In these first few weeks of school, we arrive with great excitement and anticipation. Leaving our homes and families behind, we gather together to participate in, and indeed shape, this place we call the Claremont Colleges. In the coming months and years, we will all encounter ideas that push us to reconsider our worldviews and narratives that capture our imaginations. Together, these ideas and narratives create the campus wide dialogue that is a liberal arts community.
In your hands, you are holding the inaugural issue of The Claremont Ekklesia, a journal that hopes to bring Christian faith into this dialogue. Ekklesia, a Greek word often translated “church,” literally means “those called out,” and originally denoted the political assembly that gathered in ancient Athens. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, Paul used this world to refer to the assembly of Christian believers called out for purposes in this world.
What could the Ekklesia possibly have to offer our community? Why do these schools need a bunch of religious folk publishing their opinions and stories and works of art?
We write because we honestly believe that the Ekklesia, which ultimately extends beyond Claremont and across time and space, offers an exciting, alternative vision of reality. Rooted in an embodied community of love, these words spill out of the ongoing narrative of the living people of God. Through this journal, then, we hope to contribute a distinctively and particularly Christian perspective to discussions of the good life in our community.
Much of this current issue is devoted to stories. Whether it’s a journey across the traditional boundaries between faith and science, a reflection on pain and suffering, or an investigation of God’s relationship to nature, each of these stories is one of your fellow student’s attempts to bring their deepest spiritual convictions into conversation with their learning at these colleges.
As members of a variety of denominations, we hope these stories reflect both the unity and diversity found within the Christian faith. Although we consider ourselves Christians, and anchor our faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we all bring slightly different perspectives to the discussion. None of us approaches this dialogue with certainty or objectivity–rather, we are committed to a humble search of understanding, and we warmly invite you to join us in this endeavor.
Ryan Stewart, Editor-in-Chief