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.
The church in Philippi was a community of Jesus followers situated in the Roman empire yet called to be a radically different type of people than Rome. Followers of Jesus today, like the followers of Jesus in Philippi, have to learn how to be a new sort of Kingdom and community while living in another kingdom and community. Paul, who planted this church, called the followers of Jesus in Philippi and, in many ways, calls all followers of Jesus today to be a “Colony of Heaven.”
While driving through Casper, Wyoming, I saw this rather amusing sign about networking. I had never considered the question of networking at funerals, but I certainly agree with the sentiment expressed in the sign. You shouldn’t “network” at funerals.