In some ways, it’s not hard at all to find God at Harvard. You can find him down by the river, where our houses are named after the old Puritans—Mather, Dunster, and Winthrop. He’s in the Yard, too—the old University motto, “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae,” is emblazoned right on top of Johnston Gate, reminding us that whether we like it or not, our college is dedicated to “Truth for Christ and the Church.” Matthews Hall is covered with crosses, and Memorial Hall is built like an old Gothic cathedral. And, of course, there’s a church sitting right in the middle of it all, complete with clergy, morning prayers, and Sunday services. God, it seems, was here long before any of us were, and has no intention of leaving anytime soon.
On February 25, I lost a case before the Supreme Court of the United States. It was the final word in a lawsuit I filed over four years earlier, and the end to my legal challenge of a Washington state law that prohibits state college scholarship funds from going to students majoring in theology. I was not just any plaintiff, however; I may be the first person in the history of Harvard Law School to have been party to a Supreme Court case while a student. As Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree noted, it is difficult to be the first of anything at the law school, and my participation in the case has made for an interesting and unique first-year law school experience.
Don’t be clever; do be careful. Don’t be controversial; do be consecrated. Don’t be conceited; do be concentrated. Never choose a text, let the text choose you….When a text has chosen you, the Holy Spirit will impress you with its inner meaning and cause you to labor to lead out that meaning for your congregation.” (1) With words such as these, Oswald Chambers instructed students at his Bible Training College, and, while the implorations may seem unremarkable for a twentieth-century Holiness preacher, the story of how the words came to be spoken and to be published is remarkable, indeed. If ever a story embodied the ideals of Holiness Christianity, that life most certainly was Oswald Chambers’.