I now believe that The Trailblazer exists to serve MidAmerica – students, staff and faculty – in three definitive ways: to get answers, to promote conversation and to share stories. And one belief unifies these three goals.

Last year, Dr. Randy Beckum gave a chapel message that sparked discussions and news stories. We did our best to ask important and difficult questions in order to get answers for a community that was searching for them. It became our job to seek out details and to make sure that we always had accurate information. In the midst of those stories, our late nights and long interviews helped me understand our first purpose.

Last semester, I had the privilege of moderating a forum where members of the MNU community gathered together to discuss America’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis as an issue of security and of morality. Not only did we run out of seating in the Tipping Point, the conversation continued among students who stayed well into the night to continue wrestling with the nuances of this issue. I will always be proud when The Trailblazer can be even a small part of big conversations that bring people together on a search for truth and understanding.

Already this semester, we’ve told a small piece of the story of Edgar and Maron Moore, a couple with great love for MidAmerica. The Moores left a gift to MNU worth an estimated value of $9.5 million – an incredible gesture that illustrates how much they believed in the good that this school can do. Stories like these reflect what it means to be a Pioneer, regardless of if we’re talking about sports teams or SERVEteams, students or staff, spiritual life or social life or so many other aspects of our community.

At the heart of these goals for The Trailblazer, I have one overwhelming, driving conviction.

It can seem difficult to stay informed. It can seem uncomfortable to challenge ourselves with controversial issues. It can seem impossible to look at the people around us and understand that they have just as intricate of a story as we do. And there are people who believe that average college students aren’t ready to wrestle with complicated topics.

They’re wrong.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you should prefer ignorance to complexity. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t want the truth when you know that you do. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not ready to push yourself. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Don’t hesitate to make yourself comfortable with being uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to challenge what you believe. I was told that we aren’t meant to be settlers.

If you have any questions, opinions, stories or ideas for The Trailblazer, email jbbrisco@mnu.edu.