You don’t know Gordon until you know them: Benji Surplice
This issue of the Tartan highlights people who may not be part of Orientation programming but who nevertheless play a big part in making Gordon Gordon.
NAME: Benji Suprice
Incredible powers of encouragement
By Shalomita Maleachi
Spend some time in Lane and you will inevitably run into Benjami ‘Benji’ Suprice. Always dapper and effervescent, Suprice is fond of “social rounds” around Lane. If you look up and smile, chances are he will talk to you — for anywhere between five minutes to two hours
Suprice’s social rounds are not merely whimsical. They are also natural embodiments of his chosen areas of study. A rising junior this academic year, Suprice is a double major in Biblical Studies and Sociology — a powerful combination.
It pairs a deep investigation into the foundations of Christianity with strong analysis of societal conditions. Underlying Suprice’s extroversion is a profound care for community at the intersection of thought and action.
Now, community is a staple word. It can be all too familiar. As Suprice notes, “…community is one of those ‘Gordon words’ that gets used over and over that people may gloss over…” Like an easy refrain, it is a term repeatedly sounded.
Rarely, however, is it improvised upon. So, what is community (improvised)?
According to Suprice, it is “simply unity.” This may sound like an all too simple answer, but it is in an elegant sort of reduction. Like community, “unity” is another staple word.
Independently,, they are bland and overused. Put them together, however, and you have an interesting permutation—one that elucidates the redundancy in such phrases as “united community.”
Redundancies such as these are what contribute to complacency in Christian environments. When words (and subsequently actions) are left unexamined they run the risk of being inert. This is the very thing Suprice pointed out when asked about a challenge here at Gordon, he says, “We all believe that we are Christian and at a Christian college we can allow ourselves to just get caught up in the motions of our faith. We have so much potential to act and be agents of change but it is more comfortable to remain in our own circles so we do not act.”
The task, then, is to be uncomfortable.
By saying community is unity, Suprice invites us to view community as an action to be done rather than something that we are simply apart of. Just as how, Suprice illustrates, the disciples were united not in their “ethnicity as Jews or even their careers” but in their trust in Jesus, comm(unity) comes through activity—in particular, through engagement with difference.
“I heard a quote the other day: ‘God desires unity not oneness’ and I think that strong community means not necessarily searching for homogenous communities but engaging with difference,” says Suprice.
How might, perhaps, one engage with difference on Gordon’s campus? For Suprice, this brings us back to Lane.
“Lane is probably the most diverse (in thought, ethnicity, and sexuality) place on campus at any given point but we tend to just be around the people that make us comfortable.
“If there is one thing that the gospel teaches is that it does not want us to be comfortable. And so anyone that reaches into different circles to just listen and push towards unity I have a lot of respect for.”