Experiencing Beauty

Almost 40 years ago (it’s difficult to think it has been that long), my brother, uncle and a few friends spent the night on the rim of the Grand Canyon, then headed out at 7 a.m. on the Kaibab Trail for Phantom Ranch. We had one goal in mind: get to the bottom of the canyon and back out as fast as we could. It started out as somewhat of a team adventure, but by the time we came out it was clearly a race to the top. The first of us did the hike in under 10 hours, and we ran the last mile. I remember very little about that day except that, at the top, we were exhausted, sweaty and dirty, but there was a feeling of accomplishment. We conquered the canyon trails in under 10 hours! What we did not do is get a sense of the grandeur of the space we had just traversed.

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Stuck in the Mud

My wife received a text from my daughter Tara: “You would be proud of Dad today. He was adaptable.” Of course, Tara did not send this text to me, and the only reason I saw it was because my wife chose to share it with me. Interesting. My first reaction was to think, “So I am not usually adaptable? What was so unique about this day? Which day is she talking about?!”

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Sabbatical Reflections

We are at the end of January 2019, and I am almost three weeks into my sabbatical. I continue to represent the college at presidential gatherings, but I have begun my work on Levi Pennington’s papers and have completed one of the runs on my schedule (Maui 10K)!
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Sabbatical will allow for research, travel and spiritual rejuvenation

It is a privilege to serve at George Fox University. For generations, professors and staff have helped students prepare for a vocational calling and consistently introduced them to the life of Christ. We serve to impact students. It is what drives us to come to work each day. It is why I love what I do.
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Staying True to the Mission

Have you ever had one of those days? My future daughter-in-law, Erin Moriki, broke her foot a few weeks ago and is in a cast. She asked Ruth and me if we could take her to a special celebration her church was hosting at the Portland State University Pavilion with Francis Chan, and we agreed to do so. After picking her up in Beaverton, we drove up 99W and had a hard time getting the navigation going. It was also raining hard. I turned on Elwert Road and was fidgeting with the windshield wipers when I almost ran into a car coming the opposite direction. Ruth screamed and noted that I should keep my eyes on the road.
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I know you remember the lines from the famous Christmas song “Silver Bells”: “city sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style, in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas!” Perhaps you can relate, but for me that “air” usually takes the form of panic as I try to get everything done before Christmas. There are events most every evening at the university, concerts to attend, church services to experience, and of course dozens of presents to purchase. During Christmas, the one thing I need more of is time.
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Remembering Willie Stoffer

Willie on the sidelines with George Fox alumnus Jesus Garcia.

Recently I attended the memorial service of former George Fox student and loyal Bruin football fan Willie Stoffer. Following are the thoughts I shared about Willie’s life and impact on the George Fox community.

It was the fall of 2008. We welcomed new first-year students to our campus in the last week of August and among them was a young man named Willie Stoffer. The first weekend is a whirlwind for most of the university staff and I do not remember meeting Willie, but sometime during the first week of school that changed. I was sitting in my office on the third floor of the Stevens building on the George Fox University campus, and while I was looking out the windows to the quad I noticed a student riding a scooter at breakneck speed down one of the sidewalks, trying to get to class on time! My initial thought was that he had violated our sidewalk speed limit!
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Willie’s Last Game

Willie Stoffer is greeted on the sidelines by a football player earlier this season. His presence at games was a constant source of inspiration for the team.

Last Saturday was a typical fall day in Oregon – sunless, cool and damp with a constant hint of rain. It was our last home football game of 2017 and from a public view most preparations for the day appeared entirely normal. The teams gathered on the field and were getting their game plans in place. Fans were arriving slowly with warm jackets and umbrellas in abundance. You could sense it would be another good day at Stoffer Family Stadium.

But it was not a normal day for a young man named Willie Stoffer. Willie, a former student at George Fox, had struggled with various forms of cancer for many years. In the face of serious disease he was a constant encouragement to many of us, including the George Fox football team and coaches. Continue reading

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Meeting an Angel on Serve Day

Eighteen years ago, President Dave Brandt began a George Fox tradition known as Serve Day. Recently, we continued the tradition by sending out more than 2,000 students, staff and faculty to serve our community and neighbors in the northwest corner of Oregon (and a few other places). We do this, of course, because we want to be neighborly, but also because it was Dr. Brandt’s commitment and belief that Christ calls us to serve others. I am one of many who have served at every Serve Day since the beginning. We have worked in homes, shredded lots of blackberries, painted, swept and generally helped wherever we could.
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An Impressive Display of Character

On Saturday, Sept. 2, I stood on the sidelines during our first football game of the 2017 season. It was a cool day with a breeze and just a little rain. We had traveled to play the No. 15-ranked Division III team in the nation – a squad that had beaten us 35-0 on our home field the year before. The opposition looked as tough as it had the previous year, so I had to wonder if we would endure a similar experience. At the end of the first half we trailed 24-7, so we at least had the consolation that we had scored!
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