FC Missional Moment: Voices from the Commons

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** The Professor’s Credentials

I’m trying to learn how to de-emphasize credentials as I learn to model the servanthood of Jesus. I know that much of my propensity is to emphasize academic and financial and institutional credentials; and that comes from my own deep insecurities.

Credentialing can be a barrier between professors and between professors and students. The business world emphasizes credentials, and the professions of law and medicine emphasize credentials, but in the academic world, we really emphasize credentials.
* We put them before our name; we put them after our name.
* We calibrate; we quantify performance; we rank people all the time.
* We look up and down at people according to performance-based credentials or titles.

One of the cool traditions at my university goes back to the founder, Thomas Jefferson. He wanted all the faculty, which at that time were all male, to only use the title “Mr.” before their name, and not “Professor” or “Dr.” That tradition today is largely ignored, but I sometimes ask my students not to use my title.

When I think about the apostle Paul, with all of the credentials he had from “Gamaliel University” and his great scholarly ability, the credential that he most often cites is right up front in his letters: “I’m Paul. I’m a servant of Jesus Christ.” And in some translations, it’s “I’m a bondservant, or a slave, of Jesus Christ”. That’s my credential.

If I could fully capture, or as economists like to say, internalize, Paul’s insight about credentials, I would make another big step forward in seeing teaching as foot washing. And maybe some of you would as well.

Kenneth Elzinga, UVA.

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“Stale godliness is ungodliness. Let our religion be as warm, and constant, and natural as the flow of the blood in our veins. A living God must be served in a living way.”
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Humility and How to Get It

Series by Ken Elzinga, Robert C. Taylor Chair of Economics, UVA

** The Professor as Servant
The Professor’s Credentials
The Professor’s Office Hours
The Professor’s Voice
The Professor’s Website
The Professor’s Home

In the new year, we are hosting five regional conferences for faculty at these locations:

Greenville, SC– February 19-20, 2016
San Diego, CA–March 5, 2016
Baton Rouge, LA–April 1-2, 2016
San Luis Obispo, CA–April 9, 2016
Bellingham, WA–June 4, 2016

Hear from Walter Bradley, distinguished professor with over 40 years of service and ministry

Explore with other Christian faculty our common call to the university and the world

Network with colleagues from other universities

Share ideas of effective ministry

A Common Call Conference (http://www.acommoncall.org/)



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