A new perspective, a different way of looking at things: that is what we all need from time to time. For the strong tendency within all of us is to become so accustomed to particular viewpoints that we easily miss other dimensions of the truth and beauty of God’s Word and creation.
This is one reason a Christian liberal arts college is so exciting. Our mission involves the use of many academic disciplines and approaches to gain breadth and depth in our understanding of God’s world. It would be much harder to cope with the complex world, let alone provide leadership in it, without the wisdom and maturity that comes from a liberal arts education.
Of course that is the reason liberal arts graduates end up in such challenging leadership positions within the church, the business world, and society in general. They are more apt to be whole people, developed in all areas to become mature and deep and well-balanced in their lives and work and relationships.
An appreciation for art and music is an essential part of a Christian liberal arts education. Just as we learn over time to love certain kinds of food, so it may take some practice to learn to appreciate the range of truth and beauty found in art and music. The liberal arts college is designed to provide that practice, so graduates can live their lives with greater understanding and enjoyment.
When I was in college, the graduation requirement provided a choice between music or art appreciation, and I chose music. I love music, and it has become very important in my life and leisure. But I have learned to appreciate only part of the world of visual art. Maybe this is the reason I am so determined that our students at Westmont should learn about the range of art as well as music.
If we are to be one of the strongest liberal arts colleges in the country, we must include art and music as a basic and essential part of our curriculum. The new art building, to be located virtually in the center of campus, will make a strong statement about the importance of this dimension of higher education. Students will be able to walk through our galleries on their way to and from other classes. What a wonderful change this will bring to our campus!
But all of us, whether undergraduate students or not, must broaden our appreciation for the arts, and thus enjoy God’s handiwork more fully. We can profit from new and exciting perspectives about the nature of God and His relationship with us. This commitment of Westmont will make a significant difference in the experience and growth of our graduates as they prepare to model Christian maturity in their homes, churches and communities.