Being Known, Mathematics, and Faith

Pete Rusaw, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Being Known

It’s the hope each student brings to the college experience. To be known by name. To be understood, valued, encouraged and uplifted. At George Fox, to be known means that professors and staff connect with students in authentic ways – personally, academically, spiritually – recognizing that we all come to this place with different backgrounds, life experiences and dreams for the future. To be known means that students not only learn new ideas, they share their own. To be known means to be heard. When students feel what it’s like to be known in this way, they become inspired. And that’s when real change happens. Knowledge moves from the mind to the heart. Careers turn into callings. Faith turns into action. And that’s why we begin with a simple promise, that each student will be known.

Be Known. Two words that sum up the heart of God. God is love, which can only be defined in relationship, for if there is no object – no other – then love is absent. “All of the law and the prophets are summarized,” says Jesus, “when we love God and love others.” The love that he speaks of is not simply a feeling, but a commitment to, and an experience with, another. We only love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). As God condescends and gives of himself to us, not simply by his support, but also with his companionship, (Matthew 28:20) we begin to understand that love is a relationship and that relationships are all about knowing. Not simply knowing information (though that is a start) but also relating. Interacting at an honest, heart-level, where barriers are moved aside, people are vulnerable with one another and each is used by God in the other’s transformation toward Christ-likeness.

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Ramblings on Romans

Chris Sharp, Assistant Professor (Mechanical Engineering)

In times such as these, it is easy to drown in the seemingly endless swirl of negative, dismal and downright gloomy state of current events. However, when we consider our existence in light of tragedies throughout history, there must be a way to survive. Somehow society has persisted. But how? Right now we are all stuck, isolated from our communities, dependent on Zoom, and … wait … did I lose you?

Can you hear me? … How about now? 

Are you muted? … Don’t forget to turn your video on!

Oh, there you are again. I thought I’d lost you for a minute. Where was I? Right. How do we get through this? I was recently studying through Romans and came across a section of verses at the beginning of Chapter 5 that spoke to me in light of our Zoom-driven existence. Which, if you’re like me, can’t end soon enough. I wasn’t a huge fan of video communication before, and I haven’t been converted yet. Give me a cup of tea and a coffee shop – please! Anyhow …

In the first five verses of Romans 5 there are three “little” words spread throughout the passage: faith, hope and love. As the end of 1 Corinthians 13 tells us, “These three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” The emphasis on love in this verse makes sense given the chapter, but why these other two concepts? Specifically in light of our present, can we hear some more about this hope? 

Cue Romans 5:1-5! 

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A Setback for a Comeback

Mindy Mickelson, Office Manager / Compliance Officer | Bruin Athletics

Mindy Mickelson 4/23/20

Disturb us, O Lord …When we think we’ve reached out limits
When our days become routine and mundane
When we tire of the same old things
When our fears leave us stuck on the shore desperately wanting more
When the mountain top seems too far away
When we can see the finish line but choose to stay comfortably on the couch
Disturb us, O Lord …
Call us out onto the water
Spur us on to take that leap of faith
Push a little harder
Work a little more
To tap into Your strength in order to tap into the vast potential that You created within us
All for you, O Lord

Writing inspired by Sir Francis Drake poem 1577
Mindy Mickelson 1/2/17

Trials, hardships, struggles, loss, the storms of life. The thought of these words can summon memories we’d rather forget. They can even remind us of the present circumstances we are in. “Fun” isn’t the word that comes to mind when we’re living in circumstances that we didn’t choose and are out of our control.

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The Founder and Perfecter of our Faith

Hannah Butler, Event Operations Coordinator

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” 

– Hebrews 12:1-3

I want to take a few moments to unpack some of the language in these verses, and hopefully it will be an encouragement to you! 

God Will Not Abandon His People 

The author and the recipient of this letter are unknown, but what we gather from the letter is that the “Hebrews” are a group of Jewish Christians who are undergoing severe persecution and imprisonment because of their association with Jesus. This was causing some to walk away from Jesus and abandon their faith altogether. So the author writes this letter to tell them that Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God’s love and mercy and that God will never abandon them. Good news, right? 

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The Shift

Mariah Fredericks, assistant women’s soccer coach

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” 

Ephesians 2:19-22

“Every 500 years, a shift happens in the church.”

These words were spoken to me in a college classroom, and they’ve stayed with me ever since. They were spoken by a beloved professor who I recognized walked closely with Jesus, continually saying yes to his leading in her teaching and in her life. 

With her words, a curiosity was birthed; the church must be on the brink of change once again. Curiosity became a call. Every 500 years something changes, and God, whatever you’re doing, I want in. 

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Romans 5 & 8

Andrew Fleming, Institutional Technology

For the past several months I have been growing in my understanding and trust in two really important areas: knowing God as Father and trusting in his goodness. The verses below from Romans 5 and 8 stood out to me.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:1-8). 

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Feeding on Faithfulness

Lizzy Riese, Program Coordinator, ELED

To be human is to experience pain. To be human is to be disappointed.

These two thoughts have been rolling around in my head the last few weeks, nagging at the back of my mind. Like most people, the last month or so of my life has not looked how I expected. Routines have been disrupted. “Normal” life has been displaced by words like “social distancing” and “quarantine.” FaceTime and phone calls have become much more common in the vacancy that spending less time with friends and family has created. I’ve spent less money on dining out and gas in the last month than perhaps any other season of my adult life.

In addition to the changes that are common for all of us in this season of coronavirus, I’ve had an additional life disruption personally: back surgery. After a year and nine months of struggling with chronic pain, I finally had a discectomy – a procedure during which a surgeon removed a portion of the L5-S1 disc in my spine, which had been pressing on my sciatic nerve, causing sharp, stabbing pain in my right buttock and leg. In some ways this procedure could not have been better timed. It happened just two days after Oregon’s governor announced that all elective medical procedures were to be canceled. The fact that I was still able to have the surgery is nothing short of a miracle in my mind. Had I been scheduled for a few days later, I’m pretty confident it would have been canceled. There is also really no better time to be stuck on a couch with limited mobility than when the rest of the world is also stuck at home in quarantine.

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Hidden Treasures

Lecia Retter, Enrollment Manager: Registrar’s Office, Prayer Network Coordinator: Ministry of Spiritual Life Office

What an amazing season we are living in! Never in my life did I think I would feel any sympathy for the Egyptians when Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go and the Lord kept increasing the severity of the plagues. I imagine the progression from the water in the Nile turning to blood to the death of the firstborn felt a bit like reading the news in recent weeks.

Do you recall what the Lord had the Israelites ask the Egyptians right before the final plague? Exodus 11:2 says, “Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” Even in this horrible situation, God provided treasure for God’s people.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Take Summer Online Classes

Interested? Sign up for summer courses here.

Take a Load Off (Fulfill General Education Requirements)

Students at George Fox – including incoming new students – can take up to three courses during our summer term. This means that you can split the difference and make sure your fall semester is not overbooked, so you have time to breathe, socialize, and participate in what makes George Fox great – being known. Every credit counts.

If you are nervous about what the fall looks like during this uncertain season – perhaps your spring transition didn’t go so well – be reassured that these online classes have been established for many years, by professors who have refined them specifically for what you need. You are in stable and equipped hands.

Dolla Bills Y’all (Save Money)

Online summer classes are offered at $560 per credit, half the price of our traditional undergraduate classes. Enough said. Who doesn’t want to save money on classes?

Taking these courses could help you graduate and learn more efficiently, saving you even more money in the long run!

Get’r Done (Knock Out Tough Classes with Fewer Distractions and in Less Time)

Online summer classes teach the same concepts as traditional semester classes, but the lessons are condensed to fit within an eight-week term. The classes have been designed for online and have been running effectively for years, and improve every summer. The professors are experienced in every tool that specifically makes online learning successful and engaging. This is not their first rodeo and you are in for a great eight-week ride.

The courses offered present a more intensive, shorter-term curriculum, but in a more relaxed summer setting. If you are hesitant about taking a tough course along with a full schedule in the fall, this offers a great opportunity for you to alleviate some of that pressure.

Get Connected

Our online summer courses are limited to 20 students to make sure you get plenty of interaction. All online summer classes are taught by experienced George Fox faculty, like Jennifer Joy Loop, who cares about your success and growth. She says she “gets to actually hear and see what everyone has to say,” versus, in person, when she only gets “a glimpse from checking in with each group.”

“I feel like I get to know my students more quickly during the online summer courses,” she adds. The faculty are able to stick with you individually to make sure you are on track and doing well. You are known and cared for.

Financial Aid is Available

Current George Fox students may be able to use financial aid for summer classes. You can contact your financial aid counselor to see your personal options. In this uncertain season, every penny – and every decision – counts. We are here to help you get the best education experience so you are equipped to make the best decisions. 

Online Course List

Click here for courses to be offered online during summer 2020. They are open to current students and students outside the institution. The class size will be limited to 20.

Classes will run June 1 through July 26 unless noted.

Our Promise to Students

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Now is the time to build fearlessly and to blaze a trail to serve students in radically new ways. 

We need Christ-centered education now more than ever. We need thinkers and doers, problem solvers and activators. We need compassionate hearts, willing hands and sharp minds. The world is different now; we need Christlike leaders and learners to invent the future and boldly lead us into it.

This is who we are at George Fox University. This is why we plan to open our campus this fall to any student who wants to be transformed.

At George Fox, we don’t cower in the face of challenge. We Stand Tall, fighting for what is good and true. And right now that means building leaders to compassionately carry the world into the future. 

Will we need to be vigilant for the sake of health in our community? Absolutely! We’re already making personal protective equipment, are continuing a rigorous cleaning regimen on campus, and are building out plans for residence halls with considerations for physical distancing.

Will our residence halls be open? Yes, our plan is to open in the fall! And we’ll take a thoughtful, measured and proactive approach to ensure students remain safe in their living areas.

Will education look different than before? We can’t speak for other universities, but we can guarantee it’ll look different at George Fox. Innovation is part of who we are – we were the first university west of the Mississippi River to offer an adult degree program and the first Christian college in the state to launch engineering, not to mention starting a football program while others shuttered theirs, developing an honors program that’s filled year after year, and pioneering Serve Day more than two decades ago to offer a helping hand to our neighbors. We embrace the opportunity that comes with challenge. The coronavirus has changed the fabric of our society, so we will pivot the model of higher education to address affordability, accessibility and relevance.

Can you promise your campus will be open this fall? We will always follow mandates from the governor’s office, but we can guarantee we’ll do everything in our power to bring students back in the fall to their George Fox home, to keep them safe and to transform them into the people they are called to become.

COVID-19 may steal our comforts of routine, face-to-face interaction, and predictability, but the deepest danger is allowing COVID-19 to rob us of the next generation of innovators, nurses, counselors, teachers, artists, pastors, physical therapists, business leaders, and social workers. 

Here is our promise: George Fox University will be ready for you. Ready to deliver the Be Known promise, ready to equip you for an exceptional life, ready to give you incredible memories. We’ll see you this fall.