Just Jay Blog

Salt and Light Stories I Love

Being a college president has many joys and many challenges. But one thing that keeps me motivated is hearing amazing stories about Bethel students and alumni who are living out their lives as adventurous Christ-followers. One of Bethel’s core values is to be “salt and light” in the world. This is a phrase we use frequently in Christian evangelical circles, but what do we mean when we use it? Salt and light are metaphors used by Jesus in the Bible to talk about how Christians should reflect the love of Christ to a broken world.

Matthew 5:13-16: “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its flavor be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Many Bethel alumni are salt and light, reflecting God’s love in their businesses, their neighborhoods, and many places around the world. Here are a few who have inspired me recently:

  • Katie Toop ’00, a physics major who got her master’s in water and environmental management at Loughborough University, is in Central Asia where she helps 10 villages develop or improve water supplies, equipping community members to maintain them and educating local women on the importance of hygiene.
  • Aaron Kardell ’02, who was  featured in the Star Tribune recently for developing an application for the Apple iPhone called iGarageSale. The technology helps iPhone users find the nearest garage and estate sales.
  • Dan Hunt ’95, GS’97 donated a kidney to Sherry Hanson, a tenant in a home owned by Urban Homeworks, where Hunt is director of housing.  “Everyone wants to be bound by what-ifs,” he told KARE-11. “What if your kids need it? What if your other one fails? I’m just not prepared to live my life based on what-ifs.”
  • Many Bethel alumni have been involved personally in the efforts to rebuild Haiti after their earthquake. We’ve tried to cover a few of their stories.
  • Eric Johnson ’01, a middle school teacher in at an inner-city Chicago charter school, where teachers keep their students focused on college by naming their classrooms after their alma maters. Johnson and his wife are rehabbing an old drug house they purchased.
  • Sarah Thacker ‘98, who has been through a tremendous ordeal in her effort to adopt two-year-old Reese from Haiti. Watch for more Haiti stories in the upcoming Bethel magazine.