In a pluralizing world, that is an audacious claim. To many it sounds the epitome of arrogance. Who’s to say anyway? How would we ever know?
It reminds me of an evening years ago now with the leaders of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the ones who survived. To a person they had suffered, and yet they kept saying, again and again, that they “loved China.” They wanted to ask a question, and I was asked to spend an evening with them.
The question? “Knowing that a return to China may mean suffering, even death, we will do that, because of our love, but we want a meaningful basis for taking that kind of responsibility. We want an answer that can make sense of that, and we have been asking the philosophers of the world if they have a good answer to our question. No one does. We wonder whether Christianity has an answer. What do you think?”
It is not a cheap question, and there are no cheap answers. And yes, we did talk late into the night.
This past weekend I was at Regent College in Vancouver, BC, focused on that very question. For about an half year now The Washington Institute has been partnering with Regent on a curriculum project, and over the weekend we were filming several members of the faculty lecturing on the thesis that there is “a Story that makes sense of all the stories,” as one of their professors put it. Differently done because they have different personalities and disciplines, together they focused on the plausibility of a metanarrative that gives coherence to human life, personally as well as publicly. In other words, a view of life and the world that makes sense of who we are and why we are, of what can be believed and of how we can live.
The curriculum will be called ReFrame, and our hope is that it will be wonderfully done and available to people all over the world. The due date is late spring, early summer. Taking part in the weekend was a gift to me, and my hope is that the curriculum will be a gift to many—perhaps even to the ex-patriots from China whose question still runs through my heart.
(Photo from the plane leaving Vancouver, looking out over the western edge of the city, with the University of British Columbia and Regent College.)