Diane Stinton on Regent’s 2017 Christmas Appeal
As Regent’s Dean of Students and Associate Professor of Mission Studies and World Christianity, Diane Stinton has a unique perspective on Regent’s approach to theological education for the whole people of God. Below, she reflects on the Regent community and its habit of looking outward—and why this habit matters so much in late 2017.
The Sukuma people of Tanzania have a proverb: “I pointed out the stars to you, and all you saw was the tip of my finger.”
This short-sightedness is in all of us, isn’t it? We are limited in our scope, limited by our busy lives and our self-preoccupations. We need each other to help lift our gazes outward and upward. We need each other to lift our eyes to the heavens.
One of the things I love about the Regent community is its habit of looking outward in every respect. As a professor of World Christianity, I help my students look outward at what God is doing in and through his people around the globe. As a college community, we open our doors to students from around the world—from China to Brazil, Egypt to Switzerland, India to the United States—and they open our eyes to the work of God in their homelands. Together, we look outward at creation to care for the earth, outward at diverse vocations to join in God’s work, and outward at different disciplines to engage them theologically.
The beauty of living and learning in this community is that you see the importance of the gospel for all people: for homemakers, artists, engineers, and pilots; for women and men of every age, ethnicity, calling, and background. You truly get a sense of being part of a microcosm of the whole people of God.
Looking outward and opening up is so essential, yet so rare in 2017. In these times of fear and division, it’s all too easy to turn inward and withdraw into familiar enclaves. But that’s why Regent’s outward gaze and its embrace of the whole people of God are so important. Even as so many forces in our societies are trying to pull us apart, Regent reaches out with an expansive view of God’s kingdom and human history. It offers a perspective that urges us to look away from ourselves, away from our fears and divisions, and toward the vastness of God’s beauty, goodness, and truth.
The greatest privilege of teaching at Regent is getting to watch as God brings transformation into the lives of our students—and, through them, into churches, communities, and the world. I truly believe that the church needs more people shaped by Regent’s ethos. It needs more Christians who look outward to the vastness of God’s work in the world and strive to see all of life through the eyes of Christ.
That’s why I’d like to invite everyone who appreciates what’s happening at Regent to support our ongoing work. Regent relies on donor support to carry out every aspect of our mission. Donations keep the lights on in our classrooms, help needy students pay for tuition, fund new resources for pastors and congregations, and so much more. Every gift is a huge blessing to our community. It’s amazing how God works through so many people to provide for our needs. I hope you’ll consider joining in!