Fresno Pacific University’s newest administrator got the new semester off to a prayerful start during Spring Convocation, Wednesday, January 18, 2023, in the Elizabeth V. Lyles Theater, part of the Warkentine Culture and Arts Center on the main campus.
Sharon Tan, Ph.D., dean and vice president, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, began with Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus’ advice to build your house on the solid rock instead of the shifting sand. “Many houses today are built on sand,” she said. “Politicians who get elected based on lies…massive layoffs by formerly invincible companies.”
This is true not only in the U.S. but across the world. “But Fresno Pacific is still here. There have been a few leaks, but we are still here,” she said.
“This is the time we are rebuilding,” she said. “God’s love is the rock on which we build everything.”
Tan came to FPBS July 1, 2022. Before that she was acting dean and professor at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis. She has also served United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities as vice president, dean and professor. She began her career as an attorney in Atlanta.
As we build, there are some things we need to hear, and things we need to act on, Tan said. “We need to hear that we can’t get happy by trying to be happy.”
Quoting Anthony de Mello, the Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist, she added: “We need to hear that you do not have to change for God to love you.”
According to Tan it is time to act on two biblical to-do lists, one in the Old Testament—do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God—and one in the New Testament—love God, love your neighbor as yourself, love one another as God loves us and love your enemy.
Both these lists call on us to love, and neither is a to-don’t list, she said. “The Gospel is what God wants us to do. Can we love one another like Jesus loved us?”