The Right Place at the Right Time
The Right Place at the Right Time
Faculty Emeritus and beloved professor Paul Toews’ American History course was “next level” education. Paul was inquisitive—not just about history, but about students. He seemed to enjoy watching us think. Some of my BEST memories of Fresno Pacific were in Professor Toews’ history courses.
Professor Toews once said that Disneyland was the great pilgrimage every American desired to make. At least, that’s the way I remember it. At the time, his hypothesis seemed reasonable. After all, I made my first pilgrimage to Disneyland when I was 18 years old—ironically enough—with a faith group. I remember the place being magical: the music, the colors, the smells, the food, the characters: this was entertainment on steroids!
Frontierland was awesome. But, Tomorrowland, with its rocket ships, Space Mountain and People Mover was simply amazing. It represented a future where technology was a fundamental part of American life. With my philosophical bent, Tomorrowland represented to me something much more important. Namely, it was a sign that humanity was making progress. We were moving toward something fantastic. This idea gave me hope.
Of course, it was entertainment. But it called out to our collective imagination and brought us into a totally new world. Therein lies the magic of the park. Folks can imagine themselves in places where such things do exist. This kind of imagination is not only fun, it is a powerful force.
Imagine that you’ve just stepped into a new land—a land called Hope Valley. This land seems to be a collection of ideas. Or better yet, a mosaic—like a quilt—all woven together. As you walk, you see past spires pointing to the heavens, factories creating products and jobs, bungalows, country estates, ranch houses and cottages, community complexes. The smell of hot food and spice rides the warm sun on every corner. There is something dynamic about this Valley. As you walk, you find homespun creations from diverse artisans standing alongside mass-produced gadgets. Artists, shop keepers, healers, growers, teachers; all folks here work as if they are sections in an orchestra. There is a pulse, a rhythm in this Valley—the spirit of which is punctuated by the fact that all residents are adding value to the experience. It dawns on you quite suddenly that this isn’t a land for entertainment, although there is considerable fun to be had here. No, it’s a model, a grand expression of civility and mutually supportive relationships. Because of the quality of these relationships, Hope Valley creates opportunity across disciplines, people groups and industries.
Hope Valley is nothing less than an existing vision here at Fresno Pacific. This vision is limited only by our imagination. A scaffolding of faith inspires and motivates us to cultivate friendships that orbit the spiritual center of Christ. This center is the catalyst of a Central Valley that has a bright Hope and a Future. In this academic year, we are inviting all our friends to imagine with us; we are inviting them to join us in this grand vision.
Yes, there exist powerful forces that have no imagination. Against these we do not stand unarmed. The same faith that spawns deep devotion gives birth to implausible energy for this Valley. Our future is ripe with opportunity, justice, education, service. And, with all due respect to the value of entertainment, this vision is of a future where lives are transformed, and culture is set right.
In a recent appeal letter, we asked our donors and the local community if they could imagine such a powerful future. Can you? Can you imagine? “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away’” (Rev. 21).