(largely a British hunting phrase, shouted when a rider sees a Fox)
Well, for the last month this exclamation has been at the tip of my tongue throughout the launch-phase of this new school year in the SpiL (Spiritual Life) office of George Fox University. Most of this month has been a blur, but as the dust settles a bit I recall typing, “Tally Ho!” at the end of an email to our tech guide for Floatabout. Our guide helped us float 21 student leaders down the “mighty” Willamette for a three-day, living metaphor of Jesus’ rhythm to life (as pointed out so profoundly in Henri Nouwen’s article Moving from Solitude to Community to Ministry).
This coincidental use of the phrase got me reflecting quite a bit: Could it be that we are genuinely on the “hunt” for the next generations of “Foxes”? Or maybe it’s just that I’m so excited to work amidst a community with not just a namesake, but a heritage that is sold on the idea that discipleship and working for justice/peace in the world are suppose to stay married together! That discipleship is not merely something done in homogenous groups of 8-12 people in a circle looking at each other and the latest bible-study curriculum, but that discipleship is whole-person, experiential transformation that can start in our vision and permeate through our hearts, hands, and feet in the practice of ministering reconciliation to a broken world. It also seems this discipleship can, and should, first permeate throughout our campus, beginning with student leaders like ours in SpiL, spending our first afternoon together at Tilikum Camp, laughing, remembering each other’s names, hitting each other with rubber chickens, encouraging others as they are climbing giant ladders, reflecting about how communication (and mis-communication) affects the enterprise of perpetuating right relationships, and that we must first, as “Fox-y” disciples of Jesus, BE the justice and peace we wish to SEE in the world.
Just like every launch-season of our school year, I count it a great privilege to point our student leaders to the first value on GFU’s list: “We are a Christ-centered university rooted in the Friends tradition. We take seriously the challenge of Jesus Christ to be God’s agents of love and reconciliation in the world.”
And so I will continue to say: Tally-ho, Fox-student-leaders. Tally ho!
Contributed by Rusty StCyr, associate pastor of ministry and service, George Fox University