Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Tumbleweeding in Florida

Wandered on down to Nashville in the rain and put ourselves to bed in the Holiday Inn Express eating grocery store food while watching TV. We "stayed up late" (10 PM!)

Headed south the next morning -- a decision comes soon---Westerly to New Orleans or Easterly to Florida...
After a passable night near the Florida border (By passable I mean everything except the hour-long debate between two guys outside at 2AM and the baby next door whining itself awake at 5:30 AM) [Bless all those moms with babies]...
We had some sun and book-reading knowing that rain was coming.... we headed into Florida and the rain returned... "but it's a dry rain" ;-) Well, at least a warm rain.
We're having fun wandering about.... pretending that the journey is the destination..... stopping now to get a 1 lb "WhatABurger" for our lunch and then we're thinking of wandering through Ocala National "forest" then down the East coast... or not, or maybe...whatever....

Merry Christmas Eve!

We drove on Daytona Beach, something I did at age 12 the last time…. it is still drivable... we did some bird watching then kept driving south on A1A down the tiny slit of land out in the ocean until we ran out of hotels. Finally found a Dirty-Day's-Inn where other homeless people were staying... up that is.. the big evening Christmas party lasted until 2AM but with earplugs we outslept them and awoke late ... walked on the beach again, saw more birds...

Now south some more and toured Hobe Sound Bible College which was more than we expected... even saw a guy wearing SHORTS on the campus—whew! Otherwise a time tunnel--circa 1955.

Then westerly to Lake Okeechobee remembering a campsite there in 60 MPH winds in the 70's... now North to Lakeland where we plan to spend the night.
Sharon's sprint access allows the shotgun rider to dial up the Internet to monitor the roads, look up questions, resole arguments. or send emails -- while the other person is driving... not many emails for me—I’m on vacation.
Big rains this afternoon amidst tornado like clouds--no problem, we're from Indiana they looked normal to us. (though we found out later they blew away many roofs)
Next day, dodging Tornados we headed north again. Wound up near Winterhaven and took in a spy movie in the evening....
Next morning by 10 am we're off tumbleweeding again, the first shower-per-diem passing a while ago... today we're going to look at an historic Holiness site I visited as a child-- Lakeland Holiness camp meeting--if we can find it, then maybe let the wind blow us past another major holiness tourist site--Brooksville (AKA Headquarters.alt)
Floating with the current we found Lakeland Holiness Camp Meeting grounds, a place I last visited at age 12. Sure enough, while everything else changes, an independent camp meeting is predictably the same. It is sort of a "poor man's Brooksville" or I should say a "Brooksville for the separatist holiness movement folk"... that would be those who still don't cut their hair(women) but they allow themselves expensive cars--Caddies, Lincolns, and super-Buicks...interesting where one denies or allows excesses --all of us do I suppose. The "cultural Holiness movement" is holed up in places like this awaiting.... awaiting something.
After this we drove through WesleyenBrooksville and "did every street." We were delighted to see how that place has developed. They have another bunch of acres with $150,000-$200,000 homes springing up like weeds.... "Wesleyan Village" is for the NextGen of retirees.... impressive....

It is a symbol of one of the things I LIKE about the old-folk-Wesleyans.. across the board when the chips were down that generation voted with the next generation rather than protecting its own preferences and possessions... these are the folk who permitted youth conventions to look like rock concerts and hired the teens to rake their leaves to get money to go to them, these are the adults who swallowed their own music and let "praise choruses" dominate worship...they paid for buildings they didn;t need for themselves... and so much more....this is just one more example here in Brooksville-they risked having a bunch of their own camp-meeting-type cottages on the market unsold so that they could expand for the next generation... they knew the next generation would not retire in camp meeting cottages or rusty trailers ….so now the boomers will have a tidy place to retire to.... that match the laymen's houses and parsonages they had in life....the boomers get everything.
Then we hastened to Gainesville and fell asleep in our hundred dollar beds....we like Country Inn & suites best... then drove the next day to Knoxville where we had a delightful breakfast with Jim & Tommie Barnes, former Pres at IWU cum educational consultants afterwich we drove all the way home to our beloved Marion and returned to our own beds at the end of a week of wandering pronouncing it a good 2700 mile ramble.
Now we are catching up at home and are headed to Houghton where Sharon is the feature speaker at some sort of adult education conference this coming week --so hi to all my friends who are getting to Florida a week after I left.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Wheeeeeeeeeeee! Grades are in!

Christmas break is here! WHEEEEEEE!

1. I turned in my grades yesterday (we now do that on the Internet instead of with the "blue envelopes" so I can do it from home.

2. Today we faculty hung around and chatted sans students--it is like youth camp the day after the campers leave.

3. Tonight the President has a reception for all IWU employees (850+ people) and their families. We eat little deserts and goodies and visit and just generally have an "office party" with 1500 people attending. Best of all the President gives everybody a Christmas check. It can be a really NICE check some years (last year it was 750 bucks!) but even nicer than that--every single person gets the same check--from a janitor or secretary to a Vice president. Everybody thinks that's cool--especially people or earn ten bucks an hour! but we all like it.

4. Students are hearing from seminary. I'll let them share it first but for now the numbers:
1 - Princeton Theo. Seminary
4 - Duke Divinity school

5. Tomorrow is Commencement. So actually I'm not done yet--I have to put on my fancy dress and walk the aisle tomorrow and bid farewell to some of our seniors.

--gotta go get my check now... ;-)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Old people in chapel

Today in chapel a funny thing happened. We had African-American choral music leading the first part of worship. They led with a classic hard-driving AA style that made normal chapel music look like old fashioned hymns.

Guess what happened. The audience stiffed them. Really! The students at IWU simply stood (or sat down, like nine students near me did) and watched the leaders try to get them involved. At one point the AA leader with one of the microphones called, "Hello--are you out there" but to no avail. 90% of these broad-minded students who criticize old people for being narrow-minded about worship just wouldn't play along when it was't their worship music--they acted exactly like old people do when urged to "get into it" and sing the newer songs. I counted a whole section--not more then one out of ten students "got into it." that's it.

Then everything changed. After 25 minutes of AA music the group sang one of the songs on the "student approved list" --you know tone of the 25 songs we do over and over in chapel. --It is almost like the students have a list of approved songs like the school has a (short) list of approved "R" movies students can watch. If the song is not on the list they all somehow know they should stiff the leaders.

Are these are the same students who complain when THEY lead worship that the old people "don't get into it." Are they any different than a bunch of old people in the first service who stand non-committal when the young worship leader is urging them to join him in his favorite worship songs???

How can this be?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Final Approach

We’re on the final approach now toward the end of the semester.

1. Had a neat Thanksgiving with both sons & Families home. We had a real turkey one day and a giant ham the other. We exchanged gifts and I got a bonus gift of a whopping head cold from my granddaughter Karina.

2. I finished grading all the “Drury books” for Church Leadership today—tried a new thing (having them due before Thanksgiving). Really makes for a softer landing.

3. The head honcho of the theological Accrediting association is here today to chat about a potential seminary – still at the “unofficial chatting” point.

4. That’s about it around here… I’ll be buried in papers the next two weeks….

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The book will happen!

I sent in my sample chapter of the book on the Apostle’s Creed and my publisher went for it. OK what this means now:

1. Now I must schedule the entire book writing and rewriting between now and August 15 when final copy is due. That must allow for writing 12-15 chapters and then the arduous task of about ten rewrites.

2. I have to put finishing the “Trail of Death” walk manuscript on hold for a while—OR I might work on the final “sidebar essays” for that as recreation—we’ll see.

3. I have to eliminate 300 hours of other stuff in order to add this book—I’m making a list now.

……… I’ll keep you up to date-not that you are waiting with bated breath ;-)


1. The semester is in its final mode… flaps are down, and the runway is in sight. Students are requesting prayer for being “so overloaded” and believe they will never again be this busy (heh heh heh… if they only knew….;-)

2. Steve Lennox is preaching almost every week in chapel—and he is getting even better—I’ve only missed one so far this year.

3. The religion division is working on hiring two or perhaps three additional professors next year along with anticipating Bud Bence coming back to the division.

4. We are seriously talking about founding a seminary at IWU… while it is still at the exploration stage, it is exciting to see the new ideas that will change “seminary as we know it” and make everyone who has not gone to seminary yet want to go.

5. Dave and John & families are coming here for “Thanksmas” our every-other-year family celebration (we do a family Christmas-at-a-cabin the other years.

6. I am looking forward to going on vacation “toward” Key West with Sharon Christmas week, then “coming back through Houghton, New York where Sharon is speaking.

7. I got next semester’s schedule: Intro to pastoral Ministries (again!) along with leadership, LCE and curriculum class.—sounds great!

8. I am gearing up to read a mile high stack of “papers” (AKA “Drury books”) coming in starting Thanksgiving week.

9. Everything else in Marion is ordinary.

Today I am missing Mark & Jess, Paul and Brooke, Josh, Cece, Steve, Kaylee, Jeremy, Andrea, Jared, Rudy, Marcelo, Kevin, and Sam...

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?
--1 Thessalonians 2:19

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Time to write a chapter of this new book

I HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING and reading for more than a year to write something on the Creed (mostly Apostle’s though including Nicene). I wrote a proposal to my publisher and they are interested and want a sample chapter before they issue a contract. That makes sense because I live in a non-Creedal denomination—why would they want a book on the creed? My goal is to write in a different style, less “instructional” and more devotional and praise-inspiring. We’ll see if I am up to that.

ANYWAY yesterday I finally knocked out a first draft of chapter two: “Creator of heaven and earth.” I usually don’t start with a front chapter in a book and didn’t here (e.g. I believe, or Father or Almighty).

IS IT ANY GOOD? Who knows? I can’t tell. A writer does their best and lets it to editors and reviewers to decide if it ever meets the light of day, then of course my readers will decide if they agree with the publishers.

IF IT NEVER GETS PUBLISHED I’ll probably write it anyway. I am in the stage of life where the core beliefs of the Christians are more important—an old fellow is not required to believe anything at all to keep his job or advance politically. As my fellow boomers approach their 60’s and later they too will have to determine all over again what they really hold personally and not just what they held due to their association with friends and family. So we will be just like the 20something folk—examining their core beliefs and either affirming them or walking away in unbelief. Those who already went through a meltdown in their younger years often hold firm through this echo effect, those who never faced the big issues sometimes lose their faith in their heart and never tell their spouses or people at church—they die secret agnostics and secretly in spiritual despair.

I ALREADY KNOW WHERE I’LL COME OUT, because I’ve already come out on this—I hold firmly by choice to the “Common Ground” that Christians everywhere at all times have always believed…. (my working title for this book). So I’ll be writing an uplifting book reminding us all what we Christians all hold in common—and always have. The last year or two’s research reading for this book has been filled with the likes of Alister McGrath, Luke Timothy Johnson, Ray Prichard, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Hans Urs von Balthasar, William Barclay, Martin Luther, Emil Brunner, Karl Barth, Thomas Aquinas, & Augustine. I can’t go wrong reading these people—even if I never wrote a book at all!.

(AS FOR SCHOOL and classes there is no special news…we’re in the doldrums after mid term… this week we start registration/advising for second semester and there is an FNL… nothing else of significance… it is the quiet before the final push of the semester….)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday Afternoon with Yoder

Monday is my “reading afternoon” and has been ever since, well, ever since last week. ;-)

Today I read John Howard Yoder’s “Body Politics” which my son John assigned to me. Great read!

In this book Yoder covers five practices of the church which are “sacraments yet not sacramentalism” with a mind-bending Anabaptist approach to each that if the church took seriously would be a “witness to a watching world.” They are:
1. Binding and loosing
2. Baptism
3. Eucharist
4. Multiplicity of gifts.
5. Open meeting

But don’t get the idea that these titles cover the content of the book—the way he bends these five practices to describe what the body of Christ should look like is wonderful. What a wonderful afternoon. The book is a little book and fairly inexpensive… I hope you read it (if you are reading this and a recent graduate and want to see the church be something more than it is, or you are disillusioned’ll want it).

It is less than ten bucks newfrom Amazon—less used.
Neat read!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fall Break on the Knobber

Just returned from Fall "break" on the Knobstone Trail. Sharon and I hiked with Ross & Karen Hoffman. This is Sharon's first hike since her knee operation and she did fine. We got on the trail in mile 11 at route 160 (where the other three had hiked to several years ago) and walked to mile 21--then headed cross-country bushwhacking through the woods "to a road we think is over there somewhere." We came out of the woods right at the end of the road, walked out and hitched back to our car. We plan to do a leg each fall break from now on, knees willing.

It was a brisk day (frost in the morning, warming all day to 70 degrees for a moment) and we had a great time. (We knocked down several dead trees for you Mark & Jess)
I'll post a few pix.

Sharon's Damascus Road experience?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mid term is here!

Half way. 13.1 miles of the marathon is done!

I just left campus for “fall Break”

1. It really isn’t much of a “break” for me..I have a boxful of midterms to grade—with midterm grades due Monday at noon. Rats!

2. I’m headed off with Sharon along with Ross and Karen Hoffman tomorrow to hike on the Knobstone Trail.

3. On Monday we begin our second half—which is always shorter then the first half.

4. Students are getting better sleep then they used to—at least those I teach. Are they smarter?

5. I let the seven groups in Church Leadership create their own group-mid-term questions from which I made a tailored midterm. Interesting but too many hours work for me. Never again. ;-)

6. There are no more “Health center excuses” at IWU (unless you have some serious communicable disease) so that hits some students hard now. Had a senior student who is my advisee today withdraw form a course in another division where he missed three classes already… and lost 7% of his grade for each class—a whopping 21% price tag for his flu. Now he will stay another semester and finish in December. Boy that’s rough. (But it was in the syllabus so he has no recourse). Rats!

7. Marion is on Daylight savings time now—which means we go to 7:50s in the dark.

8. I think I might be getting a section of Intro to Pastoral Ministry back next semester. This is way cool—I loved that course. Not a final decision yet.. Boss man (Dave) Smith is deciding.

9. Today was bosses day and I ate two doughnuts and enjoyed them.

10. Sharon and I went “out” to Baldwin for dinner tonight. Seems foolish to current students, but past ones will understand. ;-)

11. I’m missing people this week… people like Paul Kind, Mark Schmerse and Jess, CeCe, Brooke, Kevin Julie, Josh… so many others. But this is the life of a professor… love ‘em & they leave ya. It is supposed to be that way.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Semester 1/3 over (personal update)

We’re at the third point of the semester here. Remember—this is when the clamps start turning down. Next week we have mid terms. A week from Friday we head off on Fall “break” (actually only a single day). I’m preparing for mid terms now.

1. September was a bear for me. I have all but one of the seven(?) writing assignments done now—doing that one this week (I hope).

2. On October 31 I have a sample chapter of a new book I’ve proposed due—on the Apostle’s Creed. If it flies with the publisher then I’ll plunge into actually writing what I have been researching the last 18 months.

3. David, Kathy and the grandkids were here for homecoming—which was great!
Recently spoke to northern Indiana gathering of Salvation Army—sorta like another homecoming since I worked for them 4 years in the 1970’s

4. I’m on day 12 of a lousy cold and hacking cough [I’m giving it 21 days to go away then I’m getting discouraged]

5. Saw lots of precious alums at homecoming—now that they are gone I’m sad.
It is 70 degrees here in Marion—like summer. Blankets on the lawn even.

6. Having gotten cable TV on a special $2.95 per month deal I am making a commitment to waste one hour every day watching TV to see what I’ve been missing these last few years.

7. All other news is not ready for release yet.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Homecomeing & New Field House & Dorm

OK as part of the continuing "So you missed Homecoming" series here are a few other buildings... I'll perhaps post more later--but I'm headed off to the soccer game soon where IWU plans to let SWU win to encourge their hearts (this new sports strategy is based on Steve DeNeff's sermon in yesterday's "Homecoming chapel") As for the homecoming chapel we had a gigantic gathering in the gym which was funny in a way--the change of locations is always hard for the "worship part" of the service. (DeNeff was great-as-always though, though he sweat several quarts of water trying to overcome the Gym atmosphere.) At 1PM yesterday we crowned the new king of IWU--Henry Smith with much fanfare and pomp. OK for this week's campus shots:

Here is the latest dorm-of-the-year
Located right on top of the old tennis courts next to Luckey Gym these residence halls will offer yet another style of living. They "face" PPAC parking area and form part of the North "City wall" of the campus as we already have on the Southside with the Townhouses. They'll be finished in time for next year's crop.

And the new Field House
Remember how the sports teams had to "compete" for inside training space in the Wellness & Rec center? That should pass as soon as the new field house is done. It appears to be about a football field long and is located back at the very end of the sports complex--right off the turnaround there. Beside it are the new tennis courts--though thay were not finished in time for today's game.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Homecoming weekend (Student Center Pix -Part I

This weekend is homecoming and the new president's inaguration. Many of you will be back... if not here's a quick tour of the New Student Center VIA some pixs I took for you this afternoon (Sunday). Jess Schmerse asked for pix of the new student center--so here goes:

Here is a view of the "finished" Student Center from the exit doors of PPAC... it dominates (the former) Nebraska Street. That swooping glass to the left is the ceiling of the Piazza (see interior pic in part 2). Now we have three great buildings facing a "new quadrangle" with a possible fouth on the way:
1) Wellness & Rec;
2) Student center;
3) PPAC and
4?) New chapel (maybe planted somewhere where Center school now is?).
[I think the four-fold plan is based on the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. Or at least Luke 2:52? ]

IWU now owns Nebraska street and it is closed to auto traffic. You can see the "redevelopment plan" soon to occur on the sign here: "The mall" inside has doubled in length and extends all the way to Nebraska Street/PPAC--which is far out of sight in this picture (taken from MConn) Everything is now "off the mall" even a new Art Galery (black sign to right) including the new entrance to Baldwin and all the alternative eating areas and shops.... the general idea of the new student center seems to be --"have lots more "venues" and less giant open spaces--more places to chat, relax and snuggle. " Even the uptairs section of the enw addition (Dean of Cjapel, Life Calling & records office) has little chat-spoits all over the place which provides an enviroment conducive to mentoring.
In the actual Baldwin Dining room there area whole bunch of classy new serving lines going in (still). The renonovation isn't done yet and the dishwasher isn't even hooked up --so we're still eating on paper plates as of October 1. (Oh yes--what you see in the foreground is true... cool huh?... we're working on the "Freshman fifty" now ;-)
Tucked all over in the old "Baldwin" are tiny venues and snuggle places for people to gather and talk quietly. If you liked the old "Applebees venue" you'll love the new Baldwin. The large open "prison-like eating area" is gone almost.. the open spaces may actually be smaller than it used to be.

Go to part II for the rest of the pix

Homecoming week (New Student Center PART 2

Off the mall is "Marios" --a kind of pizza & junk food place you can swipe at instead of "Baldwin." It has a sort of "Piazza" atmosphere including a working fountain which makes you think you need to go to the bathroom while you are eating.

Blogspot is loading too slow to stick all my pix here, but trust me--there are other venues for eating. For instance the old Wildcat is now a fancy-snooty dining hall where they will have four forks and three spoons at each plate setting and teach us hillbillies which one to use when. The "Wildcat Express" is now off the mall and is a really cool store where swipes and points can be used.

McConn has been expanded too and now includes (to the right below) a wood-floored news-room where students can see if anything of interest is happening outside the IWU bubble on a large flatscreen TV... (this is still being finished and won't be done by homecoming). (There is disagreement on if they will tune the news to Fox, CNN, or CNBC..which would you pick?)

Oh yeah, We now have a gift shop named in hebrew [though not exactly accurately says Elaine B.] It is designed especially for guys to buy gifts for their girlfriends.

The notion of selling gifts for the girls to give to the guys has not yet struck the campus, which is odd since almost 75% of the market on campus are women (as you know ;-). (The proportion of males may [still] be going down at IWU--maybe we need an engineering program or football! Gee, how bad would it be if we had no religion division!

Just before you exit to PAC you can get your hair cut on the way to chapel at the cleverly named "WildcutZ."

At the other end of the student center near the library our new campus store opened this week (where the old "day student lounge" used to be) . Having used up all the naming creativity on WildcutZ we named the new campus story, Campus Store. One gal this week treated the breaking news of its opening with, "Gee, now we don't even have to go across Washington Street to Circle K any more--we can get everything we'll ever need in life right here in the bubble." (Don't be too hard on her--she's a senior--remember?)

I'll see many of you at homecoming... if not at least you can see these pictures ;-)
So what do you want to see next week?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Entering week 4 (Campus pix)

Sharon left for a retreat a while ago and I haven’t any interesting personal news since the recent update so, inspired by Adam Thada'a blog on Marion I decided to ride my scooter over (in the rain) and take some pictures for past students of the new academic building looming out the windows of the CM building

So first, here is a picture of the new building from the Washington street entrance to CM--this is what we see now when we come to work, the CM parking lot being gobbled up for now with construction crews and equipment--we park on Washington street--both sides (for now):

And speaking of the CM parking lot, here's a pic of half the new building from what used to be the CM parrking lot which is now mostly the new building and construction staging area.

And I rode over north of the Body Shop and took this pic for you:

As you can see it was dark and rainy--but neither snow, nor sleet nor rain will keppyour former professors from taking pictures for you so you won't have to say when you return to campus, "Hey, what building is that?"

Maybe next week I'll take some pix of the new dorm, or the new field house, or even the new College church?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Week 3 of the semester...

I'm half way through week three of school...
1. I graded the first unit in church leadership’s “Problem Based Learning” and am higher than a kite—these students learned more about church finances in 2 weeks than any pat students EVER… amazing! I am humbled to have such brilliance before me every Tuesday-Thursdays. (You can see both the PBL activities and a smple of one group's two weeks work with PBL by going here:
2. I helped Dave Ward move his furniture around (again) today—he’s putting in new carpet. (He lives right down the street from me)
3. He helped me pick apples and I’m drying them now in my dehydrator—they smell great!
4. I am dog-sitting this weekend for Judy Huffman’s Carley—I’m the dog’s godfather.
5. Amanda is now ordained—I drove up with Sharon and the Lennox’s
6. It is going down to 39 degrees tonight her in Marion. I like cold.
7. I'm finished with all my September writing assignments but two--- tick, tick, tick...
8. All the Asburyheads are absorbed with the conflict at ATS...they take the rest of us with them in their passion. (See Schenck's blog).
9. I'm riding my moped to work daily...which is good since there is no parking basically in what USED to be the CM parking lot where the great hulk of a new academic building is going up.
10. That's about it for news from the third week here at IWU

Sunday, September 10, 2006

First week of school (update Sept 10)

1. The first week of school is past--I have awesome classes!

2. My daughter-in-law Amanda Hontz Drury is getting ordained this coming weekend in Michigan—I’m running up to that. (John was ordained last month, David a long time ago.)

3. The new academic building is going up and towers three stories right beside the CM building.

4. The new “addition” to the student center isn’t ready—we’re eating on paper plates for a month or so.

5. I’m in a Karl Barth reading group with Bounds and Schenck every Monday so my head hurts.

6. I just finished a chapter for a new book on worship which examines the most popular 77 songs churches use. My chapter is called “I’m Desperate For You: Male Perception of Romantic Lyrics in Contemporary Worship Music”

7. Lots of other writing too..I have five more writing assignments thismonth..I’m trying to decide when tow rite since I teach all five days now and don’t have Tu-Th “off”any more. The book "there is no "I" in church is selling briskly too.

8. The CM building gutting-renovation has been delayed another year.

9. Nebraska Street is closed off now.

10. Summit week starts Monday featuring (fairly) recent graduates—Daron Earlywine (one of the few senior pastors I know who is his own church’s drummer) and his “Berry good” church team is doing the music

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Gettin Ready to start Fall semester (Sept 1)

I'm all ready for this semester… syllabi all done and prep for the first week of classes… but classes don’t start until Tuesday. I’m rarin’ to go already. Excited as always about LCE/Spiritual Formation and I have a renewed excitement about church leadership since I’m redesigning the entire course to a “Problem Based Learning” approach.

I’m still doing a bunch of interviews on the new book “There is no I in church” with Christian radio stations across the USA. I’ve probably done about 25 interviews in the last month so thousands and thousands of folk have heard me talk about the church in all kinds of “markets” but there is something really strange… with all that exposure not a single person I know had heard me and sent an email saying so. It’s curious. I think I know why. Neither Wesleyans nor IWU graduates are listeners to Christian radio. So I’m in a new “market” on these call-in shows—with a constituency I’m not usually with. Thus my past readers and students are unlikely to even hear me. They are ships passing in the night.

Actually I don’t give a hoot how many strangers read my books. I’ve never written for strangers. I know many writers who do that. They write to reach a new audience, to get known where they have not been known. Not me. I started out early getting known—mostly by traveling and speaking. By the time I had been in the ministry a decade I already had spoken to more people than I ever imagined I would in a lifetime. I was compelled to write because I couldn’t get back around to see these people I already loved… “my people.” So I wrote. Thus the only thing I rally “count” in book circulation is how many Wesleyans and former students are readers. The rest are strangers. So the same goes for radio interviews. If one of “my people” hears me the time is meaningful to me. But if a million strangers hear me—and even buy my book—it will mean little to me. I must be funny that way.

For what its worth I picked ten pounds of tomatoes out of my garden tonight—a few almost as big as cantaloupes. And I only harvest from three of my eight plants! Raising tomatoes is my spiritual gift I think. If you’re reading this and near Marion—stop by and pick some for yourself—no need to check first, just take some!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Great Colorodo Trail Hike!

Just returned from a hike with Phil Woodbury (retired Surgeon from Indy). We did 100 miles of the Colorado Trail at the end of the summer and I'm going to schedule an annual trip out the end of August every year We left August 15 and drove Phil's Honda van to Leadville, Colorado with a six hour sleepover at a rest stop in Kansas, arriving at the Trailhead by noon the next day (I forgot how close Colorado is-it was an easier trip than last year to the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire actually).

We started south at the same trailhead where Burt Webb & Jeanie Argot and I headed North two years ago. On our second day I had finished up my remaining un-hiked 20 miles of the Colorado Trail-so now I've finished it, though, lagging behind Burt by a month (who finished it earlier this summer).

We had rain almost every day and most of the nights, but Colorado rain isn't a big deal-the sun also shined every day but one so we dried out our damp bags most every day in the sun. We slept in a Go-lite tarp and only met nine mosquitoes the entire trip. This was Phil's first western trip and (compared to the horrendous trailway crossing New Hampshire last summer) he considered it a sidewalk and even his almost-blindness enabled him to walk ahead of me on his own up the climbs. Yes, I still languished slowly up the grades-many of them more then a 1000' and 3a few of them over 3000' in 3 miles (the Collegiate Peaks section of the CT has a few of the hardest-longest climbs on the CT). He waited at the top for me. (of course, as some of you know going downhill is another story).

The views were amazing, especially from our breakfast on the shoulder of Mt. Yale. We saw some great deer and heard elk stomping through our camp one night. We met Scooter & Pika-two through hikers (Scooter is a PCT alum from 2003) but only other day hikers-the CT is still one of the most under hiked great trails in the USA. We both went no-cook. Phil carried self-dehydrated food for the whole week, I re-supplied in Twin Lakes and at that little store in Mt. Princeton Hot Springs (remember that one Burt & co. from the 2000 hike with studnets???)

We averaged a leisurely 15 miles a day or so and covered about 100 miles from Leadville to Salida (US #50). Well, that's 15 miles until the final full day when we "pushed" a bit and landed Phil his first backpacking marathon-26.2 miles to a campsite just a few miles from US #50. We had an hour to spare actually averaging 3mph that day while walking. That left just a few hours of walking the final morning so we started hitching back to Leadville by 9 AM and three quick rides got to the Columbine Café for one of those great "potato skillets" breakfasts. There we met a kid who had thru-hiked the AT who with his girlfriend took us out to the end of Turquoise lake and our car before noon-as always, hitching is easier than most people imagine (and far more interesting than a drop-car: ask me sometime about the couple from Wyoming who picked us up!)

We (of course) stopped at the Denver REI on the way home and after grabbing a few hours sleep at a rest stop near Kansas City we got home yesterday a day earlier due to the Marathon day.

Our unsorted random pictures from the week can be seen at <ANY" target=_blank>>ANY

Now I'm headed off to "faculty retreat" the official beginning of Fall semester (see below on the courses I'm teaching htis fall)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Personal update (August 5)

(The most recent update is at the bottom of this post)

I finished my walk to Kansas... While I am officially still off-email for the summer I finished my walk on the "Trail of Death." I posted a reflecton at the end of the journal which is linked at

The first two weeks of August are my prepare-for-next-semester weeks. I'm teaching two courses every semester-- LCE and Leadership. Both have attached practicum courses which make the combined load for these four courses about 10-11 hours. The rest of my courses rotate--this fall I'll have Adult Education, and in the Spring Camping & Retreats--both courses I also love with great passion.

As for the campus, as always there are lots of buildings going up... right behind CM in the parking lot is a huge three-story academic building that completely streteches in front of both the science hall and CM and will face 38th street--it will be under construction all year so bye bye parking lot. And a new dorm is going up where the old tennis courts were (and on the spot of those nearby houses) . Also we're building a huge (bigger than a football field) practice house for sports teams to have an indoor place to practice--and to let the current Health and wellness place be used for intramural stuff without competing with the sports teams for space. Beyond this a huge new College Church is also under construction in the full square block on 38th street (all the houses are gone there) to the East of the new academic building.

The new President Smith is in charge now, President Barnes has moved to Tennessee. Sharon is dean at APS and is more busy than ever before.

As for campus people-news, we have several new professors. A guy with the first name of "Jolly" is coming from Calirofnia to replace Jim Lo but I forgot his last name. Dave Ward (former student) is coming back from KBM to teach all sections of Hom 1 & 2. Bud Bence is now the VP for Academics and Steve Lennox is the Dean of the Chapel. Dave Smith is head of the division (he's switching to Wesleyan from FM--a requirement for division chairs.) Gunsalus is on the final stretch of his PhD, as is Horst. Schenck seems to write a new book every month or so. Bounds has designed several hundred new theology courses. Springer teaches more children's ministry stuff now--I teach lots of general CE. Everyone else is about the same... Oh, yeah, Wilbur Williams is..well, the same Wilbur Williams you remember.

July 22 Update...
I've been reading for my deotions Ken Schenck's commentary on 1&2 Corinthians. It is wonderful! If I had to only get one book this year this would be it. What a masterpiece! I've sorta burned out on the read-through-the-whole-Bible-as-a-race thing (though Sharon is still plugging away faithfully) and been hungry for more commentary on the text--not just the bare text, so this commentary is a wonderful break for me. I am behind on my through-the-Bible reading now... maybe I'll catch up or maybe I'll read the second half next year...we'll see. For now though I'm loving this commentary!
....You can get Ken's Commentary for $15.99 from Wesleyan Publishing House here
....Or for a few dollars less at here:
(Why does Wesleyan Publishing House charge more on their own site than sells their stuff for???)

July 23 Update...
My son John was ordained today.
The Indiana North district does their ordination service at Lakeview. Both of my sons are now ordained, the equivalent of “tenure” of a college professor. It reminded me of my own ordination in 1971. I made it through the hoops but not without some doubt. You see I had a large drooping mustache then and (at that time) facial hair was a big issue. It was thought in 1971 that facial hair meant I was a hippie who was opposed to the Vietnam war and was thus not a loyal American. They were half-right: I was opposed to the war but I was also a loyal American. A few wise members of the DBMD pushed to “pass him though” because I would “grow up later.” I’m glad for their wiser approach. (Though I still have not witnessed a war I thought was God’s will).

JULY 24 Update...
I’ve been doing dozens of radio interviews for the new book “There is no “I” in church.” They all go about the same way. An agent in Idaho has sent my book to Christian radio stations and gets requests from them and confirms the time with me. When the time comes I go to my office (where I have a land-line phone) and wait for the radio show’s producer to call me. When I get the call the producer (who invaribly is a woman) “chats me up” then plugs me in and the host asks questions for 20-30 minutes usually while live on the air. The host never actually has read the book (like some of my students before class;-). They mostly interview me on the title. Two have opened the book to the Table of Contents to fish out some questions—I like that.
Of course they don’t need to read the book--the agent has prepared a list of 20 questions they can ask (I have a copy). Most hosts ignore the list altogether and just ramble anywhere the conversation goes—usually mining the next question out of my last response. That is OK with me I simply “plant” a statement in each answer that leads them to ask the question I want to answer next.
These interviews happen from 6AM in the morning until 11PM at night depending on the station’s time zone—and I still have to do them while traveling—like from the hotel room in Branson Missouri this coming week. Some are with networks of a dozen stations or with the sat. radio. The producer sometimes reminds me of hte audience, as in "We are in 60 countries around the world with a potential audience of 26 miooion" Of course that would be like saying a church in Indianapolis has a "potential attendance" of a million. ;-)
Sometimes I feel cheap doing the interviews since I don’t listen much to “Christian Radio” myself—though I sometimes dial on for ten or 15 minutes. After that I often switch for one of two reasons: Their anger which tires me or their smugness. But, oh well, this is one of those things you must promise to do when you write a book. Maybe someone is listening.

Off to Branson MO now for the week with Sharon as the tag-along-spouse while she attends some sort of conference. Maybe I'll go see some singer who is famous with old people while there. Or maybe I'll write some on the Trail Of Death manuscript. Or maybe I'll just watch TV in the motel room all week. ;-)

AUG 4 Update...
I finished up all my sylabus work & grade cards and first week's class plans for two courses last week... 1) Local Church Education...where I made some great changes and improvements inspired by the end-of-course surveys from students. 2) Church Leadership...where I made massive changes moving a chunck toward more "Problem-based-learning" (what Schenck calls "Practice-toTheory") in the course... it should be fun. Based on student evaluations I dropped a unit and combined some too and moved to longer units to give more in-depth time. I also took a day to organize all my overheads into boxes nicely labeled now. Last week they painted one of our REL office walls dark maroon too which is less bland.

This coming week I'm baby-sitting Sharon who has a knee operation Monday and I'll be working aorund the house.

Next Tuesday I leave for ten days the Colorado Trail... with Phil Woodbury. We'll hop on the trail near Leadville Colorado and hike south through the Collegiate Peaks range. I have only 20 miles left of the CT... and I'll have hiked it all--so the second day out I'll finish the CT--after that I'll be repeating one of my favorite sections. This trail is the highest trail in the USA...often abouve 11,000' all day and rises to 12,000 and above. Looking forward to some cooler life next week! We're driving out and back--so even looking forward to the drive. Then I come the day before faculty retreat and I'm off for another semester!