Kevin Offner, a friend on InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Graduate & Faculty Ministry, will be leading the below seminar on Sunday, January 20, in Washington, D.C. If you're in the area, I commend it to you. If you're not in the area, take a few minutes to read his Touchstone magazine piece, Three’s No Crowd.(More)
Dear Partners in Ministry,
Follow this link for our year end mailing in PDF. If you attended our dessert or receive our mailings (paper/email), then you will most probably already have seen it. We rejoice in your prayer, encouragement, and support of our vital vocationally forming home mission.
In addition to a number of year end donations and faith commitments for the coming year (which have addressed about 20% of our $10,000-15,000 projected June fiscal year end shortfall), we're receiving a printer/copier combination to replace our broken unit, following up to an offer for assistance with daytime volunteer support for mailings/special events, and Christmas gift cards for the family -- thank-you! If you'd like to donate time, materials, or services (particularly as we prepare for some special events in the spring semester), drop us an email or give us a call.(More)
Well stated Mike! Wish we could have this clarity in conversations on campus.
Praise God for followers of Christ which take the time to call us to remember/learn the context, history and meaning of the Christmas carols which have become part of the background in Christmas parties, coffee shops, malls, and road trips! Here's a recent post passed along to me by my friend Kevin. May this research bless your own journey in Christ this Advent/Christmas/Epiphany and be a blessing to others as you share Word-, Logos-, Light-, Incarnational- and Spirit-based reflections with others at your local congregation, home, workplace, and various Christmas-time socials. By-the-way, make sure you follow the link to Ben Witherington's post No Inn in the Room-- a Christmas Sermon on Lk. 2.1-7. What a prophetic academic!(More)
The Terminator-like Beowulf comes face-to-face with us on the screen, again (note: also received press in the recent graphic novel). Anyone seen this version? Not sure I'm up to it. My friend in medieval lit reminded me Beowulf is about the necessity of fighting evil, while not allowing the power you must cultivate to do so in turn destroy yourself and your civilization. Beowulf, literally, spends 10x as much time talking as fighting, because one of the poem's main points is that he is NOT an out-of-control warrior, but a fighter governed by the laws and customs of civilization -- and THAT is what makes him an ideal hero. But WE make him a muscle-bound clod.
Wish I had time to get back to the classic in the midst of all of my reading, reflection, and writing. For those with interest, Never Mind Grendel. Can Beowulf Conquer the 21st-Century Guilt Trip? in the Chronicle for Higher Education has an excellent survey of the original writing, its interactions with Christian thought (including Tolkien), and the current film. Below is the provoking conclusion:
Remember Taylor Mali from Speaking with Conviction? He has quite a way with words: here's What Do Teachers Really Make? Good to see someone not only articulating a defense for teachers, but also recruiting them for the classroom. Note: not how I'd put it out on the table. Let me know if this is appropriate for posting, particular the ending.
As many of you know, listening is difficult for me. Here's a quote which has provoked some thought:
Listening is a rare happening among human beings. You cannot listen to the word another is speaking if you are preoccupied with your appearance or impressing the other, or if you are trying to decide what you are going to say when the other stops talking, or if you are debating about whether the word being spoken is true or relevant or agreeable. Such matters have their place, but only after listening to the word as the word is being uttered. Listening, in other words, is a primitive act of love, in which a person gives self to another's word, making self accessible and vulnerable to that word. --William Stringfellow, A Keeper of the Word
Ever since being a little kid chatting w/patients in my Dad's Dental office, (More)
My friend Miller came across Speaking with conviction on Bradley R. E. Wright's Weblog, note: his UConn page is http://sociology.uconn.edu/socifaculty/wright.html. Another Christian in the sociology field studying Christians, looks like some interesting research.
As an encouragement in ministry, a friend on InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Graduate & Faculty Ministry team emailed the below quote by C.S. Lewis on latent Christianity (Thank-you Kevin!)
A professor recently pointed to the fragrance of Christ emanating from followers of Christ on campus being the compelling witness of enabling other members of the campus community to glimpse God and explore following Christ with the People of God. C.S. Lewis' interaction with Hugo Dyson and J.R.R. Tolkien serves as an excellent illustration of such an initiation into the Kingdom of God. One's relationship with God, or lack of relationship, shapes a way of life which overflows into all aspects of one's life, even one's vocation. (More)
Received email letting me know about these presentations by Ed Brown, Director of Care of Creation Inc., and Cal Beisner, spokesperson for the Cornwall Alliance. The presentations are from a recent environmental forum at the Proclamation Presbyterian Church in suburban Philadelphia.
For those interested, here are the audio links (click to play or right click to download and save):
As a family, we understand our call as human beings to love God and to use the gifts we've been given to bless/love one-another, our neighbors, and the piece of creation given to our care, including the proper disposal of waste in our house, our township, our county, our state, our country, and our world. Pray for the next steps of the landfill conversation in our township.
For all their successes, American universities "have the same problem now as in the 19th century," writes Eric Rauchway, a professor of history at the University of California at Davis. The problem, he says in a brief history of state universities, is insufficient financial support from federal and state governments . . . "Through the 20th century," he adds, "the U.S. provided more years of college than other rich nations, and reaped the rewards of increased labor productivity and income." Today, he argues, higher education's "real problem once again is funding," particularly from state governments. The University of Colorado, for instance, now gets only 9 percent of its budget from Denver, notes Mr. Rauchway. Penn State receives just 13 percent from Harrisburg, and the University of California under 20 percent from Sacramento. As a result, students are increasingly being left to deal with higher tuition fees on their own. -- A glance at The New Republic Online: The poor history of state universities, note: original article posted at The Lessons of the History of the State Universities.
For a more visceral statement of university life take a moment to prayerfully consider the ideas and thoughts raised by this provoking video generated by a Spring 2007 Intro to Cultural Anthrology Class at Kansas State University (thank-you to Derek for bringing the video to my attention through the College Transition Initiative).
For those of you wondering about InterVarsity's ministry in the field, here's what a senior in Harvard Radcliffe Christian Fellowship's shared with the first years a few weeks ago. A good word which calls us to continue to pray for first years as they enter the second part of their term, older students as they serve as mentors, faculty as they seek to pass along their faith in words/action, and InterVarsity staff as by the grace of God they are part of bringing the Light of Christ to the campus mix in an era where Christian image is turning youths off.
And I don’t know if this is you, but in case any of you are worried, you know, thinking, ‘how am I going to maintain my faith in college?’ I just wanted to let you know that in my three years here I have never seen anyone maintain their faith in college. Sometimes it is neglected, and it sort of withers, and dies, it’s true, but in my personal experience, college has made my faith grow tremendously, you know, just skyrocket. And that is why we call this event Launch. Because we are not about maintaining anything. So, my first bit of advice to you, Christians, not to maintain but to increase your faith during your time here at Harvard, is doubt! Pursue your doubts and see where they lead; own them and be honest about them. Because if God is not bigger than your doubts, if he’s not stronger than your fears, if he’s not the bad mama jama that he says he is, then either he’s not real at all, or he’s not a god worth having faith in (More)
There is a rapidly growing interest in studies and college courses on "positive psychology", a break from the old freudian focus on the dark side.... (More)
Recently these websites have become even better, so if you haven't checked them out, now would be a good time . . .
-Academic Faithfulness: Is it possible to rest and honor the Sabbath in college? Abbie Smith, author of Can You Keep Your Faith in College?, weighs in on this tough issue facing us all: Rest. Academic Faithfulness brought attention to the next link. Note: For those in youth ministry, you might also have interest in Culture section of youthministry.com and the continuing stream of info available at the Center for Parent & Youth Understanding
-Christian Vision Project: go here for thought provoking articles which seek to address big questions. Pass along The Dread Cancer of Stinginess to your missions committee/denominational office for prayerful consideration. I was encouraged to see the author's positive perspective on the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), of which InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA is a member. I was at a conference this summer which raised the question of the engagement of the university as national movements in shared ministry, Engaging the University.
-Hearts and Minds Bookstore: came across the link to Bono gets black, see below
-Veritas Forum (note: looking forward to connecting with those present at U. of Penn's Veritas Forum)
I have the August 31 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education containing the Annual Almanac, a compilation of information on U.S. Higher Education, in bin of must reads. It was good to receive from InterVaristy's National Service Center the below summary:
- Total number of U.S. colleges and universities: 4,276
- Total number of U.S. undergraduate students: 14,963,964
- Total number of U.S. graduate students: 2,186,487
- Total number of foreign students: 584,814
- Largest number of foreign students from: India-76,5023
- Largest enrollment: University of Phoenix online campus-117,309
- Second largest enrollment: Miami Dade College-54,169
- Average tuition and fees, public 4-year institutions: $5,531
A poll conducted by the Associated Press and MTV indicates that young people who consider themselves religious are happier than those who are not. The survey of 13-24 year olds, indicates that 44% of young people say that religious beliefs are at least very important to them. Only 14% said that it was not important at all. 80% of those who said that spirituality was the most important thing in their lives said they are happy. Only 60% of those who do not consider God important at all indicated happiness. Sociologists say the results confirm the importance of the sense of community found in most religions. (AP August 29,2007) -- information provided by the September Ivy Jungle Network Emailer.
Orientation for Professors is an idea which has been developing. Wheaton College in Massachusetts has expanded from one day to a semester long in a seminar designed to immerse them in their campus' history, philosophy, and culture. The provost has reduced the new faculty members' teaching load for the first semester so they can keep up. To get them thinking about how students experience college, the seminar participants read Rebekah Nathan's undercover exploration of student life, My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student (Cornell University Press, 2005). In a more scholarly vein, the syllabus also includes a monograph on the history of Wheaton College from it founding, in 1834, to 1957. It's required reading for the session in which the faculty members take a walking tour of the campus, and learn of the co-ed college's origins as a women's seminary.. (More)
Take a moment to consider the conversation between Anthony Kronman, a Professor of Law from Yale University who wrote a Boston Globe opinion piece entitled Why are we here? Colleges ignore life’s biggest questions, and we all pay the price, and a select group of professors, students and colleagues who offer their responses to this alarming piece. I’ve found a number of helpful articles regarding higher education at Comment and the mini-symposium on the relationship between academia and religious conviction, in the formation of today’s young adults (note: includes Steve Garber, James Smith) and Kronman’s response adds to their number. (More)
After reading The Death of Blogs, I came across What Happened To The Personal Web Site and See Also. A friend passed along to me the virtual elimination of personal web-sites in his department, with blogging a personal pursuit requiring constant input which many lack the time for and such is their doom, not just the issue with volume but also quality as one only has a limited range of creative material to share with a wider audience. Mr. Lawson calls his personal Web page “a barren wasteland,” and many other scholars could probably say the same thing about their sites. Should professors and librarians delete seldom-used personal pages, or keep them around for posterity? -- from The Late, Lamented Personal Web Page.
Is there still hope? Previous posts on this topic include:
Wonder about the type of conversations I end up in when on campus and what the materials I read to help prepare for possible topics (and I must confess some curiosity of my own), take some time to dwell upon The Guy in the Wheelchair: God & Stephen Hawking. The article is well worth the read, anyone going to send me one of Karl W. Giberson's books as a Christmas gift? Below is the conclusion:
Hawking's iconic wheelchair has been crisscrossing the world's stage for some time now. And his stature as an ambassador for science has grown steadily, even as his physical frame has withered. He is, to be sure, a hero. But we must avoid the temptation to gloss his philosophical ideas with the mythological heroism of his personal life. He is, when all is said and done, a great scientist who knows nothing about theology, but loves to talk about God.
If it had been God in his chariot that had flown over, I could not have been more impressed. It was awe-inspiring. Sputnik looked like a bright star that moved with such utter purpose that nothing could stop it; and I, in that moment, realized I wanted to be part of the movement into space. -- HOMER H. HICKAM, author of “Rocket Boys” . . . We were really very privileged to live in that thin slice of history where we changed how man looks at himself and what he might become and where he might go. -- Neil Armstrong (don't miss the diagram and timeline w/articles at 50 Years Since Sputnik). (More)
Thanks to changes in facebook, I joined this summer and have been having a limited usage blast. Now I wonder if a significant portion of the technological population will join, or even if they don't, they'll find their way to me as Facebook Grows Up into the real work of Advertising. Hobbies, musical tastes, hangouts, and favorite travel destinations, posted as part of a get-to-know-you exercise, now help corporations walk with you every step of the way. Their data trackers can take great advantage of the optional up-to-the-minute update feature. Will there be a reaction similar to YouTube's Ad schemes? Then again, what really is a strong reaction, some leave to create their own networking systems or take advantage of another system, but most everyone else (who seem open to befriending people they don't know) just deal with it. There was a day before ads dominated TV. You have to pay or donate to watch whole programming with ads before and after, not to mention in order to get this opportunity. (More)