Saturday, December 15, 2007

Good year to apply to grad school

If you are a graduate that went directly into the local church intending to go to seminary/Grad school later on...this is a good year to do it.

It is no secret that many of the top grad schools (Princeton, Duke etc) informally "reserve" a spot or two for IWU grads each year. Well, they don't exactly have an official quota system, but it often works out that way.

Why is this year a good year to apply? Because hardly anyone from this year's senior class is applying. It's funny--some years we have several dozen applicants and other years we have few. In a quick check last week I discovered that only five recommendations for grad school have been written so far by our REL profs... last year we had written maybe 25-30 by now. More students seems to plan to go to a local church first then later go to grad school. This provides a special opportunity to people like you, if you graduated, went to a church, and plan to later go to seminary.

There should be a number of "semi-reserved spots" available this year and the competition for them will be considerably reduced... so if you are thinking of seminary--this could be year when you could get a handsome scholarship at a school you never dreamed you'd get into.

Reminders about grad school rreferrences

1. Ask a prof first if they will write a reference for you. You don’t want a prof filling out a reference saying, “I don’t really know much about this student.” Who to ask? You should already know which prof has already expressed confidence in you. If none have then you are in deep trouble when applying for grad school. Usually you ought to tell the reference which schools you are applying to if there are several. As for me I even want to know what they are in order of preference. There are only a few stellar references a professor can write each year and they certainly don’t want to waste them on a student who really prefers another school. Students often see a reference as an extension of their own relationship. But a prof also has a relationship with the school for which he or she is writing a reference. A prof doesn’t want to waste their “reference clout” on a student who really wants to go to another school. Most profs are interested in how you rank the schools to which you are applying.

2. Waive the right to see references. Somewhere on your own application you will get a chance to waive your right to read the references or you can refuse to waive it and insist on the rights to see whatever the prof puts in your file. Profs with any brains or legal sense never write a reference for a student who does not waive this right. Profs can be sued for the tiniest little statement in response to the “weaknesses Question” expected in most references. So wise profs simply do not write references when they find out the student has not waived this right. One alternative for profs is this: they simply write a bland reference with nothing good or bad—e.g. “I had this student in several of my classes and they attended regularly” like an HR department now does to protect their assets from suit. What’s a prof to do? We must assume either (a)the student is sloppy and did not even notice the waiver checkbox, or (b) the student actually intends to insist on reading all the recommendations in their file. In either case the prof gets bad vibes about this student. So check the box if you expect a good reference.

3. Apply early. The quicker you apply the better off you’ll be. Early acceptance can also mean more money. Something else occurs here too. Many profs have a personal quota system for references to certain schools. I do. I will write only two strong references a year for my alma mater, PTS and also for Duke. I usually write those by Christmas, or sometimes by January. Glowing references are like printing money—the more you write the less they are worth. So, I only write two really strong references a year per school. I can’t say five students are “one of our best students in the last ten years.” I can say that for one, or at the most two. And when I write two one of them is usually stronger than the other—I have to be honest. If you dilly dally around and ask for a reference in March many profs have already “used up” their glowing recommendations quota. And it should be like that—any person who fiddles around and waits until March shouldn’t get a glowing recommendation anyway—they probably would fiddle around and do their papers the night before they’re due—and this kind of student would fail in grad school anyway.

4. Remind your reference people. Most schools now use an online reference company like . Writing a rec through these online companies is a royal pain in the neck for your prof. Like most IT people they program everything to make it hard for the person submitting and easy for themselves. For instance to upload a reference letter recently the letter would not load... next I had to strip out of the letter the jpg letterhead symbol and it still woul dnot load, finally I had to re-title the letter describing the year-edition of Word then it loaded and I had to then review the letter as an Adobe file. All this is easier for the company collecting the references but harder for the prof who used to scribble on a prepared form and drop these references into to a pre-stamped envelope in 5 minutes. Since we hate wrestling with complicated online references with newly assigned passwords and sign-ins for each student most professors put off doing their references until they have to. Theoretically I do references on Fridays, but I often skip a week--I'd even rather grade papers than write references online. The student who shows up Tuesday telling me their reference is due Wednesday gets no reference. Also, at the end of the semester when profs are grading a bezillion papers and are crabby don’t expect the prof to be in a good mood when writing your reference. All the new pain-in-the-neck online reference procedures have made profs delay even more, so sending a short cheerful email reminding them is a good idea. Your original email to them, and the email from the computer assigning a password and sign-in for your rec can get buried behind a hundred emails in less than a week and might soon be forgotten if you don’t give a soft reminder.

5. Thank your reference people. Getting a reference is not an entitlement--you did not purchace a good reference when you paid tuition. References are a generous gift of time a professor gives an outstanding student. Thanking her for that time is only proper.

6. Keep the prof up to date on news. I wrote a glowing reference for a student a few years ago and the student got into an ivy league grad program especially because I went out on a limb for him in my reference letter. He never told me he was accepted, never told me he was also accepted in another prestigious school, and never contacted me to tell me where he decided to go. Once he went to the final grad school he has not once written a note telling me where he was and how it was going. All he did was use me as a rung on the ladder of his educational career. I was a reference to toss away like Kleenex. So if you ask your prof to take an hour to craft a recommendation letter for you, at least give that hour back to her or him by writing some notes in the future about what you decide to do and how you did once you got into the school they helped you get into.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Grading & exams now...

I had my last class of the semester Friday at 3:30…the last class period of the semester… now it is to grading….

I love and hate grading at the same time. I love it in seeing the wonderful work student do on their “papers” which are really “books.” (In LCE the average pages was 117—single spaced.) I Hate it in that I can’t give everyone an “A” and keep my job. That means I have to give B’s and lower to students who did far better work than five years ago got an “A.”

I know how that happened. I generally ask a few students who did superb jobs to let me have a copy of their paper. When each new unit starts I casually give a copy of their “chapter” to each small group ‘as an example of what some past students did in this course.” They finger through it and decide to meet or exceed their example. BAM! When I get the papers in from that group they often do stand on the shoulders of past students and do even better! Where this ends I don’t know! All I know is I gave B’s to students this weekend that would have gotten a perfect A five years ago. And I hate that.

But I’m done with LCE. Tomorrow they have their exam. They’ll be writing for two hours straight answering “interview questions” from a local church on Christian education and Spiritual Formation/discipleship. In two hours many of them can write 4000 words. This means that starting tomorrow I have start reading (and grading) a total of 120,000 words—the equivalent of two paperback books. {sigh} BUT this is motivating for me—because all they really learned is what they can write out of their heads… so I get to see what is really in there. I’ll be veeeeery tired tomorrow by the time I go to bed… but it will be a “good tired.”

Then Tuesday I grade CLPL “papers” and on Wednesday CLPL students take “the hardest exam I ever took” and I have to grieve for those who only “got exposed” to things and didn’t learn them. Oh well, I always curve that exam so there is some mercy in the system ;-)

If any of you former students out there took the CLPL exam and have any tips or hints to current students go ahead and post your hints here… I made a new exam but it might help some to know what to expect anyway.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My First "Wicked Woman"

Clara was the first “wicked woman” I knew. By “wicked” I mean she wore scarlet lipstick that left a blood-red stains on her Kool brand cigarettes in the various ashtrays around her house. She went to the “beer garden” with her husband Wes, and talked quite a bit louder than any polite Christian woman I knew.

Clara was my aunt and, having no kids of her own, she adopted me as her “favorite nephew.” When she found me at family gatherings she encircled me with her arms, pulled me close and kissed me square on the lips, introducing me for the first time to the thrilling yet waxy taste of lipstick. She constantly laughed and giggled between cigarettes and sometimes said “damn” in front of me before immediately covering her lips with her hand and giggling an apology for her language “in front of my little preacher-boy.”

If Clara had not been my aunt I would not have been allowed around her. Like most families we were more broad-minded about our relatives. Clara got more religious after she retired from her job as secretary at U S Steel. Or maybe the standard of “religious” dropped to then include her, I'm not sure. I do know that we let women who wear lipstick go to heaven now. As a retired woman, Clara attended a Methodist church , prayed daily and read every book I ever wrote. Occasionnally she’d call me on my wife's cell phone and she'd laugh so loud I sometimes had to pull the receiver away from my ear. Even after I turned 60 she continued to call me “My little Wesley” (I'm named after her late husband, Wesley).

I think Clara was my first crush--at age 8. I remember praying often for her so she would stop wearing lipstick, smoking and drinking beer so she too could go to heaven. We've changed some of those understandings now of course, but as a child that's how I understood things.

I moved away from Clara when I was twelve. Now she’s moved away from me—they buried her this morning and I found out too late to attend the funeral, so I’m sad today. I expect to meet her again... lipstick or not.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Coming in for a landing!

The semester is almost over..or at least it feels like it. Today we began out last chapter in LCE (Spiritual formation of Adults)... their "book" will be done by Thanksgiving.

As you former students know--my courses are front-loaded. We're in the soft landing stage soon...

Just in time... I've found students aren;t in the mood for "taking in" much after Thanksgiving. They will, however, "give back" (papers, presentations) and they'll reflect (reflection on what they've learned, integration of the course material with the meta-learning of other courses etc.).

As for me soon I begin my own "cramming" --that is cramming my days and nights with grading "papers"

as to early reflection on my courses this semester:

LCE--It is like Sharon... I Love it better as the years go by.

CLPL--I likes this course best of all..I "lectured" a lot (which means I told lots of stories too) and I think students liked it better actually... we'll see, they evaluated me this last week.

TEACHING ADULTS IN THE CHURCH. This is the old adult ed renewed into a cross-listed course (Bible or CE)... Superb evening course... they have their exam this Thursday night.. then a soft landing for them too.

PRACTICUMS. I have 5 hours... I THINK they are ok, but I often kick myself that they are not better.. mostly out of my hands though in in the hands of the local church.

WRITING. I'm working on a manuscript due Jan 10... after 25 years of writing I'm finally writing on writing--"A brief guide for writers." Did the outline today...

Miss you all... know what I ought to do some summer? Get in the car and go visit you all. can I sleep on your couch?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quotes on Writing

I spoke at a writer's conference last week and a number of writers there asked for a copy of my collection of quotes on writing so i put them together and thought I'd post them here for whomever might want to find one they like and want to keep.
(I also put these quotes here)

Here's the secret to finishing that first book. Don't rewrite as you go. --Laurell K. Hamilton

I revise, rewrite, edit and delete more than ever before, so much so that, ever since Koko, I see self-editing as crucial to the process as the initial writing. --Peter Straub

I make an index of my notes and then get to the writing as soon as I can. I do a rough draft, and then I rewrite and rewrite. --Tracy Kidder

But all my other novels - before Freya - I wrote at a rate of five thousand words every day for around twenty days, at the end of which I'd have a 100k manuscript - and feel wrecked. Then I leave it for a while and come back a month or so later and edit, cut, rewrite. --Eric Brown

I try to write every day. I do that much better over here than when I'm teaching. I always rewrite, usually fairly close-on which is to say first draft, then put it aside for 24 hours then more drafts. --Marilyn Hacker

To this day, I get rewrite offers where they say: 'We feel this script needs work with character, dialogue, plot and tone,' and when you ask what's left, they say: 'Well, the typing is very good.' --John Sayles

“The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the pshche, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego.” --Carl Jung

“Poetry is going on all the time inside, an underground stream. One can let down one’s bucket and bring the poem up.” -- John Ashbery

“ I always use what remains of my dreams of the night before.” --Eugene Ionesco

“ Many characters have come to me…in a dream, and then I’ll elaborate from there.” --John Burroughs

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. --Mark Twain

Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public. –Winston Churchill

Our admiration of fine writing will always be in proportion to its real difficulty and its apparent ease. –Charles Caleb ColtonWriting is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. –Gloria Steinem

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. –Jules Renard

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. –Jules Renard

Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing. –Norman Mailer

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. –Gene Fowler

Writing an informative yet compact thriller is a lot like making maple sugar candy. You have to tap hundreds of trees - boil vats and vats of raw sap - evaporate the water - and keep boiling until you've distilled a tiny nugget that encapsulates the essence. –Dan Brown

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. –Gustave Flaubert

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary. –Jessamyn West

If you are writing about baloney, don't try and make it Cornish hen, because that's the worst kind of baloney there is. Just make it darn good baloney. –Leo Burnett

Writing a novel is like making love, but it's also like having a tooth pulled. Pleasure and pain. Sometimes it's like making love while having a tooth pulled. –Dean Koontz

Hard writing makes easy reading. –Wallace Stegner

To me, all writing is like music. And especially dialogue. I studied music in college; that is what I wanted to be, a composer. Acting got me sidetracked. –Dirk Benedict

Writing is manual labor of the mind: a job, like laying pipe. –John Gregory Dunne

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. –Sharon O'Brien

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. –William Strunk, Jr

Now the writing in the head, I definitely do every day, thinking about how I want to phrase something or how I'd like to rephrase something I've already written. –Stanley Crouch

Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It's one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period. –Nicholas Sparks

"I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better." –A. J. Liebling

Ouch review…"This book fills a much‑needed gap." –Moses Hadas

Ouch review…"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book ‑ I'll waste no time reading it." –Moses Hadas Ouch review…"I have read your book and much like it." – Moses Hadas

Ouch reviews…"The covers of this book are too far apart." –Ambrose Bierce

Memorable quotes by writers about writing

Collected by Keith Drury,
Associate Professor, Indiana Wesleyan University

Monday, November 05, 2007

100 books to read

This post is also located in nicer format here

Indiana Wesleyan University Religion Department

Recommended Reading List , Fall 2007

Procedure in compiling this list. In the fall of 2006 Religion Professors were asked by student Jason Farrell to recommend books all graduates should have read or should read in their early years of ministry. Professors could list any number of books they desired to list. A combined list of books was produced that year. In the fall of 2007 William Shelor took up the list again. With assistance from Michael Berens and Keith Drury as advisor Will took that combined list to 17 of the 19 religion professors at the time (the group included Steve Lennox, Dean of the chapel and Bud Bence, VPAA). The 17 professors were given the entire list of books and asked to assign 30 points to various books on the list showing their preferences for reading these books (maximum 3 points per book). The results were collected and the values were compiled to produce this list.

Title Author Number of Points

5-Star Books
Foster, Richard Celebration of Discipline 29
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich The Cost of Discipleship 25.5
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity 19.5
Brother Lawrence Practicing the Presence of God 15.5
Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Return of the Prodigal Son 15
Outler, Albert C. John Wesley's Sermons 14
Tozer, A. W. The Pursuit of God 14
Augustine of Hippio The Confessions 11.5
Barth, Karl Dogmatics in Outline 11
Chambers, Oswald My Utmost for His Highest 11
Niebuhr, H. Richard Christ and Culture 11

4-Star Books
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Life Together 9.5
Collins, Kenneth A Real Christian- The Life of John Wesley 9.5
Phillips, J. B. Your God is Too Small 9.5
Kempis, Thomas a The Imitation of Christ 9
Dayton, Donald Discovering an Evangelical Heratige 7.5
Drury, Keith There is no I in Church 7.5
Smith, Hannah Whitall The Christian Secret of a Happy Life 7.5
Bounds, E. M. Power through Prayer 7
Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Road to Daybreak 7
Wesley, John The Journal of John Wesley 7
Chesterton, G. K. Orthodoxy 6.5
Law, William A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life 6.5
Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters 6.5

3-Star Books
Bunyan, John The Pilgrim's Progress 6
Luther, Martin The Bondage of the Will 6
Packer, J.I. Knowing God 6
Calvin, John Institutes of the Christian Religion 5.5
Gonzales, Justo L. The History of the Church 5.5
Kierkegaard, Soren Fear and Trembling 5.5
Lewis, C. S. Miracles 5.5
Peterson, Eugene A Long Obedience in the Same Direction 5.5
Willard, Dallas The Spirit of the Disciplines 5.5
Athanasius Treatise on the Incarnation 5
Edwards, Gene A Tale of Three Kings: A Study in Brokenness 5
Taylor, Richard The Disciplined Life 5
Trueblood, D. Elton Company of the Committed 5
Willard, Dallas The Divine Conspiracy 5
Bruegermann, Walter Theology of the Old Testament 4.5
Hauerwas, Stanley Resident Aliens 4.5
King, Martin Luther Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail 4.5
Lewis, C. S. The Great Divorce 4.5
Lewis, C. S. A Grief Observed 4.5
Lewis, C. S. The Problem of Pain 4.5
Pascal, Blaise Pensees 4.5
Sheldon, Charles M. In His Steps 4.5

2-Star Books
Baillie, John A Diary of Private Prayer 4
Finney, Charles G Lectures on Revival 4
John of the Cross Dark Night of the Soul 4
Tozer, A. W. A Treasury of A. W. Tozer 4
Wesley, Charles A song for the Poor: Hymns by Charles Wesley 4
Lewis, C. S. The Chronicles of Narnia 3.5
Stott, John Christian Basics: Invitation to Discipleship 3.5
Anonymous The Way of a Pilgrim 3
Bruce, A. B. The Training of the Twelve 3
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor The Brother Karamazov 3
Ignatius of Loyola The Spiritual Exercises 3
MacDonald, George The Gifts of the Child Christ 3
Marshall, Catherine Something More 3
Nee, Watchman The Normal Christian Life 3
Spurgeon, Charles Morning by Morning 3
Peterson, Eugene Eat This Book 3
Tozer, A. W. Knowledge of the Holy 3
The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church 3
1 star books
Drury, Keith With Unveiled Faces 2.5
Kierkegaard, Soren Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing 2.5
Paton, Alan Cry the Beloved Country 2.5
Taylor, Jeremy Holy Living and Holy Dying 2.5
Bettenson, Henry Documents of the Christian Church 2
Gonzales, Justo L. Essential Theological Terms 2
MacDonald, George Discovering the Character of God 2
MacDonald, Gordon Ordering your Private World 2
Milton, John Paradise Lost/Paradise Regained 2
Murray, Andrew With Christ in the School of Prayer 2
Andrews, Lancelot Private Devotions 2
Augustine The Enchiridion 2
Emil Brunnen The Mediator 2
Hugo, Victor Les Miserables 2
John of Damascus On the Orthodox Faith 2
Nanzianzas, Gregory 5 Theological Orations 2
Hauerwas, Stanley Theology Without Foundations 1.5
Jones, E. Stanley The Christ of Every Road 1.5
Buttrick, George Prayer 1
Chesterton, G. K. Poetry 1
Chrysostom, John On the Priesthood 1
Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy 1
Day, Dorothy The Long Loneliness 1
Edwards, Jonathan A Treatise on Religious Affections 1
Edwards, Jonathan The End for which God Created the Earth 1
Luther, Martin Freedom of a Christian 1
Merton, Thomas The Sign of Jonas 1
Murray, Andrew Abide in Christ 1
Schaeffer, Francis True Spirituality 1
Schleiermacher, Friedrich Speeches on Religion to its Cultured Despisers 1
Staff, Frank Polarities of Human Existance in Biblical Perspective 1
Bainton, Roland There I stand 1
Chesterton, G. K. Francis of Assisi 1
Cyprian On the Unity of the Church 1
Dayton, Donald Theological Roots of Pentecostalism 1
Platcher, William Callings 1

Ideas for future iterations of this list. A future student might consider using these results to have each professor re-rate the books on the list. For instance, two professors have already remarked, “Celebration of Discipline is a good book, but of all the books a student might read perhaps should not be at the very top of the list.” A future re-rating by professors may improve this sort of valuing.

FOR COMMENTING..... what book would YOU add?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Midterm hump

I'm doing midterms... papers and exams... grading them, that is.

I like midterm.
It is like Wednesdays...
Hump day.

From here on it is counting DOWN to Christmas...

As for my courses...

LCE is very impressive... what hard workers these students are!!!

CLPL has insightful students... they just did their church planting proposals... I wrote about it in my column this week

TEACHING THE BIBLE TO ADULTS is a first time new course... 90% eager beavers in there... man, in one week they did what I was hoping to get done in 3 (bot don't tell them that!)

PRACTICUMS are going good--except I have a ton of grading to do on them this coming week.

AS FOR FALL BREAK... Sharon and I are headed south in Indiana... reading and resting and snuggling in front of a fireplace.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm Swamped

If you have sent an email to me and not heard back it is because I'm swamped. It happens every fall so it is not new, but somehow I always feel surprised by it anyway. I've got a stack of grading to do and this weekend is already committed to paper-grading, and my schedule of appointments with students (posted on my door) is jammed... I feel "trapped" by a trap of my own making...

When I get swamped like this I usually go through several stages:

1. Work faster. I try to work my way back above water first. That always fails eventually.
2. Work slower. Then I get depressed and do nothing for a while--which makes matters worse.

3. Kill stuff. Finally I see the house burning down and I act-- I cancel engagements, do a sloppy job of giving feedback on papers, delete all the email in the in-box and just don't show up to committees.

4. Fresh start. After all that I pretend I am caught up even though I actually just buried the overload.

I'm at stage 2 today.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

What I'm teaching this Fall

I'm coaching several repeat courses and two new courses this fall.

1. Local church Education. My best course and the one I always love the most. I've got about 30 sophomores in this course and they are impressive. We focus on the Spiritual Formation of the congregation as a whole and the students "write a book" in the course. Every time I've taught it it has been my favorite. It is a five-hour course in loading since there are two practicum sections beyond the course that go along with the course.

2. Church Leadership. Graduates always write back to tell me this is actually my best course. I never feel that way. It is packed with the practical stuff of leading, administration and management in the church. I always dislike having to 'tell them the truth" about how "real life" operates and I dread the crestfallen looks and sighs when students who live in dorms supported by loans and family find out what real life in a real local church is going to be like. But I stick to it since I get so many responses after they're in the local church. I have about 25 in this course. It too has a practicum so it is another 5-hour course for me.

3. Teaching the Bible to Adults. This is a brand new course cross-listed as either a Bible course or a CE course... I have 16 in this evening course and they are awesome--it could compete with LCE as my favorite this semester. It replaces the old Adult Education course and includes some of that content but more geared to Bible teaching.

4. UNV180 Breakout. I offered to lead a UNV180 breakout if it was filled with REL students--so I could build relationships with frosh right off the bat. My section is at 3:30 Friday, which is a checkoutville time slot... but as it turned out the group is not all REL students after all, so I'm doing this one out of duty and for the last time probably.

IWU: a Premier Academic Institution?

“If Indiana Wesleyan University Were a Premier Institution,
What Would It Look Like? “

I have been asked to answer the question, “If IWU were a premier institution, what would it look like?” I have chosen to describe what a premier institution would be academically—since this is, after all, the faculty asking this question. There are other areas for excellence, but I shall focus in this short address on being premier academically.

Here is what I predict. By saying “predict” I mean that I fully expect these things to happen. The die is cast. Our sails are already set. IWU will become a premier institution during the next ten years. Some faculty will be dragged along kicking and screaming. Others will feel out of place and will go underground, or go elsewhere. But, I fully believe that within ten years we will be considered a premier academic institution not just by our peers in the CCCU but in the larger academy and beyond. Here are my five predictions:

1. We will increasingly become a reading faculty

• We will not only be constantly reading to keep current in our own field but we will become voracious readers in other fields as we become the renaissance women and men who are examples of integrating ideas from all fields into our own discipline. The liberal arts will be more than a few courses in the general education requirements—it will pervade the curriculum.
• Faculty reading groups will continue to spread over our campus during the next ten years so that virtually every faculty member will be in at least once of the cross-discipline groups every year.
• The real test of this reading faculty will be this: When a future IWU faculty member completes a dissertation virtually every member of that person’s division will read their dissertation—because they are interested in the findings and do not make light of dissertations as if they are meaningless hoops to jump through.
• In the very near future our faculty will schedule reading days on their door just like they now offer student appointments. When students see faculty in their office reading a book and will never say, “I see you’re not busy-can we talk.” They will know that this is our work.

2. We will increasingly become a presenting faculty

• IWU faculty will start showing up in force at conferences and conventions. Rather than one delegate (or, sometimes none) we will send three and eventually a dozen. We will start overrunning some conferences—IWU faculty will be everywhere. Rather than our absence being noticed, they will notice our presence. We cannot expect to present if we are not present.
• This mass of faculty will attend scores of presentations. We will sometimes walk away delightfully challenged. At other times we will leave knowing we could have done better, and we will make several proposals for the next year and the excellent work we are not kidding under the bushel will come out on the open to the benefit of others.
• With an army of bright (and increasingly young) IWU faculty at conferences other institutions will begin to take notice. Presidents will try to recruit our best faculty away and they will get some of course. But the process is reversible too—we will recruit all kinds of sharp faculty from other institutions who want to be a part of the ethos of IWU. Properly planned conference attendance will become our best means of faculty recruitment.
• Within a half decade IWU faculty will begin rising to lead many of these conferences sponsoring many here on our campus.
• In ten years the IWU faculty will be widely known for its interesting, well prepared, provocative presentations. Old-timers like you will then be telling stories about how we once actually only had $400 a year to attend conferences!

3. We will increasingly become a writing faculty

• By 2017 there will be a virtual flood of writing coming from the IWU faculty. Our faculty will be publishing textbooks, readers, teaching strategies, instructional videos and scores of articles in professional journals. It is already started. Just watch as it escalates!
• Our faculty will become the editors of some professional journals and IWU will found several new journals where there are gaps now.
• In ten years when you open a textbook written collaboratively that there will almost always be one member of the IWU faculty represented.
• Yet, with all this academic writing we will not ignore the common person in our fields—we will also continue to produce popular writers who will stand on solid academic research and “translate” it for average readers—pastors, nurses, business leaders, or educators. In the future when our students go into hospitals, schools systems or local churches they will meet people who have already read the popular and helpful books by the faculty they studied with the last four years.

4. We will become a researching faculty

• Of course, to do the writing above we will have to do our research, but in the next ten years we will increasingly become a place where significant research happens that contributes to our fields. All of us may not do this kind of top-drawer research but some of us will and we all will be known for the work of these researchers among us.
• But our students will do research too. When faculty are constantly asking questions and constantly wondering about the relationship things they infect their students with curiosity. Curious students will want to research what their faculty are wondering about. In ten years our students will be doing research more advanced than anything our faculty are doing today—just watch!

5. We will increasingly practice faculty scholarship-as-the-whole

• However, to make IWU a lively haven for the life of the mind we will have to move beyond the individual scholarship mentioned above into collective scholarship-as-a-whole… the scholarship of the gathered faculty. Soon we will not be satisfied with faculty meetings to hear progress reports and gather information about policies but we will have faculty gatherings typified by thoughtful presentations, serious deliberative discussions, heated yet temperate debate, pondering various positions, asking penetrating questions, and making up our minds on substantive issues. If a student slips into a faculty meeting of the future they would not see children being lectured or informed, but a family of adult scholars deliberating on serious issues.
• We will see a parade of celebrated scholars coming to deliver lectures on our campus as we are already seeing sponsored by Dr. Pattengale’s office and the Honors College. A large number of faculty will turn out to listen and respond, not just a few. We will attend because we have entered fully the life of thinking and learning—the very life we wish to replicate in our students.
• Students will daily see faculty members eating lunch together in Baldwin as they argue about politics, academics, learning theories, or theology. Neighboring tables of students will end their chatter as a hush falls over their table as they listen in. they will be inspired to read and think and explore—like their faculty members do at lunch.
• While faculty retreats will probably still offer getting-to-know-you type games and other youth retreat activities increasingly they will become venues for serious academic presentations. Our late-night sessions will be typified by deep and significant discussions about global issues. We will play together but we will increasingly think together. “Building relationships” does not have to be shallow—the deepest relationships are often built around the interchange of great academic ideas.
• All this will attract new bright faculty members who will want to be a part of the kind of learning community we are becoming here. They will be attracted to IWU more for this academic ethos than the 90th percentile CCCU salaries which we will no doubt have in 10 years.

These are my five predictions. They will happen but we can slow them down or hurry them along. How can we hurry them along?

Prioritizing the Life of the Mind at IWU

Primarily, we will have to make time for the life of the mind. This is already happening—we just need to hurry it along. Here is how we’ll make time for the life of the mind.

We will increasingly schedule time for reading and writing and attending lectures. We’ll schedule it because we value it. And we will not feel guilty about our temporary unavailability for student chats about dating life or frustrations with their mother.

We will have to quit teaching so many overloads. We have already passed a sense-of-the-body resolution stating our intention of significantly curtailing overloads when the administration initiated a significant salary increase. Our President said these two are related so in our resolution we sort of said, “You first.” Well, the administration did go first, and has initiated a three-year phase in of a significant salary adjustment. Now it is incumbent upon us to reply in kind—phasing in over the coming three years some sort of self-limiting overload policy during the regular semesters to free up time to read and write and present and to practice the life of the mind.

We will have to use our summers. Our contracts read from the end of August to the end of April—but to become a premier institution we will have to quit taking four months off. Summers will have to increasingly become a time for scholarship—especially writing.

We will have to cease our self-talk about busy-ness. We have gotten hooked on the frantic life. We have too often excused ourselves from hard academic work while pleading the hopeless frantic pace of our institution. But, we are changing—I can see it. We need to simply do what we value. As we value scholarship we will make time for it. We will quit hypnotizing each other into believing we are too busy to read and write and present and practice scholarship. If we are too busy to write we are too busy. We always have time to do what we want to do.

Of course, we’ll need money. While money is mostly in the administration’s court, the faculty must be ready with an aggressive plan to spend more cash with better stewardship. More money for conferences or released time for writing or a sabbatical is not a job perk. We must leverage this money and time for greater contribution to our constituency and the academy—it is simply part of our job.

As for our students we will bring greater academic rigor to our classrooms. We will quit complaining about the fun and game atmosphere in residence halls and simply assign the kind of work that will remind our students quickly that they are in college and not attending a year round youth camp. ( Such an informal initiative is already under way by some faculty with the recent “Academic Rigor Weeks Initiative” where students are imprinted in the first two weeks of a semester with the importance of academic pursuits by a) requiring one entire book be read, b)one major test to be taken and 3) using a significant amount of small group work inside and outside of class so that primary relationships can be developed in an academic setting pursuing learning not just building cardboard boats. These kind of bottom-up initiatives will sprout up every year as the academic ethos changes over the next ten years

These are my predictions. None are really radical or extravagant. If anything they are the moderate extending of the lines begun in the last few years. Imply predictions.

I started teaching as an adjunct at IWU in 1974. I’ve seen lots of changes—most of them could never have been dreamed of ten years before. These are predictions not hopes or goals but they are a straight line extension of trends in the last two years. The momentum is already with this future. If you don’t want to read, write or think you’ll want to hide soon! However, if you hunger for a greater life of the mind IWU is going to be one exciting place over the next ten years!

Keith Drury, IWU Professor of Religion IWU Faculty retreat, August 27, 2007, Invited Essay for Full Faculty

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Year's end writing inventory

My Year in Writing
2006-2007 School Year

Some of my Tuesday Column readers don’t know that it is my practice writing... most past students know that. To me, writing is like playing the piano—one gets better by practice. When you read my columns here (or on one of my other blogs) ..when people read my Tuesday Column or blogs they are peeking into my practice room. I make mistakes, write and revise even after they are posted. I’m often simply “doing runs” to keep my writing fingers nimble. All this is practice is for my serious “concert performance” –writing for books and curriculum.

I’ve just wrapped up another year of writing (September through August). I’ve completed my own inventory of the year’s writing and publishing and it is here I do an annual inventory mostly to keep myself motivated, like looking back at the grass you’ve already cut to know you’re getting something done. I know some budding writers read this column so I’m also being accountable to you. So, in case you are still reading this, here are some of the “concerts” I’ve written or published this year:
(the original inventory has books pictured --it is located here

1. Walking the Trail of Death
Published summer ‘07. During the spring I finished up my journal of last summer’s walk from Indiana to Kansas. It is a recounting of the story of the original journey of the "removal" of the Potawatomi Indians from Indiana to Kansas while blending in my own story as a white man’s re-tracing every foot of the 660 mile journey—I was the first white man to do so since 1838. Studying the original journals and letters as I walked, and often sleeping at their actual campsites I pondered larger issues of injustice, sin, restitution, and penance. I didn’t think this book was good enough to publish the regular route so I self-published it through and it is available there if you want to know what I did last summer—click the picture to see the Lulu page.

2. Knowing God
This neat booklet came out this year. My publisher has a cool series for churches to hand out to people—sort of “evangelistic tracts” but done with real class—something you’d be proud to give a friend, not those cheap newsprint tracts that holler at unbelievers with a turn-or-burn style. Writing an easy-going friendly pocket booklet that would nudge an unbeliever toward God without beating them over the head was a cool challenge. I had a manuscript from 21 years ago that was still sitting in “inventory” so I got it out and reworked it for this booklet. My friend Chris Bounds was not real happy with it (it was too Quaker-ish for him) but no matter, I was happy with it, the publisher was happy, and the churches who are buying them in quantity seem happy so here it is—“what is written is written.”

3. Listening to God through Romans
This was a typical “writing assignment” someone gets who is faithful to do what the Publisher asks, does it fairly well, and delivers the manuscript on time. The project is part of a new series of Bible studies designed along the lectio divina format and I enjoyed writing it. Romans came out last summer and missed my last year’s inventory list. Of course, I’m not a Bible expert, let alone a Romans expert. What I did was go to lunch with Ken Schenck (who is both a Bible expert and a Romans expert) for several weeks and pulled his trigger and let him talk for an hour while I scribbled furiously. Then I went and wrote that week’s assignment and scheduled another lunch before writing the next one. So blame Schenck for anything you don’t like in there and thank me for whatever you agree with ;-) Lectio Divina is a sort of fad in Bible study recently so if you are into Bible studies you might like this. It came out this year.

4. D-Series: Baptism and Communion
This was a fun write… part of a new discipleship series coming out by my publisher. About 7500 words… four “lessons.” I like curriculum writing. They tell you exactly what to write (e.g. “a 5-7 word title followed by 125-150 word introduction” or “50-175 word “to think about” paragraph” etc.) This sort of writing is “writing on demand.” You sit down and follow the directions… your “creativity” comes is in the way you write things, not in the design or format—that’s already done and you are expected to rigidly follow the format. This will be published in this coming year.

5. Light From the Word
Another write-on-demand assignment—a week’s worth of devotionals, all very short. The hard part of this kind of writing is writing so few words (only about 200-250 a day) and packing in something to “haunt” the reader all day (who often reads this in the morning during…well, in the morning). I enjoy this sort of writing and “my week” in Light from the Word will appear this coming December 13-19. (It will also appear online here)

6. Chapter—Classic Holiness Writings
Jeremy Summers and some other emerging ministers are putting together a book like Foster’s, only of classic holiness writings. I had William Law in this book and selected a section from Law’s A serious Call to a devout and Holy Life and wrote a short introduction to it. This was an easy assignment but it will be a neat book (Wesleyan Publishing House—this coming year). I forget the name of the book, but I’ll mention it when it comes out.

7. Chapter 3: the Church Jesus Builds
Wesleyan educators (VIA Kerry Kind, head of education for Wesleyans) and the Wesleyan Publishing House do one book a year written by Wesleyan educators to help and support pastors. Joe Coleson edits them (Nazarene Theological seminary). The first book focused on preaching. This second one was on ecclesiology and it came out this year. I did chapter 3 in this book—The Church is Holy. This is a neat book…and after the disastrous tragedy of Barna’s Revolution, a good ecclesiology cannot come too soon. It is now available, though I wrote my chapter last summer.

8. Chapter: new Holiness book
Part of the same series as above—this one comes out June ’08 in time for General Conference and the related colloquium on holiness at that time. Done by Wesleyan educators, I wrote the chapter this summer on Receiving holiness in this book.

9. Chapter: new Worship book.
A group of evangelical Worship educators are putting together this book that will be published by Abingdon this October under the title The Message in the Music(Amazon page). This book is edited by Robert H. Woods & Brian D. Walrath (Spring Arbor). It takes the most popular songs used in worship today (from CCLI license data) and asks what these teach. I wrote chapter 3 in this book— I’m Desperate for You: Male Perception of Romantic Lyrics in Contemporary Worship Music. With a qualitative study of young adult males, I studied how contemporary “love songs to Jesus” come across to young adult males. My chapter follows a wonderful chapter (I wish I had written it!) by Jenell Williams Paris on how worship songs tend to follow the model of God as the “leading man” and humans as the “leading lady,” all consummated by God scooping up the worshipper and “riding off together into the sunset.” When I read Janell’s chapter I gave up and tried to get out of this assignment…she said everything I wanted to say. However, Robert Woods suggested I test the effect on young adult males so I did the qualitative study. This book will rock the worship world when it arrives.

10. New book: Common Ground—where all Christians agree
My major writing this year has focused on this new book. I spent most every week writing on this new book (about 12 hours per week) and turned in draft 16 in August. It focuses on the unified doctrines that all Christians at all times and in places agree on—the Apostle’s Creed. Last year I read and researched all year and I did the writing this year. While it won’t come out for another year the writing is done. Now the editor does his work and the publisher decides what to call it and designs the cover etc. I’ll have to go over the edits and galleys through this coming year but the hardest work is done on this one now. It should be out by next summer. I’m really happy with it. It may be the most important book I’ve written (which doesn’t automatically transfer to making it the best selling, of course). I’ll keep you posted on its progress.

Well, I think that wraps up another year of writing. Of course it is not may “day job.” I do writing on the side… mostly from time I save from not watching TV, raising children or having any hobbies and free time through the school year. That is why I don’t write the Tuesday Column in the summers. I need summers to waste going backpacking, watching movies and fiddling around in my garage and garden. Summer is about to close and playtime is over… thus this inventory of the last years writing and publishing… now its time to get back to work.
--Keith Drury
August, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Paul & Brooke Kind Wedding Sermon

Lasting love

Paul and Brooke, from the beginning of scripture God has had plenty to say about the union of a man and woman in marriage. Marriage was established by God and God blesses marriage. Later on in this ceremony as your minister I will bless your marriage… Your parents have already blessed it and the entire body of friends and relatives have traveled here today to bless your marriage. Most of all in this ceremony today though, we will ask GOD to bless your union of love. It is love that will keep you together.

Back in 1975 when I was only married a half dozen years or so the number one hit song was by the Captain and Tennille “Love will keep us together.” They were right—it is love that will keeps your marriage together. But, what kind of love? That is my first question--what sort of love will keep you together?

It is not just chemistry-love. Recent science has shown there really is a chemical reaction in people “in love.” The chemical is adrenaline. It gives a jolt, a high, and makes the heart speed up and flutter. However. those same studies show that after about a year and a half the adrenaline quits spiking—what then? This kind of infatuation we call “Romantic love” or “puppy love” Lasting love is more than this chemical reaction producing attraction or desire. Passion passes—at least this initial kind of passion. Love is more than passionate feelings. So, what kind of love will keep you together all your lives.

The answer is in the Bible, but first, let's consider some lines from “The Fiddler on the Roof” on the same subject. I’m sure you recall the story of the philosophical Russian milkman Tevya. Times were changing and that affected Tevya’s Jewish family traditions. Rather than using the traditional matchmaker’s arrangements, young people were now getting married out of love, including Tevya’s own daughters. It was a new idea—marrying out of love. The notion challenges Tevya and causes him to reflect on his own marriage.

One day Tevya asks his wife, “Golda, do you love me?”
Golda replies: “Do I what?”
T: “Do you love me?”
G: “Do I love you? With our daughters getting married and this trouble in the town, you’re upset, you’re worn out, go inside, go lie down, maybe its indigestion.”
T: “Oh, No Golda, “I’m asking you a question. Do you love me?”
G: “You’re a fool.”
T: “I know, but do you love me?”
G: “Do I love you? Well . . For twenty-five years I washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked your cow. After twenty-five years why talk about love right now?”
T: “Golda, the first time I met you it was on our wedding day. I was scared.”
G: “I was shy.”
T:“I was nervous.”
G: “So was I.”
T: “But my father and mother said we’d learn to love each other and now I’m asking, Golda, ‘Do you love me?’”
G: “I’m your wife.”
T: “I know, but do you love me?”
G: “Do I love him? For twenty five years I lived with him, fought with him, starved with him, twenty-five years my bed is his, If that’s not love, what is?”
T: “Then you love me.”
G: “I suppose I do.”
T: “And I suppose I love you too. It doesn’t change a thing, but even so, after twenty-five years it’s nice to know.”
Golda’s kind of love is often dismissed by today’s feeling oriented, adrenaline-addicted world. We think she needs a lesson in loving. But Golda was actually closer to the Bible’s view of love than we think. IN the Bible loving is action. It is put this way in 1 Corinthians 13…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-6)

The Bible agrees with Golda’s view: love is more than a feeling—it is action. Love is a commitment to act lovingly. Love might begin with feelings of attraction and pulsating bursts of adrenaline but it continues by commitment and loving actions. Lasting love involves making meals, washing the dishes, repairing the car and taking out the garbage. It has periods of passion but it also sometimes has periods of routine. Marital love of the lasting variety is a commitment to love another person in this way for life. The way you will put that in the vows you wrote to say in a moment is, “wherever our journey takes us; in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; as long as we both shall live.”

Too many believe romantic love automatically brings the lasting kind of love the Bible speaks of. It opens the doorway to it, but does not make it happen automatically. Lasting love requires work. And it works only as you work it. Real love takes effort.

Paul and Brooke, we pray that you will work at being patient and kind, not being envious or rude or arrogant. We pray you will daily work to not insist on your own way, to not to be irritable or resentful. Some days you will have to work harder than others, but we pray you will make this Job #1 for the rest of your lives.
This kind of love—lasting love—will keep you together in the future. Your commitment today is not just about your past or present feelings. It is a commitment to action in the future—a commitment to work at really loving and to keep doing those kinds of things wherever your journey takes you. That is my first point: today you are committing to working at loving --really loving, the lasting kind of love that will keep you together...and keep working at it throughout all your entire lives.

My second point is to remind you where you will get this kind of love. There is only one way to have a marriage made in heaven. That is to draw on God’s power for loving. God is the Source of lasting love. Your love for each other—real love—is but a reflection of God’s great love for each of you. The writer of I John said it this way: My dear friends, let us love one another,because the source of love is God.This is what love really is: not that we have loved God,but that God loved us first.

Your love is not self-created—not real love. Real lasting love comes from God who first loved us—with real love, of the lasting variety. The vows you exchange today are not just between the two of you, or even between you, the state, and this gathered group. You have made God a witness and your view are made in the presence of the God who will enble you to keep on loving.

All of us here today want you to be more in love in ten and 20 and 40 years from now than you are today The Captain and Tennille still are together in their 60’s… and they are still singing love songs to each other (though I don’t expect people under to 40 to know this). We here expect Godly love—the lasting kind—to be even more true of you, Paul and Brooke in the future as your love grows. We know you are committed not only to each other but to God the Source of lasting love. This is the kind of loving marriage God blesses. Your lifelong commitment tis what we come here today to bless along with God.

Paul and Brooke… we all love you. And our prayer for you today and throughout your marriage is found in Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 3: 12
"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you."

Keith Drury
August 10, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Family update

A bit of family news from my family this summer:

Dave is now executive pastor at College Wesleyan in Marion. They are living in a rental while they build a new house. We'll get to see Dave and Kathy (and their kids--Max, Karina and Lauren) more now.

John and Mandy are pregnant with a little boy, due just before Christmas. Both of them are now in the PhD program at Princeton--he is in theology she is in youth ministry.

Sharon loves he new "dream job" teaching in the doctoral program in leadership at IWU...and to boot she has most of July and August off... which is why we're heading our next week for a hundred miles of hiking on the Colorado Trail before school starts again.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bourne made me sick

The Bourne Ultimatum made me sick—literally. It was a great movie I think--but the hand-held herky-jerky camera style and the constant out-of-focus panning of the camera r(especially during the action shots--which are 95% of the movie) was actually nauseating to me—I almost used the popcorn bag as an air sickness bag. I sat too far up front for this movie. I finally had to start closing my eyes periodically to get reoriented (which made me realize there was virtually no dialogue to listen to).

If you go to Bourne show up early and get seats in the back row if you have any tendencies at all to get carsick. Or maybe take a Dramamine before you show up.

If they do a Bourne IV I hope they drop the Buffy-style camera work… I want to watch Bourne be disoriented, not get disoriented myself!

After the movie I started the book which I got for my birthday from my son, John... and the book is superb. Indeed, the plot of the whole series is great--I discover "who I am'" from looking to the past... "identity is found in memory." What a great truth for the "holiness movement" who has apparently gone through a similar experience as Bourne. Great book. I bet I would have loved the movie more if I had sat in the back seat.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wind River Mountains

I just returned last night from a week of backpacking in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, on the Continental Divide Trail. What a grand hike it was. I walked with two great hiking companions: Burt Webb is a biology prof here at IWU and has hiked with me almost every summer somewhere or another for a week—he is the guy who often just shows up and joins me for a week somewhere along the trail so we are long time hiking friends. Also along this time was Mason, Burt’s son who is in High School. Mason had pity on my old age and carried 6 pounds of my weight for me which made the trek much easier for me (and also made him wait less time for me to catch up at the tops of high mountains passes!).

We started at the Big Sandy Trailhead at the Southern end of the Winds and spent almost all of our time above the timberline, which in the Wind River Mountains is often below 10,000 feet. The Winds give that High Sierra feeling without having to go much above 11,000’ so we had no elevation sickness this time.

We followed various trails (mostly the Highline Trail and the Freemont Trail) which the CDT is proposed to follow some day when the CDT actually becomes the CDT. The only evidence of the CDT we actually found was a tiny CDT carved into one of the signs by a thru-hiker though. The Continental Divide Trail is still a concept in many places—a trail-to-become. But with Mason’s good map-reading and trail-finding skills we only got “lost” a few times. On one of these “lost” episodes we “simply followed a creek” to where we were supposed to be—which meant scaling a 40’ high wall which brought back memories of my 1960’s rock-climbing days—but Burt scrambled up declaring it was a “piece of cake’ so I dutifully followed (it was only a 5.6 or 5.7 cliff BUT it dropped directly into a raging river rapids at the bottom which made it seem worse.) Burt was right—and we got back on the trail again.

We saw a bunch of wildlife including moose but no actual bears, (though we saw their tracks and hung our food each night). The biggest joy for me was hiking above timberline so much—I love high mountains. Of course, since the snowmelt was right at its end the Mosquitoes were right at their zenith.

After the Winds we entered a section of more conventional CDT running up toward Yellowstone. I was less excited about this section of CDT—it was more like much of the CDT I’ve already experienced—which is “Where’s the Trail?” hiking—we traversed miles and miles of open sagebrush with nary a sign or path (can YOU find the path in after clicking this picture?). That’s bugs me about the CDT…somehow I prefer hiking a trail that is an actual trail not merely a “route.”
When we got to the big re-supply city in the area (Dubois, Wyoming population 991) on Tuesday we ate a huge breakfast then thumbed for a few hours before a guy let us ride in the back of his pickup over the mountains three hours to the Jackson Hole airport where we rented a car for a day (and the 300 mile round trip) back to our car at the south end of the Winds. Hitching all the way back to our car was not likely since we had parked it at a dead end dirt road several hours up in remote mountain. We got the car and Burt and Mason followed me back to the airport to drop off the one-day rental then drive the 1500 miles back to Indiana with happy memories of the Wind River Mountains.

The Thru-hikers on the CDT consider the Winds the highlight of the CDT (like the PCT hikers consider the High Sierras the highlight of that trail). So I have cherry-picked the CDT now—the Colorado section and the Winds are the brightest “Cherries” on the CDT tree (which has plenty of barren branches).

I had three goals for this hike. 1)To enjoy Burt and Mason’s company—hiking with people you like makes a hike good (accomplished: Burt is always a pleasant companion and Mason is an unusually likable and mature teenager and he took all these pictures too). 2) Finish the Wind River range, considered one of the “ten best hikes in America (Accomplished and I agree-they are equivalent to the High Sierras, in some ways better) 3)Decide if I want to consider hiking the whole CDT (Accomplished: I do not want to do the CDT except the cherry-picking areas like the Winds and Colorado. I’ve decided to cherry-pick the best hiking sections of trails until I’m 70.

Next week Sharon and I are going to Hawaii for the rest of the month. Then in August we’re both going to join Phil Woodbury and Kerry Kind for a week on the CDT in Colorado (Salida to Creede) then back to school.

Next year I will probably return and do the Wind River Mountains over again, this time with Sharon and we’ll walk slower. Now I’m feeling that we did too many 20+ mile days this time—Sharon and I will do 10-12 mile days next summer I think, and take time to drink in more of the views, and cook delicious meals—I “ate shakes” this time and didn’t cook. We’ll enjoy cooking again I think, though we’ll have to do that away from camp due to the bears.

I’ve got the “triple crown” off my back now. I do not plan to add the CDT to the AT and PCT. Rather, I’ll return to the “best hikes in America” list and finish that off. I still want to do the “cross the Great Divide” in the Canadian Rockies near Banff. And there is that section of the Superior Trail I need to get under my belt too. As far as the Appalachian Trail I already did a re-hike of all of New Hampshire with Phil, Josh Jackson and Justin Johnson a few years ago though I need to return and do the Kathdin section with Sharon some time soon. I’d like to return to the High Sierras and do the John Muir section of the PCT again, along with doing the Cascades again in snow (Canada south thru Northern Washington state—the section I did with Mark and Rudy). And there are some trails in South America to do, and Sharon has been wanting to do the West Highland Way in Scotland—so I might do that again with her this time.

A new factor for me is Sharon’s now job teaching in the Doctoral program where she gets July and August off each year. She is not a long distance hiker (though she did one hike of 1000 miles with me on the AT). Now, she prefers a week at a time—and I find that at the same time I am now preferring that length hike too—just a hundred miles or so at a whack. So I’m gonna’ make a new list and pick all the cherries I can until I’m 70. What then? Well, there’s always canoeing and kayaking—you can do that until you’re 90!
Great Hike Burt & Mason--thanks for being such good hiking companions!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Back from Turkey

I'm Back from Turkey now where I wandered Paul's missionary journeys and the sites of the first seven councils of the church with my two sins, Dave and John. Our bags never arrived so we did the trip with our carry-on stuff and no sleeping bags. After 3000 Kilometers on a rental car (with $10 gal gas) we returned to Istanbul and flew home to America labeling this father-sons trip our best ever. (We go every other year on some sort of father-sons trip) .

Right now I'm doing rewrite on the Apostle's Creed book--I'm on draft 7 today and plan to get a few more drafts in before next week when I leave for two weeks in Wyoming's Wind River Mountains with But and Mason Webb. While I'm gone a dozen "manuscript readers" (Lay person, Bible scholars, young person etc) will read draft 10.

When I return form the Wind River mountains we head out the next day for Hawaii and our 30th anniversary celebration.

The first week of August I complete the last 5 drafts of the Creed book and send it in, then head out to Paul Kind and Brook's wedding on our way to the end-of-summer faculty backpacking trip on the Colorado trail then back in time for Faculty retreat.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm leaving for Turkey

After attending the Wesleyan conference in Indy this weekend I'll be in Turkey with my two sons for the next 10 days... following the path of St Paul and visiting the sites of the ancient Christian church. We take these father-son trips every other year.

Last time we backpacked in the high Sierras in the snow and made (an unsuccessful) attempt on Mt. Whitney--snows too deep. Before that we went to Scotland and we also went to Austria for some mountainclimbing. The first time we went we canoed the Swaunee river in Georgia-Flordia.

ON all these trips we realized that biggest feature was the drive-time. Dave and Jon are bright guys and the conversations in the car were the best memories..which is good since we're crosscrossing Turkey this time--600 miles from Istanbal to Antioch and then wandering around to the rest of the sites between... Perga, Antioch-Pisidia, Derbe. Lystra, along with the more frequently visited sites like Ephesus and the seven chruches of Asia...

For now I'm putting my Apostle's Creed book to rest... I'll get back to rewrite when I return mid-month.

I love summers!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Changing World Changers

While doing some manual labor all week I’ve been thinking about words and how they are often containers into which we can pour new meaning.

Take “world changers” for instance. Ten years ago or so when Indiana Wesleyan University launched the new World Changer emphasis the meaning of the term was clear. Every faculty and student was expected to read Briner’s book—Roaring Lambs which has terrible ecclesiology but interesting ideas on the role Christians in the world. Briner represented the best of the boomer thinking—Christians didn’t have to be second class at anything but we can be just as successful in business, just as good a coach, just as rich and just as famous as anyone else in the world.

So IWU brought in examples of world-changers to speak in chapel: famous actors who had made it in Hollywood, writers who had made the New York Times bestselling list, rich businessmen, renowned surgeons or prominent politicians. These were “world changer models.” Missionaries, social workers, elementary teachers and nurses were not invited. We even started a hall of fame inducting famous world-changers and placed their bronze head in the library to remind students of what they were to try to become. The message so popular with boomer parents was: Be successful like these people.

We started the UNV 180-world changers course where we tried to convince freshmen students to go for the gold and change the world. While we never said so directly but the implication was clear: make it big time in the world. We were saying you should grab the gold ring of worldly success so some day you too might have a triumphal return to IWU as a true world-changer. For more than ten years this is what “World-changer” has meant.

But words do not have fixed meanings. The people of God have an uncanny way of pouring new meaning into old words. When you alums return to IWU in the future be prepared for this shift in what “world-changer” means. It may not mean what it meant when you were here. We now have a new generation of students and parents (and evangelicals) and this is changing world changers.

So, how is “world-changer” changing? It is coming to mean “making a difference where you live—one by one.” A world changer is coming to mean a person who works as a nurse serving others out of love even if you never get famous for it or write a best-selling book. A world changer is coming to mean a teacher who purposely chooses to go to a third-rate inner city school to make a difference in the lives of poverty stricken students. It is increasingly coming to mean doing something to address AIDS in Africa, stop sexual slavery, starting feeding programs for the poor, and developing the personal discipline of recycling and reducing one’s energy footprint. It has less to do with becoming rich or famous and more to do with serving and loving. You can be a world-changer now by serving as a youth pastor in South Dakota or by running a homeless shelter in Atlanta. The success content of the term is being gradually displaced with a new moral content.

Nowhere is this so clear as in the new book the UNV180 students now read calling for Christian action on behalf of the poor and needy (more on that book in September). I expect sooner or later we will induct someone into the WC hall of fame like this—some non-famous servant who loves and serves quietly.

Of course REL alums all recognize this is all about theology. Not just Briner’s poor ecclesiology, but good solid pneumatology. The church is guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is constantly prompting change and correction among the people of God. And, sometimes He does this by prompting us to pour new and better meaning into old words. That’s what seems to be happening right now with the term “World-changer.” My hunch is most of my former students thought this is what it should have meant all along.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Spiritual Formation course for M.Div

I've been thinking this morning of what a spiritual formation course would look like for the new M.Div program IWU is considering offering in the future.


The first issue is to face what the SF course is about—become a “better monk” personally by doing more fasting and praying, or is the course going to reflect more recent developments in spiritual formation where the focus is on the spiritual formation of the body of Christ—that is Paul’s original use of the term -- groaning as in childbirth until Christ if formed in you (plural you).

If we personalize spiritual formation it may be more popular to Americans already absorbed with themselves and it becomes like the spiritual gifts tests—another way to think about me and my preferences and my modes of personal spirituality. But if we consider that the pastor’s profession is to form Christ in the community of Christ then we have another matter. Should we do both—yes, but what many pastors lack is the knowledge and skills to form Christ in persons and people.

If a dentist was as random about her work as pastors are their SF work the dentist would give me a sermon on Chemistry when I went to him with a toothache. There are proven methods of spiritual formation of a group (and they are almost always group experiences in the body of Christ, not just privatized "devotions" or fasting or other private disciplines.) This second kind of SF is what pastors need better equipping for. The reason why we have churches full of shallow and immature Christian is the “dentist” does not know how to do the dentistry but knows mostly how to explain chemsitry based on their Bible courses. They need to know the proven means of using the Bible to bring about life change.

Many pastors assume “to know is to do.” So they lead bible studies (or proclaim in preaching) the Bible assuming that once it is clear what god wants the people will live it. They don’t, of course. If we were a Calvinist school ths would work too-for we would teach and proclaim and wait for God to do the transformation of whomever He has pre-slected to enliven. But we are Weslayen. Transformation occasinally happens through understanding but more often through proven methods of Bible study and preaching.

So “curriculum people” like Norm Wilson and me might see a course like this including things like this:

1. History & theology of the Bible as a Spiritual Formation tool. (History of the Bible’s use as a tool for spiritual formation including various methods used in the past; Theological underpinnings using the Bible as a SF tool including the role of the Holy Spirit, the body of Christ along with individual revelation; current approaches to transformation using the Bible text.)

2. How people change. (How do people change in response to the Bible? What are the sociological, spiritual, pedagogical, theological and psychological “change factors” that are ingredients besides the actual text of the Bible that must be considered in using the Bible as a tool for prompting life change? Exploring various theories of how God changes persons [and a people] by meeting them in the Word. Examining my own methods of SF in my leadership of the church and discovering areas where I need to develop.)

3. Bible outcomes. (Discovering the multi-level outcomes in the Bible—primary and secondary, corporate and individual—for describing a godly person and a people for God… cognitively, affectively, behaviorally—what are we trying to “make” when we make disciples? Developing, sorting and prioritizing the Bible’s expected corporate and individual outcomes then mapping outcomes to the generalized needs of today’s church and also the specific needs of my own local church, producing a schedule or curriculum or plan for preaching and teaching—a “curriculum” of sorts for the spiritual formation using the Bible.)

4. Personal spiritual formation. (Rather than addressing this first as if corporate SF springs from personal life [as Americans assume] put it last since personal spiritual formation more often springs from the corporate experience as above; focus on habits and attitudes especially those of a local shepherd.) least those are my [summertime] breakfast thoughts....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Book & Bulbs

This week I’ve been doing two things:

1. WRITING ON THE CREED BOOK. I am taking a break right now half way through the next to last chapters---after today I should only have one more chapter to finish my first draft. I send these drafts to Chris Bounds so he can set me straight where I’ve missed something or gotten my doctrine wrong. Chris specialized in orthodoxy—so I should be safe in what I’m saying. (However, the book will spark controversy nonetheless since many “Sunday school Christians” depart from orthodoxy at points like the full divinity and humanity of Jesus, the equality of Jesus with the Father and Holy Spirit, and the resurrection of the body. I am writing on the resurrection and ascension of Christ today—half done now at 2PM.

2. I’VE BEEN REPLACING INCANDESCENT BULBS IN MY HOUSE thanks to Adam Thada’s “witnessing” to me. We actually did this in the early 1990s—maybe about 12 years ago but over time we switched out those bulbs for incandescent bulbs for various reasons. They didn’t fit in lamps under the hoops, they were too large to put in enclosed globes in this older house (we bought them for a new house in Indy), and they were so dull we could not read by them. However the newer bulbs are great. They are small enough to fit almost anywhere. They are brighter—even some the equivalent of 100 or 150 watt incandescent bulbs—yet using far fewer watts. And the best news is they are cheaper. The dull-big-bulbs we bought in the early 1990s cost us about $20 per bulb (they all still work) but these newer bulbs cost only a few bucks each—and given their almost-eternal life the cost per year is actually lower. I am only part way finished, having to replace the rheostat switches with flip switches here and there, but I’m happy. IN some cases we have MORE light for LESS wattage. Thanks Adam for the witness.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Knobstone hike

I just finished my "Graduation afterglow hiking" on Indiana’s Knobstone Trail—a carefully designed trail that figures to offer the maximum amount of knee pain for the maximum amount of effort.

We started at Deam lake (South end) Monday afternoon and walked about 5 miles in blazing sun (the oak trees were just coming out so the sun came thru strongly giving us both a pink tint now). We did slow walking @ 1MPH, but that looked good to others since we forgot the walking sticks and had stopped at a CVS and bought Sharon a cane--thus other hikers would see this old couple—“One even was walking with a cane!” making 1mph look pretty good. (Alas, we only we only saw two other sets of hikers--and one of them passed us while seated so the effect was lost on 50% of the hikers ...and it turned out we already knew the other set). My foot muscle (I call it a heal spur but I don't think it really is) and Sharon’s catching up for the last 10 years of administration are the causes of the reduced pace). We camped about five miles into the trail in a never-before-used stealth campsite

On Tuesday we walked again all day in the sun. On this evening we passed Southbound Hikers Adam & Becky Thada, just graduated from IWU who were headed south. We had hidden a key to our car behind one of our tires and they agreed to take our car back to the north end of the trail and drop it off where they had left their car --meaning neither of us had to hitch-hike back to our cars. Nice break, though we will miss riding with the toothless chewin' locals now. We made about ten miles in nine hours this day—nothing to brag about to fastpackers, but "hey, we're out here!."

On Wednesday the sun disappeared and we trudged all day under cloudy skies--up and down and up and down the irritating and terribly-built Knobstone trail (Indiana does not deserve to have a hiking trail!) Sharon loved her cane and decided to never use walking sticks again. We negotiated the infamous Knobstone "steps" built by trail-design-challenged Indiana DNR people. At 4:30 the huge front came through with banging thunder and huge raindrops and we pitched our Henry Shires Tarptent just as the thunder bursts broke loose. Alas, in the rush we pitched the TarpTent on a major runoff drainage and the water flowed right under our tent--about an inch deep. You could pat the floor of the tent and there was a nice cushion of water there. You could also pat the INSIDE of the tarp tent and get wet too—having failed to maintain the “interior bathtub” carefully in the rush. We got a bit wet but not seriously so, bailing out the water like a cnoe, and re-establishing the “bathtub” correctly so the water stayed OUTSIDE the tub, the rest of the night was sorta dry. We lay in the tent the rest of the evening and watched "24" in our imaginations (we just started on “24” and are up to 4AM on day one of the California primary now) but the mental reruns got boring soon. The tremendous rainstorm continued all night. After a restless night with 2" puddles surrounding the tent, and a 1” runoff running underneath us all night, we awoke to a fine drizzle the next morning and packed up our damp everythings and walked in the drizzle.

Thursday we walked in muck--the several-inch rain had turned the trail into a mudpie. The creeks were 6-10' wide or mroe and we gave up jumping them all and simply splashed through them We made our self-assigned 10 miles in the dripping rain by suppertime to "the Favorite IWU campsite" at mile 36--the one by the creek. As I was about to get the tarptent out, Sharon suggested 'Let's keep walking--after all, all we can do is sit here in the tent bored" (I'm not very interesting, actually, and we had re-watched all the 24 episodes) so we walked on and did another 3-4 miles, camping in a pine tree forest at mile 40--the one where Woodbury-Kind & Schmerse-to-be camped last.

Awaking at first light this morning Sharon led us in drizzle to the end on that final easy leg of the Knobber arriving at the car (nicely placed there by Adam and Becky) by 11AM this morning. We tossed our wet stuff into he trunk, cranked up the heater full speed and drove home with all our windows open. Arriving in Marion by 2PM, we unloaded the car into the washer and/or drier and are now headed for a delightful evening watching the next few hours of "24".

I almost always need to get away right after graduation—to not think about school for a while and this worked. This time I was able to do the runaway trip with Sharon which was a real treat. This hike was also a test hike of sorts--to see how we'll fare on the Colo. Trail with the faculty hiking club this coming August. The Knobber maxim "ten will get you 15" (10 miles on the Knobber will get you 15 out West) means we will be able to survive the Colo Trail—at least in the “stay-back group” on that hike. We’ll let the Marathon runners and youngsters go ahead and we'll bring up the rear an go for 75 instead of 100 miles. That will work since Jeanie Argot plans to take that hike on her worn out knees--she needs knee replacements but plans to wear out her birth-knees on that hike. She can do 15 on broken knees she thinks. We also decided to "do more cooking" on that hike, nudging the hike more toward "camping along the Colorado Trail" than just "long distance fast packing."

Also, this hike once again reminded of Sharon's indomitable spirit—she is not a natural hiker and never hiked oververnight when she married me. But when you toss at her a thousand stairs and several days of rain and she just sticks with it and gets stronger every day. I remembered this week why we stuck it out and finished that thousand mile AT hike back in ‘72--you "just do it." (then you take a shower and watch a few more hours of "24.")

Mark & Jess & Paul—we knocked over a tree each for you and remembered the “Platypus prank” and the Maundy Thursday and Easter services at the appropriate places. Remembered places where Burt, & Kerry & Phil and others did this or that--many memories tied to places on that trail.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I doubt anyone is really interested much in this--but I just sent an email to all the students in NEXT FALL's classes welcoming them to the course... The trhee main courses I wrote to so far have
...Local Church Education-- 27 students
...Church Leadership-- 27 students
...Teaching the Bible to Adults--8 students

More will sign up later but here is what I said to those already registered:

WELCOME to next Fall's Teaching the Bible to Adults class!!! You'll love this class...

It is a comfy group who DOES Bible study each week as well as learns HOW to do Bible studies for all adults--from college age through older adults.

I have a major passion for this class so you'’ll get "Drury at his best" I hope. The class includes both ministry majors and others--people who want to learn how to teach people for life change. The course is not really named right--we don't actually teach the Bible -- we teach PEOPLE... using the Bible in a way that inspires people to become Christ-like. It will be a wonderful Thursday evening and you'll look forward to it every week I bet.

We will first explore the stages of adult life and the characteristics of college students through older folk, then most of our time will focus on teaching methods...the ways people interact with the Bible that produces spiritual growth. We'll "learn by doing" often--actually having a Bible study as a way of learning how to lead one. If the course works well we will all come away having grown ourselves by our own study. The course assumes the Bible is not just a book that should be studied like one sticks a corpse on the table to do a post-mortem, but is a powerful living word of God that (if approached right) changes people. We'll learn how this process works and "how people change."

Usually we'll meet around one table (in the religion division conference room) but sometimes we'll move to a "home setting" to experience Bible study like small groups do in homes or residence halls. I have not finalized the syllabus yet but I'm thinking it would be cool if we could all lead several Bible studies ourselves--some in class and some in the residence halls or at church to practice our skills.

The group itself will become a Bible study group--of loving, caring people committed to our own growth--sort of a mentoring group under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. While we will care about the content of the Bible our primary focus is on how the Holy Spirit uses the Bible in a group to change people--to help us (and others) grow and develop. It will be exciting!

TO DO OVER SUMMER: Nothing particularly you need to do to prepare other than think of where you might hold several Bible studies yourself next year…in a church or on campus. Otherwise just get the texts before the first night of class.


WELCOME to the Fall semester’s Church Leadership class! This is a “senior course” (though occasionally a junior takes it) You must be accepted into the major to take it—so if you aren’t accepted by Sept 1 you’ll be kicked out of the course by Bonita the first week of school—so apply before you leave for summer if you’re not accepted yet!

Be prepared for:
1. Small group work—you pick two others to make a group of three and this group will be vital to your success in the course—in many ways your grade will depend on who you get with—you get to arrange your own group. Many assignments are group-created—you work together and can borrow each other’s work. If you see names above of people you want to be with—go ahead and arrange it before hand if you want to.
2. Problem based learning. Some of the work in the course is just like “real life” -- you only get a problem that you have to go and dig out the solution for. For instance sometimes we simply assign the group to make a plan for planting a church in Marion—and you have to figure out what kind of church, where to meet, how to budget for it, and even go check what renting places to meet cost. One of the groups this semester planned a church and it looks like one of our seniors will actually stay in Marion next year and plant the church they dreamed up. Another PBL assignment just gives you a bunch of terms written down in a church finances meeting for you to figure out what they mean. This PBL approach is “Like life” in that you have to find out where the answers are and how to check them to see if they are reliable.
3. Practicum learning. You’ll need a local church where you can interview a pastor, meet with the Treasurer, sit in on a board meeting, and other exposure to the administration of a church. Most churches won’t let you “lead” the church so this experience is more about the administration of a church than leading it.
4. Uncle Keith stuff. This is the course where I “tell it like it really is” the most. Most students like the stories as much as the hard content of this course. Here is where you get “the real truth” about what happens in the very-human organism of the church.
5. Units of study Here is what we usually deal with: (may change based on this semester’s final input—I’ve not opened that yet)
-People—how to recruit, motivate, inspire, remove people.
-Leadership theory—a unit on formal leadership theory and the “Strategetics” wisdom of leading and working with people.
-Conflict—managing it and resolving it—between others and yourself and the church or other ministers.
-Church finances—budgeting and church finances terms
-Leading meetings—the course is sometimes nicknamed CLPL—meaning Church Leadership and “Parliamentary Law” --we have a short unit on deliberative meetings.
(The following is the closing personal leadership unit)
-Personal finances—personal budgeting and ministers’ income taxes and housing.
-Integrity matters—avoiding sexual sin, financial ethics, honesty and ethics in the ministry.

See you next Fall!!!!

coach d
WELCOME to the Fall semester’s Local Church Education class! This is an awesome course—probably the best course I teach—so we’ll have a great time!

Be prepared for:
1. Lots of writing—a chapter a week for your “book.”
2. Small group work—you pick two others to make a group of three and this group will be vital to your success in the course—the better the group the better your paper and grade. If you see some names above you want t like up with now go ahead and set it up—you get to arrange your own group.
3. Student teaching. The practicum requires you to do “student teaching” in Sunday school—any age group, so be planning to attend Sunday school next semester and working with a “master teacher” who will let you teach twice and meet with you after to help you improve your teaching.

I think you’ll love this course. It is a major milestone for CM-YM students (along with Rec Management majors who have an alternative option). The group you establish often becomes so bonded that you will forget the rest of those in class—so pick your group carefully.
See you next Fall!!!!

coach d

I'll also be teaching the related practicums for these courses plus one breakout section of UNV180--we're trying a new thing this semester--a breakout section of all the Religion division students togeter with a REL prof as their breakout leader--I'm doing one of those sections on Friday afternoons... total load for the semester for me will be about 15 hours, better than this year!