This article appears in the Volume 27 - Number 2 - Winter 2020 - Healing for the Hurting Church edition of the Calvin Seminary Forum
Life Questions Every Student Asks: Faithful Responses to Common Issues
Edited by Gary Burge and David Lauber
IVP Academic, 2020
Teaching students involves not just the formal tasks of the classroom but also offering mentorship and wisdom in more informal and personal conversations with students about their deepest questions. “We recognize that our students are whole people and not simply members of a class,” Gary Burge writes with co-editor David Lauber to in a preface to Life Questions Every Student Asks: Faithful Responses to Common Issues. “They are growing, struggling, questioning, and wondering about the large issues of life as young adults.” The book has undergraduate students in mind but offers wisdom for readers at any stage of life with chapters on topics such as vocation, marriage, wealth, suffering, and doubt.
In his chapter on community and friendship, Burge, Dean of the Faculty and Professor of New Testament at Calvin Seminary, draws on the work of theologians Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Christine Pohl for insights into the importance of social belonging. Acknowledging that isolation can occur even in the midst of busy college campuses and church buildings, Burge emphasizes that forming mutually dependent relationships is essential to being human and to living out one’s faith. “I need to be someplace where, when I am at my lowest, there are others who are willing to help lift me up,” Burge writes, adding that in such communities “there is genuine reciprocity and ... listening, lifting up others, guiding the lost, and providing wisdom are our assignments too.”