‘Just Sand on a Beach’

About 12 years ago, Professor Jim Foster and I took a group of George Fox students on a trip to Europe that centered on the American experience in World War II. We started in London and visited one of the finest war museums in the world – the Imperial War Museum. We then traveled to Dover, took a ferry to Calais and from there visited the French city of Bayeux. Once we settled into the hotel in Bayeux, we prepared for a two-day tour of D-Day sites with our British guide.
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Oh So Close

About 10 years ago, MaryJo McCloskey came to me and asked if I might be interested in developing a women’s golf program at George Fox. She had previously coached at Lewis & Clark and was looking for a university that might support her efforts fully. Those of you who know me understand that I do not play golf. When I was a kid I spent my time playing football, basketball and running track. Even if I had thought of playing golf, our small community did not have a course. Given my own history, I suppose you might wonder why I said “yes” to a golf program. It has everything to do with the coach – MaryJo. She is an excellent coach, but more than that she is the type of person who draws people to her cause. The cause in this particular case was women’s golf, and I believed in her and what she could do.
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The Practice of Being Alone Together

Most of my family lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and when Christmas comes around we almost always travel home. During this particular holiday, my brother Keith was given tickets to the Fiesta Bowl, and I was privileged to attend with him. We happened to be in a suite with mainly Clemson Tiger fans who deeply enjoyed the contest (Clemson won 31-0). There happened to be a couple of Ohio State Buckeye supporters who remained relatively silent, for obvious reasons, through most of the evening.
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The Spirit of the Age

One of my favorite musical writers is a man named Michael Card. A number of years ago he wrote a song called the Spirit of the Age that expressed his frustration with the tragic events that seemed to dominate his cultural experience …
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Sacred: A Reflection

On our recent Juniors Abroad trips one our primary focal points was centered on “experiencing the sacred.” I have to admit, I have specific images, patterns and even forms in mind when I think of the “sacred.” For me, sacred space and objects were designed to enhance one’s experience with God – to take one closer to what C. S. Lewis called, “Joy.” In the secular materialistic age we find ourselves in there is little room for reflection, pondering, wandering or considering something beyond the physical and material experience we have every day. We fill our days with work, visits to the internet, television, music, malls and other things. In one sense, our lives are full and primarily focused on what we perceive to be our own needs and desires. For much of the human past, the “sacred” called a person outside themselves to consider greater purpose and meaning.
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Cricket and Our Last Day in England

I am sitting at a cricket match writing this piece while on Juniors Abroad. My daughter and I went on a tour of the Lord’s Cricket Ground earlier in the week and found it interesting. I thought I would apply my “new” learning to watching an actual match. Middlesex was playing Sussex in a county championship at Lord’s. I arrived just after noon for the third day of a four-day test match (don’t ask me what a “test match” is – I do not know).
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A Day with Harry Potter

On our first morning in London, we had prepared a visit for 12 of our students who wanted to go to Warner Brothers’ studio where the Harry Potter books were made into movies. This was one of those optional trips that students could choose but had to pay extra for. I went to London early on Thursday to confirm travel plans for the visit since we had to leave early the next morning in order to make our appointed 9:30 a.m. time.
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Lewis and Tolkien’s Oxford

One of the highlights of any trip I’m a part of is a visit to Oxford. I was introduced to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as a graduate student (by fellow students), and both have served to inspire me over time. Lewis and Tolkien were great storytellers who created worlds that capture readers’ imaginations. The characters and stories are memorable. For me, these writers gave me hope that one could be a committed Christian and be a person who pursued the life of the mind. Lewis and Tolkien carried “weight” in their academic disciplines, and they also translated their Christian commitments into stories that were understandable by the general reader. (There have been many others to be sure, including Dorothy Sayers, Charles Williams and Flannery O’Connor, to name but a few.) Thus, visiting Oxford is a pilgrimage for me, and I think the students could appreciate that.
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Experiencing Evensong

I grew up in what many Anglicans and Catholics might call a “low church” tradition. From the minute I can remember going to a church as a child, our family was always part of a Baptist church (Southern). When you are part of a single Christian tradition for most of your life you don’t realize the varieties of religious expression that are part of the Christian community. While we are all certainly part of the universal Christian church, the practices and traditions are deeply rooted in different forms of community.
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My son Jacob always enjoyed John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” The melody line is catchy, and the lyrics call one to imagine a world without nations, religions, no heaven and no hell – a vision of peace and community representing Lennon’s world view and one consistently promoted by modern Progressives. “The world’s problems would be solved if society could eliminate the primitive organizations that have divided humanity.” This “vision” seems to draw many supporters in our current postmodern culture even in light of what one observes historically. (The great secular states of the 19th and 20th centuries have miserable records on human rights and the destruction of life through war, for example.) Humans are deeply flawed and seek something beyond themselves to achieve greater wholeness.
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