Being Salt and Light in A Broken World: Ora Et Labora With Professor Anthony Bradley

Much of Dr. Anthony Bradley’s professional life is driven by one question.

“I ask myself, ‘Where can I partner with God and align myself with the work that He is doing to redeem the whole creation,’” he told the Kuyper community recently at Ora Et Labora, a weekly time where speakers come to campus to talk about their work and how their faith impacts that work. 

This question took hold of him years ago as he researched the New Testament metaphor “salt and light.”

The seasoned higher education professional and new Kuyper Research Professor of Interdisciplinary and Theological Studies told attendees that the symbolism of salt in the Bible is often misinterpreted. 

Unlike in modern times, where the ubiquitous chemical is primarily used as a flavoring agent, it was more often used as a fertilizer in the Ancient Near East, he said.

“So, then Jesus invites God people to be salt and light, He is sending them to places of brokenness and decay in order to bring new life,” he emphasized.

Bradley, who also works for the Acton Institute, a Grand Rapids think tank that promotes the benefits of free enterprise to religious communities, businesspeople, students and educators, has been captivated by this idea ever since. 

“It has led me to do extensive research on issues such as the criminal justice system, divorce, trauma, addiction and male suicide in the hope that I can find solutions that will bring life and revitalization,” he told the audience.

Bringing new life into the world’s broken places isn’t just an issue for academic contemplation, however, he emphasized. It requires real action, whether that is through working in ministry, teaching or simply through our personal relationships.

It also requires that we relinquish control of our lives to the One who created them and follow His lead, wherever that may be, though Bradley acknowledged that doing so can often be a frightening endeavor.

“But if you’re willing to trust that God is for you and intends the best for you, you can rest in the confidence that, wherever God is sending you, you will thrive,” he said.

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