An Open Letter to the Men of Hillsdale:
Men, recall with me a classroom scene we’ve all experienced. It’s an unpleasant scene, a rough time to be in the classroom, no doubt. It is characterized by a paralyzing stress. Simply being in the room sends adrenaline and cortisol pulsing through one’s body. An attentive ear can even detect quiet prayers pleading with God to pick this moment for the Rapture. Hopefully, you were lucky enough to take a bathroom break just before the professor’s mouth utters the dreaded question: “I need a volunteer!”
Enervating situations like these constantly arise for college students. These moments cry out for action, for someone to raise their hand, say something, or, in this case, volunteer. Yet the stress and uncertainty scares most into silence and inaction. Alas, these unscripted situations still require a volunteer, a leader, or action. So who is take the unenviable plunge into uncertainty?
The answer should be men. But why?
The male’s call to action-oriented leadership is an inescapable mandate from God. In Genesis 2, God places Adam in the Garden to work and cultivate it, both action-oriented directives. But just one chapter later, Adam repudiated this command. He stood idly by, watching the Serpent tempt Eve, and later sought asylum amongst the trees, running from God’s approaching footsteps. When questioned by God, he rejected responsibility by minimizing his role in a forbidden action: “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Nothing has changed, guys. We still, like Adam, are disposed to silence, hiding, and deferring responsibility to others. But we were not originally designed to be silent, hide, or defer responsibility. God put Adam in the Garden to work it, leading in the naming of animals and cultivation of the Garden. So instead of following Adam’s passivity, we need to emulate Isaiah 6:8: “Here I am. Send me!” We have to understand part of our design is to lead boldly; running does not change our nature. God engineered us to lead and to fill leadership vacancies. Remember, Adam was given the responsibility to name the animals, despite a lack of any animal-naming qualifications. Do not worry about your competence or ability to step in without hiccups. That is beside the point.
We will never be at peace sitting quietly in our classroom chair and waiting for another to volunteer.
Being bold is uncomfortable, I’ll be the first to admit. But as Hillsdale men, we do not have the privilege of being afraid of the uncomfortable. We go to a rigorous institution where we eat, sleep, and breathe the uncomfortable. Our core curriculum is uncomfortable; our workload is uncomfortable; expanding our intellectual horizon is uncomfortable. More importantly, growth itself is uncomfortable. But if being uncomfortable is a sign of growth, think about how much we are growing!
Let us take the pulse of campus here and now. Our campus needs more male presence.
We need to lift our eyes up from our Facebook and Instagram apps to scroll through the environment we currently occupy. It’s time to stop hiding behind a full schedule of classes to get involved in GOAL programs, SAB, InterVarsity, or other clubs. It’s time to stop dismissing responsibility because it’s “not my thing” or leadership because “I’m an introvert.” It’s time to date women and commit, not hook up or have a “thing.”
Indeed, we males fight a strong current in life that washes us towards inaction and comfort. Just remember that if you are not actively fighting against the current, you’re drifting backwards toward passivity.
A Brother in Passivity