After the events of September 11, I found myself viewing Seattle Pacific University with fresh appreciation. Two things in particular impressed me. First, it was evident that this is a "community" in the truest sense of the word, a group of diverse people who share a love for God and each other, and who care deeply for our nation and our world. And as we cried, prayed, worshipped and discussed on campus, students, alumni and friends around the world wrote and called "home" to share their experiences and their unity. It was a coming together I'll never forget.

I was also struck by, as President Eaton describes in his column, the relevance and timeliness of SPU's vision for graduating people who will engage the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and change the world for good. I don't think it's too bold to say that our work at Seattle Pacific has a real impact on the future of the world. Thousands of Christians educated at SPU are even now employing their knowledge and faith in ways that will help make the difference between peace and conflict on our globe.

For this issue of Response, we invited several members of the Seattle Pacific community to reflect on recent events and attempt to answer the question, "What is our sense of purpose as Christians in a changed world?" Five of these essays appeared in the printed issue; those and three more appear here in the Online Response. You'll find very different perspectives on the situation we face, but a common commitment to living out a thoughtful Christian faith in troubled times.

Over the last few years, you've read a great deal in Response about Seattle Pacific University's vision. Now we'd like to hear from you: your stories and your thoughts about what it means to "engage the culture" in a world so clearly in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Between now and April 15, Response invites SPU alumni, parents, donors and friends to submit 500-word essays on the topic of "engaging the culture." We will publish selected essays in the Summer 2002 Response and the Summer 2002 Online Response. To participate, send your essay to Response, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, Washington 98119, or via e-mail to

We look forward to publishing your words and ideas in Response. This is an opportunity to hear from you about those places where, as SPU student leaders say, "the rubber meets the road."

Jennifer Johnson Gilnett

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