Dear Philly University Students : an open letter (it’s about Jesus, ok?)

Dear students,

Welcome to Philadelphia!

I want to be your friend. What is your name? Will you escape your own personal zone long enough to connect with me? Most of you won’t, but that’s okay because I’m pretty sure some of you will. But really, those people who are ready to connect are the anomalies so don’t feel weird if you think I’m weird. I am weird. So I’ll just go for it…

Don’t you think that Circle of Hope is a perfect place to dedicate your energy and creativity to Jesus? Ok, you’re not that religious or you’re not that religion’s religious, but you do have energy and creativity and you’re looking for a way to use it aren’t you? Why not Jesus?

  • It’s a real shame that the Church has been co-opted by the institutional passion-sappers of our society. I don’t blame you for being suspicious, especially if you have a bad experience with the church or some pseudo experience with a pseudo church person (like on TV).
  • It’s a real shame that our prophetic voice has been silenced by things like student loans, international threats and fears of international threats (and threats of fear of international threats). That which cows us under the pressure just to make it is that which we need to make our lives about unmaking.
  • It’s a real shame too that we’ve made it rude to talk about Jesus anywhere but in a Church’s building. My private faith is meaningless. When we trapped it in our heads we cut our own capacity to transform the world right out from under ourselves.

But Jesus is saving me from shame, so I’ve been working on having real experiences, unmaking ungodly powers, and being so rude as to talk about Jesus in public. I went to a bunch of student activities fairs on your campuses this week (Philadelphia University, uArts, Penn and Eastern). Here’s a picture of me and Jonny at one today. I was struck at how many of you (students) were interested in Jesus’ mission in the world. Some asked me what we do in Circle of Hope and I said we resist and restore. We say “Jesus is living the greatest mutiny ever – we should not waste our rebellion on each other.” Too many of you have seen us wasting our rebellion on each other. Let’s turn our focus on those forces which are hellbent on dominating us. We have a common cause. I’m offering you a common community and a common hope.

Someone told me yesterday that they were excited about the revolution I hoped for but that it was a shame that it had to be about Jesus too. I told him that I couldn’t do it without Jesus. I’ve learned too much about what humanity is capable of. I’ve failed to stop wars with the best of them. My hope in humanity gets dashed even within my own life. People betray me and lie to me. I let myself and others down too. I can’t be as ambitious as I need to be if I don’t have some sure hope–something, or better yet someone, bigger than myself. “I’m doing this with Jesus,” I told him. “Because I can’t do it without him. If you try, you’ll come up against your own limitations too.”

The safest thing to do is to keep your head down and fit into the tiny space the economy has carved out for you. Life with Jesus is not necessarily safe, but it is worth your life’s devotion– all your energy and creativity. Circle of Hope is looking for you as a partner. We will be safe for you to explore while you’re figuring it all out. But if you get next to Jesus, you can expect an adventure at the least, a life worth living that is a threat to all that oppresses at the most. Call me back. I’m on your phone I’m at your door. Find me, I’m looking for you.



Benjamin White

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: