On October 30-31, Cairn University continued its series of Centennial events by hosting Dove award-winning singer-songwriter, musician, and author Michael Card (Hon.’09). A long-time friend of the University over the past 30 years, Card engaged deeply with the Cairn community over these two days.
Although his music made him famous (with 19 #1 hits and over 4 million albums sold), Card’s career ultimately centers on the teaching of Scripture. For Card, music is just one means of inviting audiences to join him in exploring the richness of Scripture and knowledge of God. “Michael’s lyrics are profoundly biblical,” explains University president, Dr. Todd Williams, “which sets him apart [in today’s Christian music scene].”
Bursting the constraints of a single communication medium, Card also writes prolifically and lectures widely. The topics of his 24 books and numerous magazine articles reveal a fascination with a broad range of biblical and theological topics: the Gospels, the atonement, joy, freedom, creativity, suffering. His profound writings on lament inspired Cairn University to grant him an honorary doctorate of Religious Education in 2009. In this year alone, his lecturing will take him to over 20 states, as well as across Israel and the UK.
These varied approaches to teaching Scripture became apparent during his two-day visit to Cairn. After speaking in chapel on Wednesday morning, Card spent the next two days guest-teaching in Divinity courses ranging from “Old Testament” to “The Gospel and Society.” As might be expected, however, the highlight of his visit was his contemplative and worshipful Thursday evening performance. Free to the public, the concert drew over 250 members of the local community, alumni, faculty, staff, and students. Characteristically, his thoughtful theology was complemented by the intimate performance. “Michael’s music is honest and artistic and fitting to his music,” Dr. Williams notes. Unlike many Christian artists today, Williams explains further, “[Card] played the last two songs asking the audience not to applaud; he ended with a benediction. His desire is for his music to inspire worship, not entertainment.”
In his humble focus on the glory of God, Card exemplifies both the Centennial celebration’s gratitude for God’s faithfulness and its commitment to another century of reaching the world with a biblical and transformative knowledge of God. As the University president expressed, “Michael is, above all, interested in exalting the Lord Jesus in his music and his teaching, and in that way, very much resonates with us as a University.”