I don?t want you to believe anything I teach you. I want you to go back to scripture to see if it is so. While Mark Eckel is a professor of Christian Theology, he says ?my job is not to convince or convict anyone of anything. I am not in the eternal judgement business. He is struck by the idea that passion needs wisdom as he comes alongside students encouraging them to draw wisdom from scripture in order to find their place of truth in the world.
A Staggering Statistic
Studies report 75% of Christian young people may leave the church altogether after attending public university. Encouraging a student?s faith commitment through college comes from a personal spiritual investment in students. Mark Eckel invests extensively in students.He is a mentor, a confidant and encourager who engages students in the pursuit of theological truth throughout their academic studies. He interacts with students helping them live out their faith by knowing how to respond biblically to the world around them. He reflects on the young college students who are enthusiastic about meeting with him ?the students are intent on listening and they appreciate an older Christian who actually cares about them. Young people ARE our future, how will we inspire them?
Sharing Lunch and a Christian Viewpoint
Mark Eckel, ThM PhD is the president and founder of The Comenius Institute, a non-profit Christian study center which operates in Indianapolis on the campus of IUPUI. Comenius supports and equips Christian young people to navigate their studies from a Christian viewpoint.Mark sits across the table with young people at IUPUI sharing lunch and discussing everything from subatomic particles to moral dilemmas.He is also a student at IUPUI and he spends hours listening, collaborating, and sharing viewpoints from a biblical perspective with students.
Ideas Change People…People Change a Culture
Dr. Eckel has been teaching for 30 years. He has a master's degree in?Theology – Old Testament and he has a doctorate in social science research and leadership. He recently asked a former student how the Christian world view affects academics and she said ?the Christian worldview approach to life is not just one thing, it is everything. Faith and learning are inseparable.? Every classroom session and every homework assignment was geared towards enabling students to integrate Biblical principles and apply those universal truths for a lifetime. Why you might ask does God have to be brought into everything? Dr. Eckel?s answer is always the same ?we do not bring God into everything: He is already there.? Most non-profits are dealing with the physical needs of people. We deal in ideas. Ideas change people and people change a culture.
In addition to spending time with young people on the university campus, Mark Eckel hosts a weekly radio program Warp and Woof Radio on RadioNext.tv every Wednesday morning from 10 ? noon. The guests are diverse and the topics far-reaching but the common theme is uniting Christian communities in Indianapolis with special emphasis on Black and White relations. In a recent ?State of the Church in Indianapolis? roundtable, Mark invited four pastors, young/old, black/white, urban/suburban. A black and white pastor were talking on a break and one says to the other ?you mean you have that problem too.? Mark observes ?the issues around us are so much more similar than different. We agree with each other 9 out of 10 times.? Mark feels a responsibility to actively and intentionally reach across the aisle to somebody else who looks different than him. It might be why he introduces his producer and co-host HB Bell as his ?twin brother.
Love And Respect Above All
Warp and Woof radio demonstrates listening to those whose voice, culture and background is different than our own. Mark explains, ?we can treat others with love and respect using language which invites and not alienates. We can support another's right to speak even when we disagree with the point being made. When you think about what you might post on social media, ask yourself what do you want to be known for? How do you live your life? ?Your words, the stories you tell, the pictures you post, do they attract or put people off?
?Doing good? is the mission of Warp and Woof Radio? Doing good is not just a tag line. Doing Good is a Christian way of Life. Why is it called ?warp and woof?? It comes from the essential foundation of any structure or organization. In weaving, ?warp? are the threads that run lengthwise and ?woof? are the threads that run across. It is based on Colossians 1:17 ?He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.? And in case you were curious as to what or who Comenius is, Mark explains I chose the name after John Amos Comenius, a Moravian pastor who taught students based on their giftedness and how they learn and what they are interested in. He also believed women should be educated. I chose Comenius because we share the same educational philosophy.
Christianity and Culture
Dr. Mark Eckel is a professor of leadership, education and discipleship. He has served the Christian community as a speaker, educational consultant, mentor, and as a writer on most every level. But what he might be best known for is watching movies. If you get invited to Eckel?s house, you watch a movie. Film is one of the most influential and powerful mediums of storytelling in our culture. Mark offers wise perspective on how Christians can engage with popular culture and teaches how to critically review film through the lens of biblical thinking.A former student remembers I remember Mosquito Coast and Dr. Eckel walking around the room crying out ?Scene Change, notice the scene changes in a movie. The director does not put them in there for nothing! He taught us we couldn?t just watch a movie, we had to think about the movie.? Without fail through the many years of teaching, and varied opinions his students would share, ALL of his students will agree on one thing, ?Dr. Eckel has ruined watching movies for me forever.Mark Eckel smiles because he knows it wasn?t about watching movies, it was about preparing for life.
Support The Next Generation
The Comenius Institute is training the next generation to think and live Biblically.How will you invest to provide impact for young people? Will you partner with an organization which is making a difference in the faith and lives of college students?
Sponsor Lunch Table Discussions
Dr. Mark Eckel shares lunch with students at IUPUI while sharing Biblical perspective. Students ask questions on any subject from law changes and culture, to the pressure to shift their moral compass. They discuss housing and discrimination to narrow viewpoints taught in class.You could sponsor the lunch program for a year.
In the words of one of the students, this is what your financial help will provide, ?Comenius has been a great help during my transition period from high school to college.Having a place to discuss absolutely anything with friends and a professor who cares not just about my mind but also about my soul has been a huge blessing. It has helped me to see the intersection of the ideas I’m discussing in class and my faith, and has allowed me to wrestle with points of conflict in a group setting. God is not absent on my campus.
Bringing Cultures and Communities Together
The Comenius Institute is bringing cultures and communities together.
Warp and Woof Radio Show ? The Comenius Institute sponsors the weekly radio show which promotes community partnerships. Christians are served in all vocations, non-profits, churches, businesses and volunteers who are ?doing good.
Sponsor the radio show for a year and see God?s truth bring reconciliation with love.
Lecturing the Next Generation
Partnering with The Comenius Institute provides research, writing, and speaking in the areas of Christian leadership, curriculum development, faith-learning integration, theology, current culture, apologetics, film critique, and worldview. Will you support these efforts to provide thought provoking lectures and articles to fuel knowledge from a Christian perspective?
Partnering with The Comenius Institute provides an infusion of creative educational ideas for the learning community. It is the hope of Comenius to provide a place for learners to engage in spiritual-intellectual growth in an environment that encourages study, reflection, curiosity, discourse and collaboration through the in-depth pursuit of wisdom.
Join the growing number of Comenius supporters who see the need to encourage the next generation of Christian young people.
The Comenius Institute where Christian Wisdom and college life meet.
Mark Eckel, Th.M. Ph.D.
President, The Comenius Institute (501c3)
Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan is a freelance journalist connecting people through the stories they tell. She is the Chief Connection Officer for The Comenius Institute