Bishop William Willimon Encourages Students to Find Answers Through Living
LAKELAND (April 30, 2012) – Asking the right questions and living out the answers are the marks of a true education, United Methodist Bishop William H. Willimon told students at the baccalaureate service on April 27 at the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel.
Willimon, Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, spoke to about 100 students, faculty, and family members at the service on the eve of spring commencement at FSC.
Prior to his election as bishop in 2004, Willimon was a pastor, and Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University. He is the author of 60 books.
Known for his sometimes biting humor, Willimon delivered his message as a “Q and A” session in which he pretended to field questions from students in the audience and gave witty and incisive answers.
“No, I don’t know when we’ll finally get out of the way and let you run things,” Willimon said at one point in response to a “question.”
Turning serious, he said, “Maybe answers aren’t the point. Maybe the point of all this is to get you to ask the right questions. There are big questions facing you, and you can grab an answer way too soon. What is the life that’s worth living? That’s the question. My answer can’t be yours.”
Willimon told the students that answers can only be found through risking themselves for the sake of others.
“Florida Southern can give you answers, but it can’t give you a life worth living. Only you can do that. I hope God gives you some good answers, and I hope the life you live is really good,” he said.
The service concluded with audience members holding lighted candles and reciting a responsive prayer led by FSC senior Adrienne Kneebone, recipient of FSC’s Religion in Life Award.