Prof. Rosemary Mbogo
The Journey of Being Salt and Light of the world as we face the future
There is a journey that we all must take as pilgrims on this earth; it is a journey that is adventurous as we embark in to the unknown – the future. That journey calls for sound thoughts, feelings and actions that warrant success. Jesus, the Master Teacher, used the imagery of salt and light:
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
As the salt of the earth, our Master calls us to savor the world around. This is a call to make impact in society. If we are true to our call, then our presence can be felt by the world around us. In a world full of evil, we can make impact by doing good. In a world full of fear, we can make impact by demonstrating courage. In a world full of mistrust, we can make a model of what it means to be one and to excel in teams. We can provide solutions to the problems of the world. Jesus did not make a suggestion that we could be the salt; he just declared what we are the salt.
As the light of the world, our Master implies that our light should shine. And in a world full of darkness, we cannot be hidden. As light, the deeds of darkness are exposed and because light overcomes darkness, the result should be positive change in society. Again this is a given, it is not a proposal. Our stance as Disciples of Christ is supposed to exude the character of Christ.
But what do these mean for graduates, students, academic and non- academic staff of AIU and specifically of the School of Education, Arts and Social Sciences (SEAS)? First, SEAS must make national impact in the area of Education. As Christ-centered leaders who have been trained at AIU, we must offer educational leadership to impact the largest sector of our society. Evidently, there are enormous opportunities to participate in giving direction to our country’s education. As the government embarks on reforms, we can make our presence felt. We can make ourselves available at the forums that are discussing the reform agenda, we can research, write academic papers and publish on various aspects of the curriculum, we can develop blogs to address pertinent issues in the education sector, and we can lead a movement to advocate for value-driven education for our society.
Second, we can impact the area of mental health and the general well-being of our society through our counselling psychology department. Every Kenyan should be concerned about the mental health of our society especially as cases of murder and suicide continue to increase in our society. To the extent that there are increasing reports of mothers killing their children, wives killing their husbands, sons killing their parents etc., there is cause for concern. There is rising animosity between people even from the smallest unit of the family – the nuclear family. This has multiplied cases of divorce and separation, animosity between relatives, clans and communities. We therefore continue to have clan, inter-ethnic fights and even civil war in many countries of Africa and the world at large. AIU can lead in the task of empowering people to sort out issues amicably. We can train people to develop attitudes, skills and competencies for their emotional well-being. We can help people know how to address their personal issues through sound psychological techniques using Christ-centered principles, in order for them to extend the same help to others.
Third, we can impact the area of development through our programs in development studies. It should be our concern that African countries lag behind many countries in the world in the area of development. As such we are reported through many statistical analysis reports as a hub of a myriad of problems ranging from enormous slums, diseases, unemployment, and their outcomes including conflict and war, corruption, death, etc. Yet, all these threats provide us with opportunities for impacting society. We can offer solutions through innovation, job and wealth creation activities, developing models for good stewardship of resources and by engaging effective communities in effective and efficiently run ‘socialpreneurship’ programs. These programs can be run free of corruption by integrating Christ-centered values.
Fourth, we can impact the area of the arts and linguistics through our Languages, Linguistics and Translation department. We have a lot to offer our African nations whose uniqueness is diversity of culture, language being the lead. As multicultural societies, we can develop contextual based solutions for many ethnic problems encountered in Africa. By helping people with literacy and languages skills we can empower communities to embrace and appreciate different communities. Through translation, we can help in understanding each other’s thoughts, feelings and world views as literary works are translated. Through the arts, we can enhance the already existing interest in singing, dance, drama, poetry and other theatrics to promote cultures.
It is clear that there is much to do in this journey as we face the future. The call of Jesus for us to be salt and light of the world is therefore loud and clear. We are called to make a difference, a positive difference in the world we live in. But we also need to have the long term future in perspective. This is a call to remember that the journey ends with eternity.
To all prospective students and staff, you are welcome to join in this exciting journey!
Dean of SEAS