The Old Order Changes

Outside my family, Torrey Honors is the best thing to happen to me so far. The chance to start Torrey and work with the chums has been the greatest honor of my life.

Jesus built Torrey and it was a miracle that I could be involved. I am so thankful to Biola University for taking a risk on an early thirty-something philosopher and making a dream come true. Men like President Cook, Provost Sherwood Lingenfelter, and Dean Shanebeck were role models in allowing innovation and risk.

That dream was for a dialectic experience with no boundaries. This education would be skeptical, but true skepticism would, we trusted, bring us back to Jesus Christ. Al Geier taught me the quest, my Mom and Dad showed me the end, and Phil Johnson the spirit of an ancient approach to education.

It was joyful. And I could always trust the students, the chums, to join the quest.

So I loved every moment of class for almost twenty years.

A team gathered to share that vision and they took it and made it better. Paul Spears, Thomas Llizo, and Fred Sanders were the first co-workers. Fred and Paul improved everything and contributed new ideas as they tempered my passions.

There was no Torrey before them and because of them Torrey continues.

And yet I am reminded of a poem that has always haunted me.

In “Idylls of the KIng” Arthur says:

The old order changeth, yielding place to new,

And God fulfils himself in many ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?

Torrey isn’t Britain and I am not even a poor man’s Arthur, lacking even a barge let alone Exacalibur, but there is a lesson here even for me. There comes a time for leadership to move on lest it become hidebound and stale.

Yesterday’s goods can become tomorrow’s evils.

I began to worry that I was staying too long. I am a “starter” and not a “repeater.” Torrey is stable with a strong leadership team and I am more an entrepreneur and vision caster.

Biola has new leadership for a new century with plans to take the University forward. Things are good here.

At the same time, a man I admire, Robert Sloan, moved to Houston Baptist University. He started a dialectic program with a strong faculty. In the “Ten Pillars” of the University he laid out an outstanding vision.

Sloan is interested in going “further up and further in” and has assembled a team to do so.

This aging philosopher was invigorated at the promise of what is happening in Houston. When the position of University provost opened, I applied and went through the process. Recently, Sloan called to ask if I would take the job.

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About John Mark Reynolds

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