ESN Blog: "Who are some of your favorite poets?"

Posted by tom | Mar 14, 2012
  1. Mike asked this question on the Emerging Scholars Network Blog. Fun :)
  2. AND we've been receiving a number of responses. Even more fun!
  3. So, if you haven't already done such, please join the fun :)
  4. No this is not my lame attempt at poetry, it's just letting everyone know about the fun!

To give you a taste of the responses, below's what I shared. No need to be so verbose, a simple name will do. But as you may have guessed by now, I very much enjoy some glimpses of the why, the background, and the journey . . .


Does your local congregation desire to take a next step in assisting those with special needs?

Posted by tom | Mar 12, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012. 11 am. Zinn Commons, Evangelical Seminary, 121 South College Street, Myerstown, PA, 17067.

"Grab a cup of coffee with..." Ralph and Carol Honderd from Friendship Ministries, and (CLC Network), both interdenominational ministries designed to share God’s love with persons having intellectual impairments and other developmental disabilities. Click here for a PDF of poster and share with members of your local congregation's pastoral ministry. I'll introduce the gathering by sharing the story of several families, including our own. 

The Honderds retired early from their teaching professions in order to devote more time to spreading the messages of CLC Network and Friendship Ministries and the overall goal of making churches complete and blessed by including and welcoming all God’s people into church families.They emphasize the need for churches to surround and support families dealing with a child or adult with intellectual impairments, disabilities and/or autism. CLC Network has developed a course and course information that can be used by seminaries. CLC is also in the process of putting their seminary presentations on DVD to be used either in classes on site or online. 

Note: Ralph and Carol are graduates of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Ralph received both his MA and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Ralph was a professor and coach at Calvin College for 38 years and Carol taught in alternative high school programs for more than 25 years. They have three children and six grandchildren. Their middle child, Karyn, has severe developmental disabilities and presently lives in a local Christian group home.

For more event information call Evangelical at 1-800-532-5775.  

Related article which recently caught my attention: No Barriers Between Us: Enabling people of all (dis)abilities to take part in the community of faith by Nancy J. Patrick (InPart. Winter 2011). Nancy J. Patrick is an associate professor of special education and the director of the graduate program in education at Messiah College (Grantham, Pa.). She’s authored several books on autism spectrum disorders, the most recent entitled Social Skills for Teenagers and Adults with Asperger Syndrome (2008). She and her husband serve as core team members at a church plant, Living Legacy Church, in Hershey, Pa. I have a stack of the periodical with me on April 3 :)

In partnership with the church, Evangelical Seminary develops servant leaders for transformational ministry in a broken and complex world by nurturing rigorous minds, passionate hearts, and Christ-centered actions.

The Wonder of the Call: Campus Challenges, The Amish, Professors

Posted by tom | Feb 28, 2012

At our local congreation on Sunday morning I received a copy of "Schools confront gay, religious right" (Art Lindsay. Intelligencer Journal/New Era. 2/25/2012) with the assurances of prayer and concern. 

Should campus ministries such as Christian Legal Society, Christian Medical & Dental Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, etc 'stop whining'** at Vanderbilt AND other campuses?

Should I go get 'a real job,' move off campus/underground, or 'loosen up' w/regard to what I have come to embrace as the open call of God, the people of God in higher education & beyond?

In previewing American Experience's The Amish later in the afternoon,*** I received a renewed sense of wonder and joy in the call to follow Christ alone as part of the Kingdom of God, resting my desire not in this world, but the new heavens and new earth. The inspiration came not only from the Amish, but also several of the academics who shared the story of the Amish. Yes, I consider The Amish (PBS. 8 pm, EST) a must see! De ja vu?

In addition to profound footage/interviews,**** the American Experience film will be a great conversation starter and educational tool. I'd recommend having some friends gather to watch it together. A shout out to the authors of Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy (i.e., Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, David Weaver-Zercher) who were intimately involved in the project. It's been great to get to know them over the past several years in my effort as part of InterVarsity's Graduate & Faculty Ministry/Emerging Scholars Network to become acquainted with the work of Christian scholars in South Central PA. To God be the glory!

Note: Chapter 1 preview posted at

*Same AP article which ran as Schools work to balance gay, religious rights in the Boston Globe (Art Lindsay. 2/22/2012).

**Christian Clubs Told to 'Stop Whining,' Meet in Homes Like in Communist China" (Stephanie Samuel. The Christian Post. 2/22/2012).

***Elizabethtown College, where Donald Kraybill serves as a Sociology faculty & Anabaptist researcher.

****Wow, as you know the Amish don't talk to the media! This is an example of a scholar who has spent decades building bridges in his work. In Kraybill's case he was present during a tragedy for the community he "researched"/befriended, i.e., the Nickel Mines tragedy

The Amish: A must see (2/28, 8 pm, PBS)

Posted by tom | Feb 26, 2012

Just came back from a preview of PBS' American Experience on The Amish hosted by Elizabethtown College. The Amish is a must see (for personal, classroom, local congregational use/discussion): Tuesday, February 28, 8 - 10 pm. The work of two local scholars with whom we have connection/relationship receive significant attention: Donald Kraybill (Elizabethtown College) & David Weaver-Zercher (Messiah College). Chapter 1 posted at 

InterVarsity dives into Linsanity :)

Posted by tom | Feb 12, 2012

Jeremy Lin. Harvard. InterVarsity. NBA.

To encourage "Linsanity," check out InterVarsity's recent blog post, InterVarsity in the NBA (Gordon Govier. 2/10/2012) ;) As some of you know from Facebook, I've been following Jeremy Lin for several years because an InterVarsity alum of Harvard wanted to be sure people were aware of one of their own and passed along Jeremy Lin: Taking Harvard basketball to new levels.

If you haven't done so check out Bowen's take on Lin (ESPN video w/footage, 2/12/2012). I think he's right on about four years in college . . . entering undrafted . . . getting cut . . . pressing on. Hope Lin gets some rest on the couch . . .

“I feel like I’m in a dream right now,” Lin said. “Tomorrow is an off-day. I can’t wait.” -- Even While Struggling, Lin Finds Way to Lift Knicks Again (Pat Borzi. NY Times. 2/11/2012

The Knicks’ Jeremy Lin — Faith, Pride and Points (Michael Luo. NY Times. 2/11/2012): "One more article on Jeremy Lin -- written by another Harvard alum -- both were involved in the Asian American Christian Fellowship at Harvard -- one of several InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapters at that university." -- Comment: I particularly appreciated this article. Thank-you to my friends who keep me up-to-date on the excellent material going up on-line.

Maybe I'll watch some NBA again. The hoop is going up in the driveway next door. Can't wait for March Madness ;)

Job interviews & "The 'Be Yourself' Myth"

Posted by tom | Feb 8, 2012

Agree/disagree with The 'Be Yourself' Myth (Karen Kelsky. Inside Higher Education. 1/30/2012) applied to higher education job interviews (or possibly more in general)? That is, should one have a persona during an interview? Do you think this may be of particular need for "nerds?"

As you may guess, I feel uncomfortable with the perspective of taking on a persona for interviews. But upon reflection I have made various concessions when sharing the complexity of ministry in higher education. On second thought, they were not concessions, but instead an exploration of building bridges of communication regarding the mission/work to which God has called me.

Am I ever not going to be who God has created/called me to be, "No!" But that doesn't mean that I do not require advice and counsel (even the active input of others) in the revision of various mission committee conversations, newsletters, powerpoint presentations, prayer calendars as I grow more and more into who God has created/called me to be as His servant.

Note: Pray for PSU-Hershey grad students considering next steps (applications, interviews, travel). Pray for the PSU-Hershey 4th year Medical students who interviewed & now are applying for residencies. They'll know their match in mid-March, i.e., except for the opthamologists who have already received word -- congrats Albert!

PS. You may remember Kelly (BS, Messiah; PhD, PSU-Hershey) wrote about post-doc interviews for the Emerging Scholars Network blog,

ESN Blog Series: Paradox and the Calling of the Christian Scholar

Posted by tom | Jan 25, 2012

Enjoying Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, and/or What I Wish My Pastor Knew About... The Life of a Scientist, then check out what Richard Hughes, director of Messiah College's Sider Institute, has to say about the "Paradox of the Christian Scholar."

Richard Hughes' Vocation of a Christian Scholar

As always, feedback/comments are appreciated!

Exploring "Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good"

Posted by tom | Jan 22, 2012

A Groshling explores Amy Sherman's Kingdom Calling

As some of you may know I've been posting an Emerging Scholar Network Blog series which draws from Amy Sherman's Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good (InterVarsity Press. 2011). If you haven't already, I'd recommend you pick up a copy of this book. A little more incentive to my Messiah College friends: Amy Sherman's an articulate Messiah College alumnus ('87) and commencement speaker (2011, Commencement Profile, Commencement Address).

Would love to read your responses to her work. Catch a glimpse, applied to higher education ;)

Note: Additional background on Amy Sherman . . .


Take some time to consider "What I Wish My Pastor Knew About... The Life of a Scientist"

Posted by tom | Jan 20, 2012
In addition to my own appreciation of the below article, I've noted several women with whom I'm connected in ministry (and called by God to offer their gifts by research in the sciences) sharing their appreciation. As such I feel compelled to pass it along for your prayerful consideration and the stimulation of brainstorming, conversation, action in your local assembly . . .
What I Wish My Pastor Knew About... The Life of a Scientist
by Andy Crouch, award-winning author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. He is special assistant to the president of Christianity Today International. Andy is married to Catherine Crouch, an associate professor in the Department of Physics at Swarthmore College and a contributor to The Biologus Forum. They have two children.
Note: InterVarsity's The Well is a virtual gathering place for graduate and professional women to receive wisdom, care, challenge, and inspiration as they seek to follow Christ in the academic or work world.  
A little of my background . . .
  1. Andy Crouch kicked off the Christian Scholar Series, hosted by Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church, with an exploration of Culture Making. I first had the opportunity to be blessed by Andy's ministry when he was part of the Urbana 96 worship team. He's excellent on keyboard/piano! "O For a Thousand Tongues" rang out as I entered the hall of ~ 20,000 with my biology and engineering friends from Grove City College.
  2. Coming alongside the 'irreducibly complex' nature of scientists has been a passion of mine since 6th grade. After completing my biology studies at Grove City College, serving with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon U and now PSU-Hershey Medical Center has been a blast . . . let alone what one finds in the Emerging Scholars Network!
  3. In the fall Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church had a stimulating adult elective/Sunday School based upon "In His Likeness" and "The Gift of Pain" by Paul Brand & Philip Yancey (for a glimpse of their work click here) . . . Yes, future Emerging Scholars Network Blog posts in the works :)
  4. Final confession for this post: I'm a son of dentist and grew up in a dental office, ;)

I blog, but am I a "blogger?"

Posted by tom | Jan 16, 2012

As some of my family and friends know, I've posted this question on Facebook and G+. But I'm curious in throwing the net wide. Maybe at the base of the question, is what does it mean to be a "blogger." Anyone desire to offer a definition? Should one of my 2012 new years resolutions be to embrace "Christ-centered" blogging with a passion. Thoughts, prayers, encouragements, questions?

This topic came to mind as I followed the trail of Fatal Stampede in South Africa Points Up University Crisis to What Can U.S. Universities Do About a Student Stampede in Johannesburg? to Building a ‘Knowosphere,’ One Cable and Campus at a Time to Notes from a Blogging ‘Discomfort Zone’. Join me in praying for the struggle for higher education. More on the topic coming . . .

Save the Date: February 23, Collegiate Day of Prayer

Posted by tom | Jan 12, 2012
February 23, Collegiate Day of Prayer
I recently received word that InterVarsity will engage in the Collegiate Day of Prayer (February 23, 2012).

A little background . . .

For more than a hundred years, beginning in the 1780’s, campuses set aside a day of prayer that focused just on the campus. Much of the energy of the revivals that swept through the country during those years was fueled by campus prayer.

In the early years of the 20th century, the day of prayer on campus fell by the wayside. The Gospel did not disappear, the day of prayer gave way to other ministry efforts.

A number of Christian ministries gathered together last year to re-establish the day of prayer on its traditional date (the last Thursday in February). This year they invited InterVarsity to join them, and InterVarsity has decided to engage with them.

We are joining our brother and sister organizations (Navigators, Cru, International House of Prayer, the 24/7 Prayer movement, YWAM, and SVM2 among others) to coordinate activity for this day. There are 21 different groups that have agreed to join together.

It is one day. . . . We are being asked to think creatively about how we can pray for the campus in a coordinated way. The last Thursday in February, the 23rd, is also the day after Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The vision statement for the day simply says “open hands, open hearts, open heavens.”

Please join me in making a mental note of the date, marking it on the calendar, and beginning to pray about how to shape opportunities not only on the campuses which I directly serve, but also with the Emerging Scholars Network. Stay tuned . . .

Ready for Urbana 12?

Posted by tom | Jan 4, 2012


Urbana 12 - Be Part of History from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

For more on Urbana Student Missions Conference 2012(December 27-31, St. Louis) click here. Hope to once again have an Emerging Scholars Network Table :)

Tom chats with a Grove City College student (his alma mater) at the ESN table.


Finding Calcutta: "An Adventure"/II Peter 1:3-9

Posted by tom | Dec 1, 2011

The Lord continues to impress upon my mind 2 Peter 1:3-9, a significant text in Finding Calcutta: "An Adventure".* As such I commend these words for your prayerful consideration as you begin a new year through the celebration of Advent.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

*Today's Emerging Scholars Network Blog post (12/1/2011).

Game Day Reflections on Sandusky Case

Posted by tom | Nov 19, 2011

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know that I've shared a lot of thoughts on the current situation at State College. This is an attempt to collate the material (with some editing) in one place. More thoughts brewing. Future posts will focus on particular topics, e.g.,

  • Legacy, subject of my most recent Emerging Scholars Network Blog post Finding Calcutta: What is my Legacy? (11/17/2011).
  • The confusion of "post-Christians" when attempting to define good and evil AND address the mixed presence of good and evil.
  • What's the cost of truthtelling and how do we discern what is true?


Mayor Ravenstahl calls for Franco Harris to quit as Pittsburgh Promise board chairman: Another hard to read announcement. Praying for the board's decision. Comments after I hear news of the board's decision. Note: Saleem Ghubril, founder of the Pittsburgh Project, is now the executive director of Pittsburgh Promise. Some of my friends from 'da Burgh will remember several retreats and urban plunges which were in partnership with Pittsburgh Project. Several friends and acquaintances are still on staff. Theresa and I love receiving their updates. Keep them coming :)


Bob Costas' interview of Sandusky: Hard to listen to

Posted by tom | Nov 17, 2011

As I posted on Facebook with regard to the Rock Center with Brian Williams - Jerry Sandusky to Bob Costas in exclusive 'Rock Center' interview . . .

Hard to listen to. Hard to watch. After his interview of Sandusky, Bob Costas mentioned the confusion felt by fans/alumni who know that Joe Paterno & Penn State's football program have blessed many. Good and evil mix in such astounding ways. Accountability and confession over a decade ago, coming from a number of sources, would have changed the present Penn State campus in so many ways!

As my pastor shared on Sunday:

  1. Nothing is ever completely hidden [even if one's lifetime, there is judgment beyond]. 
  2. Guard the entrance of your mind [a point I found convicting].
  3. Flee evil desires [Amen! May it be so in my life!].
  4. Let us live as people of the Light [To God be the glory!]. Join me in yearning for, crying out for, & living lives aligned with the new heavens & new earth.

A compilation of my various postings on the situation at Penn State University coming . . .

"Faithful Presence: What does it mean to be a Christian Today?" (James Davidson Hunter)

Posted by tom | Nov 9, 2011
To Change the World by James Davidson Hunter
Recently I had the opportunity to hear James Davidson Hunter, sociologist at the University of Virginia, present on Faithful Presence: What does it mean to be a Christian Today? I found much of what he shared very insightful. Below are some notes which I took. If the topic and/or book is of further interest, I encourage you to check out the post by my Emerging Scholars Network colleague Mike Hickerson.

James Davidson Hunter. Faithful Presence: What does it mean to be a Christian Today?
  • Introduction
    • Salt, light for a different world.
    • Agents of godly change, kingdom builders
    • Investment of millions of dollars, but what has it accomplished?
      • On the face of it, not much . . . on the balance, a flop . . . the business model has failed . . . it hasn't delivered and yet it keeps asking for money.
      • When faced with the idealism of the young to give their lives, what do we tell them? How do we guide them?
        • The dominant ways are almost entirely wrong. They not only do not, but cannot work. They undermine what Christians hold to be true.
    • Outline
      • Summary of three leading Christian paradigms
      • Challenges we face as all three misconstrue the fundamental challenge of our time
      • Sketch a new paradigm
  •  (More)

What is my, our, your legacy?

Posted by tom | Nov 3, 2011

How is legacy defined/understood? A week-and-a-half-ago I posted Reminded of "Cat's in the Cradle"? Today I'm sharing a piece on Mother Teresa, . . . How do you embrace and care for "the outsider?"

Finding Calcutta CoverAs Theresa and I love God with our head,heart, and hand in higher education, we have the opportunity to bless many who have the opportunity to bless many. I am particularly struck by this with our work at Penn State Hershey Medical Center's Christian Medical Society (CMS)/CMDA. Part of education is short term mission and the listening to the whisper of God as to whether one is calling to serve in 'long term mission' (e.g., Jay & Pauline Bridgeman).

For more posts in the Finding Calcutta series, click here.

Updated: 11/5/2011, 7:34 PM

Finding Calcutta: Silence and Prayer

Posted by tom | Oct 16, 2011

Finding Calcutta CoverIn case you haven't had the opportunity to follow the new Emerging Scholars Network Blog series on Mary Poplin's Finding Calcutta: What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Meaningful Work and Service (InterVarsity Press. 2008), I encourage you to dive in with the posts on silence and prayer:

PS. Interested in paging through all of my ESN blog posts? Click here :)

Prayer for new academic year/new "Lamp Post"

Posted by tom | Oct 4, 2011

Photo credit Don DeBold via Flickr

One of the two prayers for the new academic year in September’s Lamp Post:

Almighty God, in whose hands are all the powers of man; who givest understanding, and takest it away; who as it seemeth good unto Thee, enlightenest the thoughts of the simple, and darkenest the meditations fo the wise, be present with me in my studies and enquiries.

Grant, O LORD, that I may not lavish away the life which Thou hast given me on useless trifles, not waste it in vain searches after things which Thou hast hidden from me.

Enable me, by the Holy Spirit, so to shun sloth and negligence, that every day may discharge part of the task which Thou hast allotted me; and so further with Thy help that labour which, without thy help must be ineffectual, such success as will most promote thy glory, and the salvation of my own soul, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen. -- Samuel Johnson (1752).

Faculty friends: Did you receive a copy of the Lamp Post on Friday? If not, please take a glimpse at The Lamp Post: A Resource for Christian Faculty (ESN Blog) and prayerfully consider subscribing/reading.

Note: The Lamp Post is an email publication specifically for Christian faculty, with articles and resources intended to help Christian faculty in their spiritual, academic, and community life on campus. 

Photo credit: Don DeBold via Flickr.

The Tentmaker Trap . . . Success . . . Our Calling on Campus

Posted by tom | Sep 22, 2011

Avoiding The Tentmaker Trap by Dan Gibson

A friend recently passed along an insightful excerpt "Avoiding the Tentmaker Trap" by Dan Gibson. I encourage you to take some time to prayerfully consider your definition of success, ministry, and success in ministry (in your own life and/or the life of those you whom you support). 

    "It is essential [to] try to get God's perspective on success in ministry. ...I have come to realize that success is never measured in converts won, churches planted, or years of service.  One's constant walk with God is the measure of success.
    "One struggle many tentmakers face is that of burnout.  Many of us try to do too many things at once. We are torn between the demands of our profession, our family and our ministry. Because of society's emphasis on success, we begin putting in longer and longer hours, rushing between commitments and pressures. ...The best advice is simply this: learn to walk quietly with God. I have discovered that God never overloads our scheduleIt is usually we who fill our lives with the pressure of frenzied activitesSuccess in ministry is tied to successful spiritual activities and success in family is tied to successful family activities.  
    "An important part of dealing with burnout is dealing with our definition of success.  If we equate success in ministry with having quality time with God, going where He leads, learning what He teaches, and doing what He directs us to do, then we can relax.  God is managing our ministry.  Once we become comfortable with who God is, who we are, and what our relationship with Him is, we can approach ministry (and life) from a calm and relaxed point of view.  The greatest way to avoid burnout is to learn to relax in Jesus, finding our fulfilment in Him and His Word." -- Underline added for emphasis. Chapter 11, pp. 84-85.

Some reflection with regard to our work (which is not "tentmaking"), I rejoice in God walking (and at times carrying) our family in daily life/ministry, many times through the Body of Christ. Thank-you to the many who "stick with us" in the work to which we've been called, a significant piece of which we consider encouraging/equipping vocational tentmaking missionaries (higher education, health care) for service across the world (some will work here and engage in annual short-term mission projects OR even use their time in the US to prepare for a life of mission. Most international scholars go right back home to labor!). Pray for blessing upon students (such as the one he emailed me this quote and I connect with daily through the Emerging Scholars Network), young health care professionals (touched by the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at PSU-Hershey Medical Center), and young professors (the Emerging Scholars Network serves a number) as they discern their course of life by the decision they make today, tomorrow, and in the coming weeks.

ESN Blog: "What I Wish Id Known about Faculty Life" series

Posted by tom | Sep 13, 2011


Kevin Birth's 2nd post on What He Wishes He'd Known about Faculty Life is up:

What I Wish I’d Known about Faculty Life: Teaching the Curriculum, Etc. | The Emerging Scholars Blog (9/13/2011)

Our recent series What I Wish I’d Known About Graduate School has been one of our most popular series to date, and it almost immediately inspired this follow-up series,What I Wish I’d Known About Faculty Life. I am pleased to introduce Dr. Kevin Birth, professor of anthropology at Queens College and one of our ESN mentors. I’ve enjoyed getting to know him through email, Facebook, and other online interactions, and I’m glad he offered to write these three posts. They’ll be a bit different than Hannah’s, as Kevin is applying an ethnographic, storytelling method from his field to the context of faculty life. As a result, each post deals with several, interrelated issues (hence, the “etc.” at the end of each title). Thank you, Kevin! ~ Mike

Enjoy :)

In case you missed it, Kevin's first post is

What I Wish I’d Known About Faculty Life: Departmental Politics, Etc. (9/6/2011).

More books from my employer

Posted by tom | Sep 6, 2011

Another glimpse into the unique nature of serving with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. . . .

Every now then, I receive a box of free books. Why? They're new titles which "my employer" thinks are of value to me as a whole person engaging the whole campus with the whole Gospel. Last week I received:

Practicing the Way of Jesus by Mark ScandretteGod Behaving Badly by David T LambAre You Waiting for The One by Margaret Kim Peterson and Dwight N. PetersonGod in a Brothel by Daniel WalkerThe Parable of the Unexpected Guest by D. A. Zimmerman

I guess it helps that "my employer," i.e., InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, understands a significant aspect of it's call to be in the Word and share the Word through publishing, i.e., InterVarsity Press (IVP), not only Bible study/commentary material, but also broader application pieces (culture, family, higher education).

If you haven't heard of InterVarsity Press, take a few minutes to look at

Note: In memory of John Robert Walmsley Stott (1921 - 2011), ( on Jul 27, 2011). Second memorial video can be found at

Emerging Scholars Network Blog Update

Posted by tom | Sep 3, 2011

Finding Calcutta Cover

Ministry effectiveness is hard to define. After fifteen years on InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff (first ten years in Pittsburgh, last five years in South Central PA . . .), I've come to enjoy a balance of

  • blogging/internet connections
  • campus gatherings (e.g., Bible study, book discussions, fellowship gatherings, prayer)
  • conferencing
  • face-to-face conversation
  • special events . . .

It's hard to quantify the impact of investment in the lives of Emerging Scholars, Faculty, Health Care Students/Professionals, but every now and then, one aspect comes to the forefront and one has some form of numbers to share. Drum roll . . .

In August, the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) Blog set a new record for visits. We had 3,610 visits with 116 average visits per day (and we only post 2-4 days a week), topping our previous record from April by about one more visit/day. In addition to the direct visits we have 317 email subscribers and 265 RSS feed subscribers. Wow! To God be the glory!

As you may have guessed, based upon our national way of life -- mirrored/complemented by educational structures -- we have previously been stagnant in August.

Three popular series from August 2011:


The Hidden Costs of Higher Ed: Response?

Posted by tom | Aug 26, 2011

The other day I posted The Hidden Costs of Higher Ed (Noah S. Bernstein. NY Times Op-Ed. 8/21/2011) to the Emerging Scholars Network FB page In brief FB fashion, in order for the material to go to Twitter, I commented: Higher ed & the leveraging of resources to provide it costs $. As w/cars, houses, tech, we can't all have high end & don't need to.

Then I posted a comment: What are your thoughts? Note: W/regard to higher ed, I've had what our family can afford. Not sure what that will mean for our kids. We're encouraging & developing practical life skills. As you may guess, it's not a strength of mine. I'm learning a lot about myself & embracing life as I can tomatoes, raise chickens, consider bee-keeping, & take advantage of various community activities w/our family.

Sharing the question/conversation with you :)

Why do you do what you do? - Being Christ's Presence in the Midst of Transition Matters

Posted by tom | Aug 15, 2011

Amy E. Jacober's The Adolescent Journey: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Practical Youth Ministry (InterVaristy Press. 2011). Wow! The affirmation in ministry approach and tools to build an even stronger framework is a great encouragement as we enter a new academic year.

The Adolescent Journey Book Cover

Part of the description:

Drawing on the insights of sociology and psychology, Jacober reveals youth ministry to be an act of practical theology, and helps youth pastors find their footing as they guide young people through adolescence.

From the book:

Why is it important to know adolescent development? Andrea Solarz offers one of the most compelling reasons I have read. 

Today's adolescent needs one thing that adults seem to have the least surplus of -- time. It takes time to listen to an adolescent. . . . A crosscutting theme, regardless of one's professional role, is the need to communicate effectively with youth. Adolescents will not simply "open up" to adults on demand. Effective communication requires that an emotional bond form, however briefly, between the professional and the adolescent. For this bond to form professionals must be knowledgeable about normal adolescent development.1 (p.50) (More)

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