My Thoughts After Four Years

Tyler Collins, Opinions Editor

I stood, this past Sunday, and watched the Rev. Dr. Leroy E. Adams. His voice vibrated through the room with deep emotion. It had the ring which I have only previously heard from recordings of Martin Luther King. He, a black man, filled the stage of my primarily white church with his presence. His own church congregation, primarily African American, was dispersed in the pews, which resembled a slice of rye bread with its swirls of different colored faces.
It was direct and pointed. It was powerful and loving. It was respectful and gentle. It was moving and passionate. It was real and engaging. Our own pastor and worship team side-by-side with theirs, not hiding from the problems we face, but discussing racism openly and with compassion for one another, knowing that love can break down walls.
This moment, this scene, is a summation of the most essential lesson which high school, in its many facets, has boldly proclaimed to me: Civil discourse, or open dialogue, defined as “engagement in conversation intended to enhance understanding,” is the most powerful force for the pursuit of truth.
My heart for the past two years on “The Hoofbeat” staff, has been to embody this principle. My writings have covered a broad range of topics such as relations between religions and people groups, the historicity of Noah’s Flood, scientific critiques of the evolutionary story, a plea for a protection of life, investigation of whether truth really is true, radiometric dating, and whether dragons really are just dinosaurs. I have had a blast writing about them.
My hope is that I have demonstrated differing points of view with the utmost respect and shared them with language that creates, not shuts down, civil discourse. In our culture, the message oftentimes seems to be that to disagree with someone is to hate them, but we must realize that it is okay to disagree with others, as long as it is done with gentleness and respect. Diversity in thought is an opportunity to grow and to seek the truth in every issue.
I desire my last printed words to the students and staff of MN to be a modest echoing of the words of George Washington’s Farewell Address which were recently popularized in a song from the musical “Hamilton.” My role has been far less significant than his—clearly—and a comparison of persons I am not attempting, but his humble words ring powerfully to me. I ask that you simply read it carefully with the details of my own life exchanged in for his.
“Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion.”