Concordia’s University’s theme of the year – A More Excellent Way – could not be more timely in the wake of a divisive national election. Our theme is based on the Apostle Paul’s discussion of diversity within the body of Christ. He praises God for the diversity of gifts which exist in the body, but allows that diversity holds within it the potential for insensitive and even destructive words and actions. Amid our differences, Paul urges “a more excellent way,” which is the way of love. He continues, “Love is patient, love is kind . . . it is not proud, arrogant, or rude . . . does not seek its own way . . . is not arrogant or boastful. Love never ends.” The free expression of ideas, shared in respectful dialogue, is a cherished ideal at our university. We believe that this mutual sharing is at its best when enhanced by the Christ-like love of which the Apostle is speaking.
In recent days, the United States has seen strong differences of opinion emerging from our national election. Differences within a democracy are not only good, they are a necessary part of the democratic process. But differences of opinion, especially when not tempered by love, have the inherent potential to deteriorate into actions hurtful to others or destructive to property. Unfortunately, we have witnessed some of these behaviors in various parts of the country since the results of the election were realized.
Fortunately, on the Concordia campus we have witnessed no such hurtful or destructive behaviors. I am very aware that there are many differences of opinion among our faculty, students, and staff about matters of national interest. But so far they have been expressed in civil discourse and mutual respect and love. I thank all of you for your exemplary conduct. Our university’s treasured diversity, in race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, and gender presents wonderful opportunities for each of us to grow in understanding ourselves and the world around us.
Grace and peace.