In recent years, two books made a major impact on the popular discussion of decision-making, especially in the business context: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Both books recognize that snap decisions can be more effective than slow, careful, rational decision-making, but they can also be catastrophic.
At the President's Banquet this year, I told the story of how, on November 27 at the Vanguard University Soccer complex in Costa Mesa, California, I had one of the greatest moments I have experienced as President of Northwest University. As our Sports Information office reported, "The women's teams from NU and Vanguard remained scoreless throughout regulation, with Northwest's goalkeeper Kat Sanchez having to save only two shots. Northwest put three shots on goal in regulation, and finally found their winning goal in the fourth minute of extra time when a pass from Jaclyn Metz allowed Makenna Wheeler to put in the golden goal." Immediately after we scored, I rushed to the field to be with the victors, just in time to hear Kat cry out, "We really worshipped God today!"
The book of Acts represents the quintessential biblical guide to evangelism and mission, with Acts 1:8 serving as the preview of the book's tracing of the advance of the gospel from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and to the ends of the earth. One of the theories that scholars and other interpreters have proposed for the author's purpose imagines Luke–Acts as an amicus curiae brief for Paul's trial in Rome.1 Written to an otherwise unknown "most excellent Theophilus," (Luke 1:3) who attorney and author John Mauck theorizes to have been Paul's lawyer, the introduction to Luke offers such legal terminology as "eyewitnesses," "account," and "carefully investigated." The books are considerably pro-Roman, showing the Roman authorities and soldiers as never attacking Christians unless provoked by provincial religious leaders, and were even depicted as supporting Jesus and Paul.
The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities recently had the privilege of hearing Arthur C. Brooks, a conservative columnist and author of the forthcoming book, Love your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt. As a Christian and an ardent capitalist, Brooks reminded us that Jesus requires more than mere tolerance or respect for those we see as our enemies: He enjoins us to love them—thereby offering a path to national unity in the midst of our severe divisions.
With a new blog and a new site, I look forward to the coming events of 2019 at Northwest University. During the year, I will be offering insights on leadership, culture, faith, and work regularly on the blog, and sending it out once a month by email. My goal is to keep things as entertaining as possible, usually limited to 500 words, while sharing some of my best thoughts.
As I begin to blog more regularly this year, I thought I’d share some very personal ideas that might provide a stimulus for others. I have been reading an excellent book by Tim Keller: Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. I have read a number of books on prayer over my lifetime, but none have helped me more than this one. I highly recommend it. Its combination of present relevance and ancient wisdom especially appealed to me.
Over the Christmas holidays, I had the pleasure of accompanying the Northwest University chess team to the Pan-American Intercollegiate Championships in Burlingame, California. Northwest University is America’s only evangelical university that competes in intercollegiate team chess. Students who have played competitive chess in high school will be excited to learn that Northwest provides opportunities for them to continue at the intercollegiate level at state, national, and international competitions. Those new to the game, or who want to sharpen their skills, will find enthusiastic partners in our intramural Chess Club.
Last night, I had the pleasure of witnessing a remarkable feat of cultural leadership—the annual Christmas Traditions concert of the Northwest University Concert and Chamber Choirs with our alumni choir Coro Amici and the Kirkland Civic Orchestra at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. As I watched and listened, I marveled at the leadership it takes to bring such an event to bear.
Last year, I saw a funny little note on Facebook. Someone declared, “It’s January 2 and I’m so excited to throw out our Christmas tree.” I immediately responded, “You aren’t doing Christmas right if you quit before Epiphany.” Since then, I’ve discovered that many people don’t even know what Epiphany is (it’s the day the Church celebrates the visit of the three Magi to the baby Jesus). As anyone who has ever tried to sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” knows, Christmas was originally designed to be a 12-day feast, but many assume that Christmas day is the 12th day (in fact, it is the first day). Although merchants certainly understand the power of Christmas, many Christians don’t know very much about it.