Chadwick Boseman’s Howard University 2018 Commencement Speech
Good speech indeed! My wife and I have been to our kids’ commencement in Ivy leagues, but there is nothing like this one. Coming from a Pentecostal church plants movement from Malaysia to USA, I was somewhat disappointed with the speeches of Valedictorian, Commencement speakers speeches thus far. Some of them are beyond disappointment to shock. Why can’t we have more of this God centered purpose in life Vs career speech in colleges commencement today?
Dr Chadwick Boseman, was in fact, the main actor of that blockbuster movie, Black Panthers, who just died recently at 43 sadly. I never knew him or heard of him, but I have heard of Howard College, a Black College in America. There is just something about the black population, seemingly closer to biblical views in many instances, compared to Americans in general.
The speeches I have heard thus far goes something like this, “look into yourself”, “believe in yourself”, there is nothing that you can’t do, if you work hard, and believe in it. The problem is if you follow the real you, it may be the authentic you, but the problem is the authentic you. There is nothing pretty about the real us, because we are all sinners on our own, and if we are allowed or encouraged to follow the real us, no wonder we have so many problems in our society today. The self-expression views, in the name of liberty, and freedom and passion, have completely wrecked us. There are some God ordained pre-determined passion in you, and it will be good to let it out and grow and flourish! But that’s only a minor part of it, because that’s all wrapped up in the overall much bigger sinful me and flawed me. Look at what Paul wrote:
Roman 7; 7 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
God given purpose Vs Career Path
Most of us are drawn to our career path after graduation from college. We set our eyes on what career, salary, security, and material benefits offer. We all need that. But what Chadwick brought up beautifully is the God ordained purpose in our lives by his pre-determination, that explains the very reason of our existence in this world at this point of history. That’s what we should seek. But without God, you can never find that, let me add. If you are a Christian and graduating, you should really take heed of this. What’s God’s purpose for you in this world? We can follow our vocation, but there is really a higher dimension to our vocation, and that’s to serve God, to love God and follow him. We have many Christians who became doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, professors, businessmen and women, etc., and they are vocations to them. And many of them continue to serve God, walk with Christ and love him in local communities churches, and that’s fantastic. But to put our sight on career path only, and neglect the call of God in our lives, will make our lives, frankly put, meaningless. Unless we find that meaning and calling of God, we remain a meaningless existence in a rat race that’s simply fruitless even with a bunch of wealth and comfort. Where do we find his will and calling? Heb 1: 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.—Put simply, without much exegesis here, we can find the will and call of God in Christ Jesus himself as expressed in the scriptures.
The Books and Teachings in Universities today
What we see in our commencement speeches that are so devoid of God, the calling to follow God, and the meaning of life, that it is frankly disappointing in America, the place where Christianity has made an impact and spread worldwide. One reason is we have detached so far from God in America or most western world today. Because of the intense separation of church and state, people have wrongly and abused it to the extent of separation of God and state. I agree with separation of church and state, in fact, historically, the early founding fathers of Christianity never advocated for the combination of state and church, until the Romans Catholics in the 500+ AD began to combine the power and authority of the state into the churches sadly. With that came the decline of the spirituality of the church, and the abuse of the church to the extent Europe was ruined, and Luther rose by the call of God, to challenge the pope and separated churches from the pope and started the reformation 500. It’s the most amazing awesome thing that happened in history. God was replaced by human church for a longtime in Europe, and finally God reclaimed his church with Luther and reformation.
Because of the enlightenment period, as History.com puts it: in European politics, philosophy, science and communications were radically reoriented during the course of the “long 18th century” (1685-1815) as part of a movement referred to by its participants as the Age of Reason, or simply the Enlightenment.
It’s called the Age of Reason. We love reasoning, and in fact Bible is full of reasoning in the wisdom of God. But reasoning with God out of the way, it simply declines to humanism. That’s what happened. The Enlightenment period threw God out, and replaced him with human glory, reasoning, and scientific explorations. Result is humans are enthroned and became the biggest idolatry ever seen. And today’s all our college books and professors are all written and trained in that enlightenment influence, and any wonder why we hear commencement speeches as we have? They reflect the heart core of what’s really in our education. Remember, if you get the colleges, you get the intellectual life, culture, you got the world. We must engage our campus ministry and reach out to the students world. To change the whole worldview of enlightenment in America, is going to take generations , by the grace and power of God, if anything. We have seen some of the most phenomenal intellectual thinkers in the early age for example, Augustine, who published the City of God, Confessions are some of the most brilliant thinkers and their work have influenced the whole western thinking world to today. They are our Christian giants. We need more of them in our campuses today.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” — Ephesians 4:1
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.