS, 12 June 2018, www.aaihs.org/religion-in-the-work-of-langston-hughes/. Accessed 22 Feb. 2021.
Piper, John. “The Tragedy of Langston Hughes and a Warning I Will Heed.” Desiring God, 2 Feb. 2008, www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-tragedy-of-langston-hughes-and-a-warning-i-will-heed. Accessed 22 Feb. 2021.

 

Dr. Granados shares “Philosophy of Christian Higher Education”

Dr. Granados shares “Philosophy of Christian Higher Education”

“A philosophy of Christian Higher Education affirms the intimate relationship between the supernatural and the natural, between God and human, between the body and the soul.”

Philosophy of Christian Higher Education

Alexander Granados, ThM, PhD

 

My faith journey, education, and experience inform my philosophy of Christian Higher Education. A philosophy of Christian Higher Education affirms the intimate relationship between the supernatural and the natural, between God and human, between the body and the soul. It draws from the truths based on divine revelation and human reason. I affirm the education of the total person: the intellectual, physical, affective, social, moral, aesthetic and spiritual. Therefore, its role will never be limited simply to offering Bible courses.

Christian Higher Education Affirms the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

The uniqueness of Christian higher education begins with an understanding that there is an infinite-personal God. This God has created all things for His glory [Col 1:16]. The Christian worldview affirms God’s existence and His activity in the world. Christian scholarship begins with the recognition of God’s existence and His sovereignty over creation, including man and his intellectual pursuits [Ps24:1]. The knowledge of God is the beginning of all learning [Prov 9:10].

Christian Higher Education Affirms the LORDSHIP OF CHRIST

Christian higher education is Christ-centered education. It recognizes the lordship of Christ over all of life, including every academic discipline. It affirms that all Christian scholars must bow the knee to Him and that every thought must be brought captive to Christ [2 Cor 10:5; Col 2:8]. The lordship of Christ affirms that all scholars will one day give an account for their activities, including those of an intellectual nature [Phil 2:9-11;Js 3:1].

Christian Higher Education Affirms a DISTINCTIVELY CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW

Recognizing that all scholarship begins from a theoretical base, namely the scholars’ worldview, Christian higher education affirms the metaphysical, epistemological, and axiological distinctives of a uniquely Christian worldview perspective. This worldview must permeate teaching and scholarship.

Christian Higher Education Affirms an EPISTEMOLOGICAL FOUNDATION

The foundation of Christian knowledge is grounded in the Scriptures. The Bible is truth [Jn 17:3] and as such provides the Christian scholar with confidence that truth is knowable. The pursuit of truth has particular meaning for the Christian scholar who has the authority of the Word of God as a foundation and basis for knowledge. The Scriptures provide epistemological certainty against the relativistic flux, non-rationality, and theoretical changes within the frameworks of our academic disciplines.

Christian Higher Education Affirms a COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

The Christian scholastic community bears a special responsibility to model excellence in our teaching, research, and service, to the broader academic community as ambassadors for Christ [2 Cor 5:20]. If our motivation for scholarship and teaching is doxological, then excellence must follow. The Christian scholar bears the responsibility to demonstrate this excellence in their academic vocation [Mt 5:16]. Our scholastic activities must bring glory to God through both the pedagogical articulation of our Christian worldview and by demonstration of professional quality and excellence in our work. The apostle Paul’s engagement in Athens at Mars Hill is especially illustrative of this principle (Acts 17:16–34).

Christian Higher Education Affirms the DEPRAVITY OF HUMANITY

Christian higher education affirms the dignity and greatness of humanity as created in the image and likeness of God [Gen 1:27] and that creativity and rationality, which are essential to higher education pursuits, are both bound to the imago dei. However, mankind has fallen in revolt against God [Gen 3]. The fall has affected the totality of humanity and all aspects of personhood, including the intellect. Humanity, both corporately and individually, is in need of regeneration, restoration, and reconciliation with God. Christian higher education affirms that redemption occurs through the finished work of Christ alone, not educational betterment.

Christian Higher Education Affirms the PILLARS OF HIGHER EDUCATION

The foundational trilogy of American higher education – teaching, research, and service – has special bearing on Christian higher education. The pursuit of truth and quest for knowledge (research), the dissemination and acquisition of scholarship and research by the individual, both theoretical and practical (teaching & learning), and compassionate application of truth (service & ministry), all have special meaning to the Christian scholar. The Christian academic community shares particular responsibility in light of these realities.

Nikao Student Interns at Local Church

Nikao Student Interns at Local Church

Wentworth (top left) with the team of interns at Grace Church.

Education major Lindee Wentworth served at Grace Church through their internship program.

Last summer, Nikao Leadership Institute student Lindee Wentworth interned at Grace Church in Overland Park, Kansas. She heard about the internship opportunity from her roommate, and said, “I’d been praying about an opportunity for ministry over the summer. I knew that I wanted to make money to pay for school, but I also felt the Lord leading me to do something in ministry.”

Through the internship, Wentworth worked on compiling a resource book for the church with detailed information on “the [missions] trips that we take, about our partners there, about the country, and general tips” for people going on missions trips. The work required “a lot of research,” but it also provided Wentworth with hands-on opportunities to minister to small businesses in the community. She said, “I was really discipled along the way. My supervisor was really great and encouraged me to research unreached people groups and what that looks like. That was really encouraging.”

Wentworth is a sophomore at Calvary studying Elementary Education. After she graduates, her “plan is to teach overseas, maybe in a closed country,” and her internship confirmed that goal for her. She said, “One of the big things I learned was not to ask, ‘give me a reason to go,’ but ‘give me a reason to stay.’ Because the Lord commands us to go.”

Calvary’s Online Master’s Program in Top 25

Calvary’s Online Master’s Program in Top 25

BestMastersPrograms.org recently awarded Calvary University with the #20 spot for its online Master’s degrees.

To determine the ranking, “the editors at Best Master’s Programs started with a pool of Evangelical and mainline Protestant colleges and universities offering online graduate programs. From there, they were ranked according to cost, alumni salary, and variety of offerings.”

The ranking explained, “As one of the Midwest’s best online Christian universities, Calvary University offers three graduate degrees through the school’s online system.” Calvary University provides a Master of Science (MS) in Worship Arts, a Master of Science (MSEd) in Education, and a Master of Science (MS) in Organizational Development. “Calvary University offers tuition discounts to military members or those who are currently working full-time in a ministerial position.”

Calvary Welcomes Three Adjunct Faculty

Calvary Welcomes Three Adjunct Faculty

Kurt Bricker, Dr. Thomas Cragoe and Douglas Geiger (left to right).

Calvary’s Bible & Theology, Biblical Counseling, and STEM departments add some “fuel”

Dr. Thomas Cragoe, Bible & Theology

Dr. Cragoe will be teaching Systematic Theology from Calvary’s Colorado extension. Cragoe said, “I’ve had a respect for Calvary for a long time, but most recently, my wife and I retired from Clarks Summit University to be nearer family… I explored the possibility of helping out.”

Cragoe served in the pastorate for twelve years before transitioning to the academic field. He taught for twenty years at various institutions, including Cedarville University and Moody Bible Institute. He said he loves “when students get hooked on studying the Scriptures and fall in love with the Lord… there’s that ‘aha’ moment when the light goes off.” Cragoe looks forward to “meeting new students, and hoping to fuel that same love for the Lord and his Word.”

Douglas Geiger, Biblical Counseling

Douglas Geiger is joining the Counseling department to teach, including the course Theories in Group Counseling, and to head up the department’s internship program. Geiger said, “I’ve had many friends in Kansas City that have gone to Calvary, so that’s how I knew of it from a long time ago. But also, I’ve known Jeff Cox, who’s the director of the Graduate Counseling program… and we’ve done ministry together.”

Geiger has his own counseling practice, and works as a state-appointed supervisor for counseling licensure at Abundant Life’s Counseling Center, where he helps “various students from different universities complete their internships. I’m excited about bringing that internship at Abundant Life to partner with Calvary.”

He added, “For the Biblical Counseling program, what I am really excited about is bringing practical application courses to the program. [The courses have] already been there, but I’m going to get to teach more hands-on learning for counselors so they’ll learn the theory, but also learn how to apply that in counseling.”

Kurt Bricker, STEM

Kurt Bricker discovered Calvary University through his friendship with Calvary alum Kurt Seboe, Pastor of Northmoreland Baptist Church in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania. Bricker said, “He introduced me to the school through our meeting together as fellow pastors to help sharpen one another. I viewed the Calvary website and looked at job openings to see if there might be a place where I could contribute and saw that they were looking for a Physics instructor in the STEM department.”

Bricker earned his degrees in electrical engineering and worked in that field for almost 20 years before attending seminary. He said, “For the past seven years I have been teaching part-time—adjunct for a few different schools, including Clarks Summit University, in the areas of Bible and Biblical Languages, Physics, and Chemistry. I truly enjoy both pastoral ministry and teaching ministry! I look forward to continuing in both—including new opportunities at Calvary.”

Join us online for 2020 Commencement Events

Join us online for 2020 Commencement Events

Links to Live Stream Events June 26-27:

Baccalaureate

2 p.m. Friday, June 26

Liberty Chapel

Awards Banquet

6:30 p.m. Friday, June 26

Student Life Center

Commencement

10 a.m.  Saturday, June 27

Student Life Center

Celebrate the Class of 2020

Due to Coronavirus restrictions and social distancing over the past few months, Calvary University was unable to celebrate commencement in May for the first time in our school’s history.

Fortunately, those restrictions are being lifted enough for CU to celebrate this week. On June 26 we will hold Baccalaureate and an Awards Banquet. The next day, Saturday, June 27, we will celebrate Commencement. Since there are still some restrictions, in-person attendance is by invitation only — mostly for graduates and their immediate families.

However, we invite all family, friends, faculty, staff, alumni, churches and supporters to join us via live stream (see links below) to celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020.

We also invite you to visit and explore our 2020 Commencement Yearbook page which will compile the names, awards, stories, pictures and videos from this important and historic celebration.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!