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Community must see our Christian commitment, Mohler says
August 29, 2005
By Bryan Cribb
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. encouraged students not to park on Godfrey Avenue, a residential street that is adjacent to the campus. Photo by David Merrifield
Seminarians have a responsibility to reach the world with the Gospel, but also to exhibit Christ in the surrounding neighborhood, said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.
In an interview with Towers, Mohler explained that neighbors who live near the seminary campus are watching the lives and conduct of students, faculty and staff. And this behavior can display either a positive or negative witness.
"Our witness is not in what we say, but what we do," Mohler said. "And we want to be a good neighbor here.
"We want our neighbors to be proud of the seminary here, and we want them to see the evidence of our Christian commitment in our lives."
One of the most practical ways students can live out Christian conscientiousness is by refraining from parking on the residential streets adjacent to 2825 Lexington Road, specifically Godfrey Avenue.
"We need to go the extra mile to understand that we can very easily clog the roadways and take all the parking places," Mohler said. These actions, he added, can "really cause frustration on the part of our neighbors, and that is just not a good way to communicate who we are and what we believe to this neighborhood."
Mohler recognizes that parking can be a challenge for students, especially given the tremendous growth of the seminary over the past few years. But, he emphasized that the seminary has made a point to provide plenty of spaces for students to park.
"We also take responsibility at this institution to provide adequate parking, and so just in the last two years we have added a large number of spaces," Mohler said. "And given our census and enrollment, there should be plenty of parking spaces. But that may mean you cannot park right in front of where you are going, and instead have to take a walk across the campus.
"But if you look at other educational institutions, we are in very good shape and at the most distant point it is shorter than what you would find at a state university or some other kind of institution."
In short, Mohler said, sometimes students will need to sacrifice convenience for their witness.
"What may appear convenient in the short term can be very costly in the long term," he explained. "We need to remember that in the light of the kind of witness that we would like to give to this community."
Indeed, students should consider the neighborhood around the seminary as a mission field as well.
"The whole world is our mission field, but we can hardly act as if we're taking the global context seriously if we overlook the people who are living right around us, who are watching this seminary, watching its professors, watching its students and our families to see who we really are what we really believe," he said.