Part of a "Dead Theologians Society"?

Posted by tom | Jun 10, 2013

Part of a "Dead Theologians Society"? If so, please share. If not, interested in starting one? Click here to check out Ohio State University's (OSU) inspiration & reading list. Thank-you to Bob for sharing a good report of the work at OSU. To God be the glory!

"Give 'em Heaven."

Posted by tom | May 27, 2013

"Give 'em Heaven." -- Dallas Willard's final charge to his granddaughter Larissa. May we do likewise all of our days! To God be the glory!

For more of what Larissa shared at the Saturday, May 25 memorial service (5:15), click here or below. Praying for God's grace and leading in the legacy each and every one of us will leave our family as Christ-followers.

Thank-you to The Charles Malik Society for Redeeming Reason FB Wall for the heads up on this link.

Prayer request: Job security in research/higher ed

Posted by tom | Apr 26, 2013

Pray for those who are facing challenges to their positions in research/higher education. Pray for those who are losing positions and those seeking positions.

This evening I received a call regarding one who has lost a position today. Rejoice with me that God is a visible healing presence through His people. Pray for renewal and the realization that worth is not based on position, but being created in the image of God and renewed/restored in Jesus the Christ. Pray for healing and discernment in next steps. As you have prayer requests related to higher education, email

Knowing God Review on ESN Blog

Posted by tom | Apr 25, 2013

Knowing God (J.I. Packer. InterVarsity Press).Best Christian Books of All Time Reviews: Knowing God, Pt. II (John Hundley. Emerging Scholars Network Blog. 4/25/2013). It is so good to be reminded of some of the significant points of this excellent InterVarsity Press book -- foundational not only in my first steps as a Christ-follower and many friends at Grove City College, but for many others (including those with whom I labored with at Carnegie Mellon U when they were students). To God be the glory!

Note: First post in the "Knowing God" series, Third post in series coming next week :)

Early Last Friday Morning (Boston) -- ESN Blog Post

Posted by tom | Apr 22, 2013

Yesterday Heather, InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (GFM), shared some of her response to the events of Boston Marathon 2013 (Emerging Scholars Network Blog. 4/21/2013). Today Michael, another colleague with GFM, provides additional insight with a focus on international students (Emerging Scholars Network Blog. 4/21/2013). I urge you to continue to join me in prayer for the discernment of InterVarsity colleagues who serve and students/faculty who are involved with our over 50 chapters in the Boston area. 

Related post: Honoring LU Lingzi. Encountering Evil. Joy Run. (4/19/2013).

Honoring LU Lingzi. Encountering Evil. Joy Run.

Posted by tom | Apr 19, 2013

LU Lingzi, the BU graduate student who was one of three people killed in the Boston Marathon bomb attacks on April 15. Photo linked from Scholarship Will Honor LU Lingzi (BU Today. Boston University. 4/18/2013). I encourage you to read this rich article.* As shared earlier on InterVarsity's Facebook Wall:

We [InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA] are sad to confirm that Lingzi Lu, one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, was a friend of members of our InterVarsity International Student Ministry at Boston University and attended a retreat last fall at Toah Nipi Retreat Center. Join us in praying for her family and the chapter at BU.

In addition, pray for campus renewal. At the top of the article page:

The University is closed and classes are cancelled today. Please stay inside and avoid windows. Be attentive to news developments. BU police will be patrolling the campus and monitoring the situation. Updates will follow as information becomes available. Please monitor BU Today at

On InterVarsity's Emerging Scholars Network Facebook Wall, we highlight these articles along with a number of other pieces including these related materials such as . . .

*Other articles regarding LU Lingzi which have come to my attention include: Grad Student With Eye on Career in Finance Is Mourned in China, Mourning the BombingsChinese Pour Out Grief for Student: At Boston University, 23-Year-Old Embraced U.S. Culture; Outpouring on Chinese Internet: 'Heaven Has No Bombs'

Update: 4/19/2013. 10:17 am.

Winner: The Best Christian Book of All Time is . . .

Posted by tom | Apr 8, 2013

"Confessions" by AugustineOn Friday, The Best Christian Book of All Time: The Winner was posted by Mike on the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) Blog. This morning, Andy posted The Best Christian Book of All Time: By the Numbers.

TY to Mike for the genesis and running of ESN's form of March Madness, the many enthusiastic participants who made it a blast(!), and Andy for participating/assessing! The book reading and discussion continues . . . to the glory of God. I'll try my best to keep you updated on Groshlink, but I'd encourage you to subscribe to the ESN Blog and ESN Facebook Wall to keep up with the growing on-line community.

Final Four of Best Christian Book of All Time

Posted by tom | Apr 1, 2013

Yes, it's the FINAL FOUR . . . of the Best Christian Book of ALL TIME Tournament! The voting has begun and the conversation/commentary continue. AND yes, a number of people have let us know that they are already sharpening their skills and preparation for an upgraded ESN March Madness in 2014 ;) 

Will Mere Christianity take it all or will it fall before reaching the finals? Time for the Fellowship of the Ring to band together, but how can I refrain from voting for ___________ ? To read the breakdown visit To vote go to the Emerging Scholars Network Facebook Wall.

Vote for your Final Four

Posted by tom | Mar 30, 2013

Don't forget to vote for your Final Four choices in the Best Christian Book of All Time Tournament over the weekend! We'll announce the Final Four on Monday.

On Cynicism [Part 1] at ESN blog

Posted by tom | Mar 29, 2013

David, MD explores On Cynicism at the Emerging Scholars Network Blog (3/29/2013). On Easter, he'll follow-up with thoughts on hope.

LOTR vs. Narnia in Elite Eight

Posted by tom | Mar 28, 2013

Best Christian Book of All Time: Final Elite Eight Selections. In the current match-ups, I'm fascinated to see how "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien (2) does versus "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis (4). As I shared on ESN's FB Wall, I have difficulty treating "The Chronicles of Narnia" as a unit, i.e., one story. When comparing in this manner I favor LOTR, but if just given "The Lion, The Witch, and Wardrobe" vs. LOTR . . . Material for further thought and conversation :)

Best Christian Book of All Time: Elite Eight Update

Posted by tom | Mar 27, 2013

The Best Christian Book of All Time Tournament

Time to vote :) Click here to 'get in the game' with the Emerging Scholars Network!

Vote wrapping up for Sweet Sixteen of the Best Christian Book of All Time Tournament

Posted by tom | Mar 24, 2013

Don't forget to vote tonight for your Sweet Sixteen picks in the Best Christian Book of All Time Tournament! If you need help deciding, here's some outside analysis from The Pietist Schoolman,

ESN's Sweet Sixteen?

Posted by tom | Mar 24, 2013

InterVarsity Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) has left voting for Round 2 of The Best Christian Book of All Time open over the weekend and will announce the Sweet Sixteen on Monday. So, don't miss the opportunity to vote at ESN's FB Wall!

Best Christian Book Bracket

PS. In under less than a week The Best Christian Book of All Time Selection Show (3/19/2013) has set records for ESN blog visits. With over 3,000 visits it is the most visited post this month and year. It's ESN blog all-time visits second only to What's the purpose of a university? (with close to 5,000) and I think it will pass by it in the next couple weeks. Wow! What a treat to have such a fun, encouraging, and dare I even say 'geeky' post receive such attention in our small Christian circles. A special shout out to Micheal Hickerson for his labors with ESN's form of March Madness. To God be the glory!

Time for Promiscuous Reading

Posted by tom | Mar 16, 2013

Yes, another encouragement to take some rest today to read what sits in your queue, which very well may include the excerpt from Karen Swallow Prior's Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me posted by my friends at The Well (2/25/2013), click here. Beware, Karen's graduate school encounter with a professor openly dismissive of and hostile to Christianity may not only lead you to prayer for Emerging Scholars, but also inspire you to order a copy of her book in order to read/discuss it with others . . . "Promiscuous Reading." 

The Lesson of Grace in Teaching

Posted by tom | Mar 11, 2013

Last week in an ESN blog post I included the link to Francis Su's MAA Haimo Teaching Award Lecture (Joint Math Meetings, 1/11/2013). I desire once again to give it notice on it's own. Why? When people ask me "Why bother with academics?" Francis, his journey through higher ed with InterVarsity, and his gift of offering 'head, heart, and hands' to God as a servant in higher ed (students, faculty, and InterVarsity staff) immediately comes to mind. Such is the redemptive work of the Kingdom of God as "Students and Faculty are transformed, Campuses renewed, and World-Changers developed." Many more testimonies to be shared. To God be the glory!

Note: An audio link is available at

Prayer Request: Campus Access.

Posted by tom | Mar 10, 2013

"The latest development comes from Washington DC, where the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that a briefing will be held on March 22nd. The purpose of the briefing is to work on reconciling the principles of nondiscrimination and religious liberties. One of the panels will focus on the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of CLS v. Martinez, that is discussed below. InterVarsity staff and students will submit statements for the briefing." --

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2).

Join me in praying for

  1. InterVarsity staff, students, and faculty currently in the midst of campus access concerns (at various stages)
    • "Rollins College has decided to strip the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of official recognition as a student group because it requires leaders to be Christian and support certain views, the Orlando Sentinel reported. . . . " -- Inside Higher Ed. 3/8/2013. Click here.
  2. discernment regarding what is prepared for and shared at this briefing
  3. the conversation, act of persuasion, at the briefing
  4. the next steps taken by those with decision making authority throughout the various governmental (and campus) structures. 

For additional material regarding InterVarsity's campus access concerns visit

ESN Snapshot: Urbana12. 340+ Express Interest.

Posted by tom | Mar 2, 2013

 Urbana Exhibit Hall340+ Urbana12 delegates* stated their desire to become more connected with ESN as they offer their advanced studies and possibly even a vocation in higher education to Christ alone.* This is out of and alongside several hundred Urbana12 delegates who were in seminars and had personal conversations with our InterVarsity staff team (complimented by a volunteer faculty team) related to being a Christ follower in higher education.

In Urbana12 follow-up I have been in touch with a number of these delegates to address specific questions which arose before, during, and after Urbana12. Gotta love the technology -- at times I confess that it's hard to get off-line with such an opportunity to serve students making significant missional questions regarding their next steps in higher education! Some have found the resources/connections they're looking for only through ESN. Stay tuned for particular stories/testimonials AND pray for me not only to keep up with the requests, but also in doing such to be able to point Emerging Scholars in the direction of healthy campus and disciplinary resource people/communities. Thank-you for your prayers for, encouragement of, and support of these Kingdom labors. To God be the glory!

*Editorial: Urbana's Enduring Legacy: Changed Lives (Rick Wood. Mission Frontiers. March 01, 2013)

**Pictures posted at here.

ESN Snapshot: Skype. Blog.

Posted by tom | Mar 1, 2013

Religious Studies Index ImageLots of people ask what I "do" with my time as part of the Associate Director of InterVarsity's Emerging Scholars Network (ESN)?

In order to address this question I've decided to start an "ESN Snapshot Series." Let's get started.

ESN Snapshot: Skype conversation w/John before his presentation of "Toward a Critical, Metamodern Method in Academic Religious Studies" as part of an oral examination for high honors. We talked/prayed not only about his paper and presentation, but also his contributions to the Emerging Scholars Network Blog.

What a joy to get to know John through InterVarsity's Emerging Scholars Network and have him part of the 2013 blogging team. Gotta love the technology, but even more the Kingdom of God on the move in higher education :) Your prayers, encouragement, and financial support of these labors touch not only particular students (e.g., John) and faculty, but those to whom they witness . . . even those up the academic chain (such as John's faculty). To God be the glory!

ESN Blog: Nominate "What's the Best Christian Book of All Time?"

Posted by tom | Feb 26, 2013

What’s the Best Christian Book of All Time? is the Emerging Scholars Network's version of March Madness :) Please join in the game by posting your nominations and sharing the word with others.

The Pursuit of Suffering on ESN Blog

Posted by tom | Feb 15, 2013

Medical student. Death of Friend. Leukemia. "Suffering is and must remain an integral part of our human experience. It cannot simply be a byline in our pursuit of happiness, for if we fail to embrace suffering, we fail to embrace Christ himself." -- The Pursuit of Suffering (David. Emerging Scholars Blog. 2/15/2013).

How Should Students Respond to Anti-Christian Professors?

Posted by tom | Feb 5, 2013

"How Should Students Respond to Anti-Christian Professors?" A conversation to be engaged in on InterVarsity's Emerging Scholars Network blog. (Micheal Hickerson. 2/5/2013).

Lent/Easter 2013: M.D. on ESN Blog

Posted by tom | Feb 1, 2013

Medical Preparedness"A doctor's in the house." In anticipation of the Lenten season and Easter, I encourage you to join the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) for a blog series of reflections on death and resurrection as played out in a physician's journey through medical school and residency. The first is Introductions: Dissection of body and soul (David. 1/31/2013). Note: Be prepared to interact with "real life" stories! 

Pray for Campus Access for Asian InterVarsity - University of Michigan

Posted by tom | Feb 1, 2013

Join me in prayer for Campus Access for Asian InterVarsity - University of Michigan, visit UPDATE: Meeting Delayed, Asian InterVarsity De-Recognized by the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (Sara W. Chang).

Also see (Todd Starnes. Fox News. 1/31/2013)

Vaccinations: ESN Science in Review January 2013

Posted by tom | Jan 31, 2013


Vaccinations. A significant public policy conversation. Andy opened the topic on the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) Facebook Wall, now it's gone to the ESN blog. He ends his post with these thoughts, "I’m struck with the feeling that we’ve reached a point where 'religious beliefs' means 'anything one believes strongly without, or in spite of, evidence.' If that’s the case, then it seems hard to deny any particular such belief. Is that where we are? If so, how do we use science to set policy if everyone is entitled to actively ignore some amount of evidence?"
Agree/disagree? Much to consider/discuss on the topic as a whole . . . Yes, to truly enter the conversation I encourage you to read Andy's whole post :) 


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