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