Our Lutheran Identity
As a university, our primary mission is expanding and deepening the mind in its pursuit of truth. As a Lutheran university we believe this mission is best accomplished within a diverse community and in ways that nurture all the dimensions of a student’s life—spiritual, physical, and emotional as well as intellectual.
Encounters with the Christian Faith
Simply put, everyone is welcome here. CLU’s students come from more than 20 countries and 30 different denominations and faith backgrounds. So no one is an outsider. That is one of the most deeply held values in the Lutheran tradition and nowhere more evident than on our campus. As a student at Cal Lutheran, your personal convictions and beliefs will be respected and honored. At the same time, CLU will challenge and strengthen you with new intellectual and theological reflections and provide opportunities for you to encounter the Christian faith in thought and practice.
– Jenifer Ledesma '05
Cal Lutheran’s core curriculum includes two religion courses, although many students elect to take more. Understanding the religious history, beliefs, and customs of our world is a crucial part of a complete liberal education. Other courses throughout the curriculum offer students a chance to see how the academic disciplines intersect with issues of faith. Classroom discussions often include dialogue where Christian ideas and values are contrasted with other seriously argued positions. Professors will encourage you to explore your thoughts and beliefs both academically and outside of the classroom.
In addition, the Office of Campus Ministry provides a broad array of religious opportunities including weekly Chapel, Sunday worship services, Bible studies, small groups, and service projects. Participation in worship services and activities is voluntary. As a university student, you will be encouraged to take responsibility for and make authentic decisions about your own faith.
A Search for Truth
As part of the 500-year-old tradition of Lutheran higher education, we know what it means to tackle the fundamental issues with courage. As a student, you will be encouraged to ask good, hard questions. You will gain respect for the questions themselves but will not be handed easy answers. You will be expected to look beyond the obvious questions presented in a course of study to find profound connections and meaning.
Our integrity as an academic community demands that we approach the world from more than a single mindset or perspective. As we delve deeper into a scholarly discipline or issue, we are sure to encounter thorny paradoxes and troubling questions that will challenge your assumptions, stretch your understanding, and take you into places that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
While this freedom of inquiry gives us the liberty to constantly expand our intellectual and spiritual horizons, we are equally intent never to abdicate our responsibility of compassion. We believe that the process of compassionate dialogue is the surest path to educational excellence and personal maturity.
We have created an environment at CLU where students can take learning deeper and finally make their own decisions about whether the information they encounter meets the tests of knowledge and truth. This kind of academic environment is challenging, but it enables our students to become circumspect, independent, thoughtful, and compassionate individuals whose lives have meaning far beyond the work they choose to do.
A Call to Freedom
No matter who you are, you already have some deeply rooted thoughts and convictions about the meaning and the purpose of your life. At Cal Lutheran you will be both expected and empowered to explore your vocation, your faith, your identity, and your purpose in life in an environment of choices. Some of this exploration will be carefully structured; some will be highly individual and independent.
Outside the classroom you will have hundreds of choices for involving yourself in campus clubs, community service organizations, and all the Student Life, Residence Life, and Campus Ministry programs. Your involvement in such activities will help you discover where your special talents and the world’s deep hunger meet. CLU will provide the options; you will decide which ones to pursue.
The Cal Lutheran experience is about becoming — about making real choices for your life, gaining confidence in your identity, discovering your calling and vocation. CLU will offer you structure with options, freedom with responsibility, and integrity with compassion. We trust that you will hear the call to freedom and, in this environment, discover your capacity for love of neighbor and service in the world.
Some Facts about the ELCA
California Lutheran University is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The vision of the ELCA is to be a church so deeply and confidently rooted in the Gospel of God’s grace that we are free to live our lives joyfully in witness and service. The ELCA is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, a community of Lutheran churches in 72 countries. There are more than 5 million ELCA Lutherans in America and more than 64 million Lutherans worldwide.
Visit the University Ministries Web site to learn more.