“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how”

Yesterday was a surreal day at Bethel University: In the morning, a couple hundred employees crowded into a room in our student commons to hear our president explain significant cuts and restructuring in academic programs and co-curricular/administrative staffing, necessary to avoid the multi-million dollar deficits projected for the next two fiscal years. In the evening, … More “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how”

A Counterintuitive Non-Economic Argument for Majoring in the Humanities

“These days,” my local newspaper reported on Tuesday, “English majors are an increasingly rare breed on college campuses.” Whether at the University of Minnesota or nearby Augsburg University, fewer and fewer students were majoring in English — or history, philosophy, or most of the other disciplines traditionally lumped together as “the humanities.” Robert Cowgill, chair of Augsburg’s … More A Counterintuitive Non-Economic Argument for Majoring in the Humanities

Understanding the Importance of Journalism, As Americans and Christians

There are several good reasons to fear that American democracy is being irreparably damaged by the current administration. Foremost, in my opinion, is the way that Donald Trump and his political allies have waged relentless rhetorical war on the reporters, editors, and other journalists who are doing their best to seek truth, minimize harm, and act … More Understanding the Importance of Journalism, As Americans and Christians

Open Theism, Evangelicalism, and Anabaptism (and Pietism)

Yesterday Mennonite World Review reported that Fresno Pacific University (FPU) in California had removed the president of its seminary, Terry Brensinger, and announced that pastors Greg Boyd, Brian Zahnd, and Bruxy Cavey would no longer teach in the seminary’s M.A. program in ministry, leadership, and culture. According to MWR reporter Tim Huber, several students have complained to … More Open Theism, Evangelicalism, and Anabaptism (and Pietism)

The Impact of One Life on Another: My Address to Bethel’s Faculty

Today is the first day of fall classes here at Bethel University, so I thought I’d share the brief address I delivered last Tuesday at our faculty retreat, as our faculty president for the coming year. I didn’t reflect on the theme verse (“For we are the aroma of Christ to God,” 2 Cor 2:15), … More The Impact of One Life on Another: My Address to Bethel’s Faculty

Why We Teach

It’s made by one of my best friends. It consists of nothing but interviews with professors at a small university, plus images from public domain films. I’m in it. For all these reasons, you won’t want to believe what I’m about to write. But it’s still true: Why We Teach is the most compelling documentary you’ll … More Why We Teach

No, I Don’t Want To Lose My Faculty Office

We’re in the middle of a space planning conversation at Bethel, and I’m just hoping that we decide our department’s future location before this piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) has a chance to seep into anyone’s consciousness. I’m afraid some of our planners might be tempted by paragraphs like those below to think they … More No, I Don’t Want To Lose My Faculty Office