Written for Lipscomb University on December 14, 2015
I would argue that the world does not need more engineers. In Ecclesiastes, the teacher informs us that there is nothing new under the sun. Technology has changed human culture drastically, and yet we still face many of the same basic human struggles as we have for thousands of years. Technology is not the answer to society's most pressing concerns.
Instead, the world needs more engineers who are followers of Jesus Christ. Our religion is not an old-fashioned way of thinking that has no place in the "real world". Rather, Jesus Christ sets our lives in proper order, releases us from the bondage of sin, and frees us to participate meaningfully in creation. Accordingly, we need engineers who practice the "golden rule" in their careers, who know there is a time to use technology to solve a problem, and who know that technological progress is not in-and-of-itself a solution.
Furthermore, I believe that today's youth are often paralyzed by choice. Our culture has encouraged us to believe that we are made for one purpose. So we stress and delay about big decisions. Then, after we've made a decision, we experience the first sign of difficulty and begin to second-guess everything. Instead, I believe we should intentionally challenge our students (and ourselves) to focus on God's Calling - to follow him with all of our hearts, minds, soul, and strength. Only then are we truly set free to take advantage of the blessings He brings into our lives.
The typical undergraduate student is 18-22 years old. Many are living independently for the first time in their lives. They are forming the habits of mind and body that will form their adulthood. Physiologically, the prefontal cortex of their brains, where rational decision making abilities reside, are still maturing. For these students, college finishes the transition from childhood to adulthood. I want to help guide this transition in my students. I want to push each individual to be their personal best. I also want to be gracious when they "sell out" to mediocrity at times or stumble in their responsibilities - for this is the same environment in which I have been blessed to grow and develop.