Thursday, September 19, 2019

I know some Christian colleges, Liberty University students.

A number of students at Liberty University have protested what they see as immoral and/or unethical behavior from its senior administration:



I am quite convinced there are Christian colleges where the students don't have those sorts of complaints about their administration.

For example, I work at a university in western New York called Houghton College. It's a campus of less than a thousand where everyone knows everyone, and the professors are deeply invested not only in the intellectual but in the spiritual life of their students. I also guarantee you that the Christian commitment of the president and administration are on the highest level.

It's a place where your faith will get stronger while asking the hard questions. It's a place where you can figure out your life direction if you aren't sure. It's a place where everybody knows your name.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Houghton Ranked Third!

Houghton ranked third among liberal arts colleges in the area of social mobility. In addition to ranking 123 among liberal arts colleges in the nation, Houghton is known for helping individuals without an initial advantage thrive in society.

You can read more here:

Houghton Ranked a Best Liberal Arts College for 2020

Saturday, September 14, 2019

1.5 Sunday at the Beginning

9. It was a Christian college, so there was a worship service for all the new students Sunday morning. That afternoon there would be a church fair where most of the churches in the area would set up tables on the quad if it didn't rain. A few even had special gatherings that evening for anyone who was interested in learning more.

The worship was a fun service. It was mostly contemporary Christian music, although they did start with the campus hymn--Great is Thy Faithfulness. The worship band was pretty good. Lucy noticed that there was a good mix of people in the band--guys, gals, white, black, Hispanic, Asian.

The Dean of the Chapel preached. She was good. Her text was Joshua 1:9--"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. The LORD your God is with you wherever you go." As far as Mac could tell, she was not reading from a paper. He hated it when the preacher read from a manuscript. Those sermons were usually more boring.

But Lucy could tell she wasn't simply making up what she was saying on the fly. She could tell she had worked on the sermon long enough that she could speak conversationally. She had notes but she never looked at them but was able to walk across the stage from one side to the other without missing a word.

10. Highlander University was broadly Methodist. With the Scottish connections, Presbyterian might have made more sense but its founder was a Scotsman whose parents had come under the spell of a horse riding Methodist named Francis Asbury in the early 1800s. Elijah Shepherd was in his fifties when he decided to pass on a portion of his wealth to found the college in 1867.

He had made his money on the canal, especially on logging. Although he had been an abolitionist in principle, he felt guilty for not doing more before the Civil War. He made sure that African-Americans were welcome at the college from the very beginning. In fact, two of the ministers in the very first class were former slaves who had escaped to the north through the Underground Railroad.

At the beginning, it had been Highlander Seminary, focused on training Methodist ministers. But the first president of the college convinced Elijah that the school needed to provide a broad education to both men and women. And women were a part of the school from its earliest days, some of whom had been present at Seneca Falls when the woman's movement began. Others had been there when Luther Lee preached the ordination service of the first woman to be ordained in the States.

So the church most associated with the church was Methodist, and more students and faculty attended there than any other church. Lucy and Mac had more or less assumed that was where they would go. There were regular chapels at eleven in the morning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But they were not meant to substitute for regular going to church.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

1.4 Class Preview Day

6. The evening brought res hall parties. Lucy and Mac forgot that they were even on the same campus together. Neither of them were much into such social events, but they found themselves having fun nonetheless. There were plenty of snacks and games. Lucy spotted one or two possible friends, and Mac just blended in without thinking much about it. They quickly realized that their own roommates probably wouldn't end up their best friends.

The morning brought the first day of class... sorta. The university had decided to start classes on the Friday before Labor Day, just to dip the students' toes in the water of college. There would be more orientation on Saturday and they would have Monday off. So Friday they walked through their classes.

7. When Lucy had made her deposit--$200--she had declared Environmental Science as her major. One of the distinctives of Highlander University was an "integrated science curriculum." All science majors took either a biology-chemistry combination or a physics-calculus combination their first year. Then they took the other the second year. And the chemistry and physics courses were designed to connect to each other.

So after answering a few questions, an admissions counselor set up a schedule for her. She would start with eight credit hours of the biology-chemistry combination. Then she had the "Themes of the Bible course." Finally she took three hours of Spanish 3 to finish out a language requirement, since she had Spanish in high school. It was a total of 15 hours, a respectable first semester load.

Mac wasn't exactly sure what to major in. Criminal Justice sounded interesting, although he wasn't entirely sure what it was about. It sounded like something a policeman might study. So the admissions counselor signed him up for Intro to Sociology, Spanish 3, philosophy, and, on a whim, ROTC. It was a 13 hour load, a light load for a chill guy to slide into college.

8. The administration insisted that the first day of class be fairly light. There were always professors that wanted to crack a whip to shock the new students into college, but they had been squelched. The day was meant to be more like a preview day. In fact, it was scheduled so that a student could get a taste of almost every class they had, even if it didn't meet on Friday.

On Saturday their FYE groups met to discuss how the first day had gone and to look at their syllabi--the blueprints for each class. There was pizza for lunch and then the first home football game of the year on Saturday afternoon. That was fun, especially since they won. Then Saturday night was yet another res hall social to keep growing the new relationships.

Monday, September 02, 2019

1.3 NSO continues

4. At one o'clock, parents and young people separated for the first time. The students met their group leaders, grabbed ice cream, and then headed off to the classroom where their First Year Experience (FYE) class would meet that semester. It was quite a clever set up. One of their freshmen classes was designated a first year experience class, but it was much more than a class. It had attached to it a one hour class called "First Year Experience" that helped them adjust to college and involved a lot of pizza.

So Lucy's FYE class was connected to a required course called "Central Themes of the Bible." Mac's attached class was "Intro to Sociology." They were smaller sized classes of about 15 that made it possible for them to get to know a professor really well. Only the best and most helpful professors were chosen to teach those classes.

Then for the one hour FYE part, some activity was always planned involving either the professor or their group leader. One week they would go over to the professor's house for supper. Another week they went to see a movie. Around mid-term, they had a pizza party. Meanwhile, both the professor and the group leader met at least once one-on-one with every student to have coffee at the campus coffee shop, "The Grounds."

5. Meanwhile, the parents went to the recital hall to hear the president. She gave them a little flavor of the college, touting its three historic emphases of virtue, scholarship, and service. She especially encouraged them to let their children go, to let them become responsible for the next phase of their lives. She strongly suggested that they resist the urge to visit their children (or vice versa) for at least the next month.

Then at 2:30 was a Consecration Service, where the parents symbolically handed over their children to the Lord. The president spoke again. At one point she invoked Ron Weasley from Harry Potter, "So you're going to suffer, but you're going to be happy about it." She emphasized that for the next three or four years they were going to be challenged intellectually, spiritually, and probably relationally and even physically (the hills on the campus were notorious). But she assured them they would be better prepared for life and whatever job they ended with than at the vast majority of colleges.

At the end of the service the new students marched out of the chapel following a man in a Scottish kilt playing bagpipes. They marched around the "quad," as it was called, and then returned to the chapel for their first class photo. More ice cream and refreshments with their parents, and their parents were off.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

1.2 New Student Orientation

2. So one Wednesday in late August, they and their parents got in a car in south Florida and started driving north. A day and a smidge later, they pulled onto the campus, turning up a steady incline, over a river and up into its beautiful stone campus. Most of the buildings donned stone from the nearby riverbed, a remnant of a previous era of scarcity.

During the first world war there had been a shortage of brick. But someone had the idea of using stone from the river to build what would become the central building. It turned out so well that all future buildings were made with the stone.

The college itself was founded in 1867 just after the Civil War, when the Erie Canal was still going strong. There were visions of tributary canals reaching out over the state and the emergence of trading towns bustling with prosperity. Unfortunately for these dreamers, the railroad soon dashed all their hopes, leaving the small hamlet of Culloden isolated in the beautiful hills of western New York.

In the mid-twentieth century it had grown to the size of 1200, and had largely stayed the same until the great recession, which led it to think deep and hard about its identity. It was long known for its demanding academics and Christian faith and had no interest in becoming a large university. But when it dipped to 1000, its board and leaders went into creative mode. Within five years they were back to their desired spot and now have to turn students away each year.

3. They turned into campus to find a group of enthusiastic students cheering and jumping at the sight of their car. A quick stop amid the students and they were directed across the river to their respective residence halls. Lucy was in Deborah Hall, named after the woman who led Israel into battle in Judges 4. Mac was in Maxwell Hall, named after the great Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. Following an old tradition, men and women lived in different halls, although they were allowed to visit each other's rooms until midnight.

They were early enough to get into their dorms and dawdle a little at the Information Fair before lunch. Lucy and Mac perused a variety of clubs, churches, banks, and volunteer opportunities nearby. The cafeteria had been an important part of Lucy's visit day back in the spring. She had followed the normal process of admission, including a trip to campus. She had liked the cafeteria--you could steer clear of the starch if you wanted, some good veggie options, pizza and ice cream as needed.

Mac had not come for the visit. He had used a track meet as an excuse. His parents had pushed him to apply just in case, although he really had no intention at the time. He was as surprised to be there as anyone...

4. At one o'clock parents and young people separated for the first time...

Friday, August 30, 2019

1.1 Off to College

1. Lucy had always wanted to go to college. She had not particularly enjoyed her middle school or high school experiences. She had been dreaming of college for six years. Finally the day had arrived. She packed up everything she thought she would need and couldn't wait to start the journey.

Mac's story was quite different. He had not been sure if he even wanted to go to college. It was his trip to Spain in the summer that had convinced him. There was so much more to the world than he had ever imagined. He had learned so much Spanish is such a short period of time. Somewhere inside a switch had flipped. He had tasted the forbidden fruit of knowledge and he wanted more.

Lucy wanted to go to Uncle Lee's alma mater, Highlander University. It was situated somewhat remotely in the Allegheny mountains of New York. But what it lacked of the big city it made up for in rivers and woods. It was also an elite school that prided itself on a certain intellectual fearlessness that she found very attractive.

Mac was less convinced. The town had its own share of local restaurants and shops, but he wasn't sure he could live ten miles away from a Burger King or Wendy's. And his parents had always joked about the winters there. For several months they had quoted the line to Lucy from Game of Thrones, "Winter is coming."

To be honest, he settled on Highlander University mainly because Lucy was going there. His dad also showed him a movie from 1986 called Highlander that involved near immortals cutting off each others heads. That sold him... well, that and the fact that Uncle Lee was willing to pay their tuition if they went there.

2. So one Wednesday in late August they and their parents got in a car in south Florida and started driving north...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Years 11 and 12 (2007-2009)

0. 1997, Year of the Hire
1. 1997-1998 First Year Schenck
2. 1998-1999 Married Schenck
3. 1999-2000 Go New Testament
4. 2000-2001 Williams Prayer Chapel
5. 2001-2002 The Year of 9-11
6. 2002-2003 The Greece Trip
7. 2003-2004 The Sabbatical
8. 2004-2005 The Israel Trip
9. 2005-2006 The Year of the Bernii
10. 2006-2007 Seminary Rumblings

This will be my last post in this series. Wednesday morning, d.v., I will rise early and drive to my new home, Houghton College! Expect me to introduce you to/remind you of this fantastic academic community in the days ahead! It has such a rich legacy!

1. President Henry Smith charged me in the summer of 2007 to lead a task force to design a Master of Divinity degree. The task force consisted of Russ Gunsalus, Keith Drury, David Smith, Norm Wilson and myself. Smith charged us to design an MDIV which was where the Association of Theological Schools was headed rather than where it currently was.

President Smith was taking the process in stages. This task force was only to design the degree. There would be another task force to decide whether to start a seminary and where this new degree would be housed. Just as Henry Smith had initially, I met with the three General Superintendents at the time (Earle Wilson, Tom Arminger, Jerry Pence) to get feedback on how the new MDIV was shaping up.

I would say that the resulting MDIV had three key innovative features. I would credit Keith Drury for the best of them. The first was a local church focus. We wanted to up-end the priorities of ministerial education. Whereas the traditional seminary tended to focus first on theory and the foundational disciplines of Bible, theology, and church history, we wanted to focus on the practical and how to do the work of the ministry. There was a bias toward problem based learning and inductive learning from practice. So you would need to be connected to a church for about 20 hours a week to be in the degree.

The second was spiritual formation. I remember meeting in the downstairs, "Keith Springer room" when Keith Drury rattled off a spiritual formation sequence that would accompany every semester of the MDIV. Rather than only focus on spiritual disciplines, the whole sequence would lead the student through a process of change--1) how does change happen, 2) who are you now, 3) where are you going, 4) you'll need help to get there, 5) classical spiritual disciplines, 6) crossing the finish line.

I probably need to take the blame for the third distinctive part, which is a beautiful idea but maybe not the greatest in practice. The courses would be integrated and team-taught. You would have Bible, theology, church history, and the practice of ministry all in the same course.

It was soon decided that the process of approving the new degree would go through the College of Graduate Studies, which put the ball in Russ' domain. A financial pro-forma was made (by Allyn Beekman). And before you know it Senate had approved the degree, August 22, 2007. In February 2008 Russ got the old gang back together on retreat to write the first course. More to come.

2. 2007 was the year the old College Wesleyan Church was deconsecrated (October 2007) and the church moved into the new building where it is today on 38th Street. This move enabled the Division of Religion and Philosophy to move into the old CWC while Noggle was renovated. So religion classes met in the old College Wesleyan church that spring.

3. David Vardaman joined the faculty in the fall of 2007. He had been on staff at College Wesleyan and he slid right into teaching counseling and leadership courses for the Religion Division. I have immense respect for him, not only for his leadership insights but also for his character. I've mentioned that he will be taking over as Interim Dean this week.

While I'm at it, let me mention some of the other cast of characters who have come (and some gone) in these years. Scott Burson had been working in marketing from 2002-2008. In 2008 he joined the Religion Division teaching philosophy. He is probably IWU's best online professor on the residential side. He also advises the Sports Ministry major. He's a C. S. Lewis expert, leading regular England trips, and he is also an expert on Brian McLaren. He publishes a great deal.

Abson Joseph came in 2011 to teach New Testament. He would then become seminary dean in January 2017. For a time Bart Bruehler had a joint appointment between the Religion Division and the adult programs, beginning around 2010. He is currently working entirely on the adult side. Sarah Derck (whom I will be joining at Houghton this week!) taught Old Testament for us in the 2011-12 year while Lennox was on sabbatical, as I recall.

Although she was in the Honors College, IWU was privileged to have Amy Peeler teach at the university from 2010-12, I believe. I wish we could have found a position for her, but I guess she's probably happy enough at Wheaton. :-)

4. The most interesting teaching venture of the year was a Hebrews course I taught in a blended fashion in spring 2008. You could come to the classroom (which was in the southeast corner of CWC) or you could attend virtually or you could watch the recording later. I tried to encourage people outside of IWU not only to join and participate but to take the class. There were a few students taking it on a graduate level as well.

IWU was using Adobe Connect at the time for its conferencing software. It wasn't the best. Zoom has proved to be the bomb. But it worked fine. It was a great experiment. Participants in the experiment included individuals like Aaron Cloud, Jordan Gardner, Logan Hoffman, Mary Nolen, Annette (Payne) Hoyt, Chris Tabone, Josh Wiley, and Joel Yoshonis.

One thing I learned is that most students would choose the online option over the classroom. There were usually only a handful of people who joined me face-to-face. The majority also did not come to the live session but watched the recording. I set up a blog for discussion after the live session.

In the fall of 2007 Eric Key got a group together to do one of those value added electives. He wanted to study hermeneutics on a more advanced level. We read Kevin Vanhoozer's Is There a Meaning in this Text and Grant Osborne's The Hermeneutical Spiral. Students in that group included Johnnie Blair, Greg Boyland, Brian Episcopo, Hannah (Smith) Episcopo, John Harmon, Heath Jones, Eric Key, Josh Lemons, and Zach Working.

Other courses these two years included:
  • I taught General Epistles both in the fall of 2007 and 2009. 2007 included students like Greg Boyland, Glen Davis, Joel Higgenbotham, Eric Key, Abby Lennox, Bryan Lloyd, Burke Sullivan, and Chris Tabone. 2009 included Jeff Bakos, John Miller, Graham Smith, and Josh Wiley.
  • I taught Intertestamental Period in both the fall of 2007 and 2009. The 2009 class would be the last time the course was taught at IWU up to the present. Students in 2007 included Anton Folz, John Harmon, Scott Hendricks, Elijah McKnight, Josh Wiley, and Jonathan Woods. The 2009 class included Joel Clark, Michael Henry, Caleb Landis, and Josh Rodriguez.
  • In the spring of 2009 I taught Corinthians and Thessalonians. Students included Jeremy Armiger, Angela (Bozak) Scully, Joel Clark, Sharon Hendricks, Liz McClellan, Adam Otto, Zach Vincent, and Joel Larison.
  •  I taught IBS in the fall of 2007. I see Mark Shepherd, Anthony Livoti, and Emily (Voss) Slabaugh in the fall (by the way, this was the group that I somehow mixed with my 9-11 class. I'm wondering if this class met in that upstairs room in Noggle). 
  • I taught beginning Greek in the spring 2008. In the class were students like Wes Ball, Jeff Bakos, Melissa Curran, Simeon Purkey, Josh Wiley, and Ryan Wright.
  • I also have fond memories of teaching Greek IV in CWC to Elijah McKnight and Glenn Davis. We often didn't get much Greek done.
5. We had a wealth of visitors come through in the 2007-2008 year:
  • I forgot to mention that we cooperated with Taylor University to bring New Testament scholar I. Howard Marshall to speak on November 15, 2006. He has since passed.
  • Bill Placher came from Wabash College to speak November 1, 2007. He also has since passed.
  • The very next week Jamie Smith came, November 7, 2007. Several of us remarked that he was the most Wesleyan Calvinist we had ever met, probably because his origins were in Pentecostalism.
  • Randy Maddox came for the Religion Colloquium in April 2008.
  • Ken Collins presented the Cox Holiness Lectures in March 2008. These lectures were set up by Leo Cox who used to teach in the Religion Division.
  • Randy Maddox came in April 2008 to speak.
  • Mark Noll wandered through in March.
6. I was on a couple committees in those final days before the jump to seminary. I found myself on the gen ed committee for the first time in the 2008-2009 year. There were forces that I didn't like at the time but have come to accept. Brad Garner, I believe, was hoping to convince us to go to more of a buffet model of gen eds.

The other was a task force that had to do with the changing structure of the university. The university would implement a five "principal academic unit" structure in 2009--CAS, CAPS, Grad School, Nursing, and Seminary. The task force had to figure out what the representation of each would be in the University Senate. It got pretty heated. I thought it appropriate for CAS and CAPS to have the same number of representatives. Another member of the committee strongly argued that it should be by number of faculty.

A compromise was reached, as I recall. But it was the first time I remember ever losing my cool in debate over such things.

7. My blogging continued.
  • A piece on evolution is one of my posts with the most hits over time: "Why William Jennings Bryan Opposed Evolution"
  • A post that gives a good deal of insight into my philosophy of innovation is Erasmus Wins
  • In the election of 2008, I posted a video of me reading "Green Eggs and McCain" to my kids. The reaction was strong enough within the first few minutes that I took it back down.
  • I wrote the majority of a possible book, Brief Guide to Critical Issues in the Bible.
  • I used the blog to continue work on my philosophy textbook. I would largely finish it while on another Fulbright sabbatical in Munich, Germany in the fall of 2011.
8. At long last, a revised and supplemented version of my dissertation came out with Cambridge University Press in January 2008. It was some 12 years after the original was finished. (sigh) At the 2007 SBL Jewish Christianity Group I presented another rumbling of my Scotland idea: "The Levitical Cultus and the Partitioning of the Ways in Hebrews."

The Theological Symposium of the Wesleyan Church in 2009 was on hermeneutics, and I presented again. A particularly interesting paper to me was that of Bob Black, where he gave a history of the idea of inerrancy in the Wesleyan Church.

9. In the spring of 2008, Dr. Henry Smith charged me to lead yet another task force. This one was the Seminary Task Force, dealing specifically with the possibility of housing the new MDIV degree in a seminary. At one point in the process, all three general superintendents came to a meeting at IWU (unprecedented). In August, we had a site visit from the Higher Learning Commission to approve our concept for an MDIV degree.

At the June General Conference, I met with all the District Superintendents to get feedback and buy-in. I offered my idea that, "Real denominations have seminaries. Are we mature enough as a denomination to have a seminary?" One DS quipped in return, "Or are we now in decline and so wanting a seminary?" :-)

A restructuring of the university was approved at the April board meeting, 2009. And so on July 1, 2009, Russ became the Chief Operating Officer of the new seminary, and I the Dean. Nate Lamb came back to do admissions, and Scott Burson helped with marketing.

As for the rest of the acts of the seminary during my six years as Dean from 2009-2015, are they not written in the annals known as Six Years a Dean?

Here endeth the IWU reading.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Year 10 at IWU (2006-2007)

0. 1997, Year of the Hire
1. 1997-1998 First Year Schenck
2. 1998-1999 Married Schenck
3. 1999-2000 Go New Testament
4. 2000-2001 Williams Prayer Chapel
5. 2001-2002 The Year of 9-11
6. 2002-2003 The Greece Trip
7. 2003-2004 The Sabbatical
8. 2004-2005 The Israel Trip
9. 2006-2007 The Year of the Bernii

1. Dave Ward arrived as a homiletics professor in the fall of 2006. He is not only brilliant in general. He is a fantastic professor. I believe he was in his senior year my first year at IWU. Then he went to Asbury. Then he worked for Kingdom Building Ministries.

The Religion Division wisely nabbed him while he was working on his doctorate at Princeton. This is a strategy that colleges and seminaries have often used over the years when a promising alumnus/a might otherwise be in high demand once they finish their doctoral work. Hire them early. Sometimes these institutions will even help pay for the person's doctoral work.

Sometime in there Dave and I went through Jannach's German for Reading Knowledge, the book I had used at Asbury with Steven O'Malley. However, he was much quicker to learn German than I was. I saw this aptitude for languages in 2013 when we went to Turkey too. Dave would of course be Dean of STM from 2012-2016.

2. Meanwhile, Jim Lo left on a pilgrimage that would take him first to Bethel University and then back to IWU in 2007 as Dean of the Chapel. [1] He would finally return to teaching in STM with me in 2015.

The current chapel was built in 2009. It is a magnificent structure. I made some comment during the planning, wondering if the new chapel could be built in something like the shape of a cathedral (I had the Duke University Chapel in mind). The thought made Henry Smith chuckle. :-)

 I haven't mentioned that in the years leading up to Jim's transition, he created a program for missions trips called World Impact. I always thought this was fun because in my earlier years he had been somewhat critical of short term missions trips. I think we even had a colloquium once debating whether they did more good or harm.

The critique is that, if the team is not properly prepared, they can go with no real cross-cultural awareness. One can inadvertently be offensive. How many church people on missions trips are condescending toward the people they visit? Some can have a savior complex. Some can be an excessive burden, coming with North American expectations. In a true learning experience, the visitor gains far more than those they visit.

World Impact would later be taken out of the Religion Division and eventually became the Office of Global Engagement, currently under Jim Vermilya. It has become far more than missions trips. In fact, it is much more a matter of intercultural learning than missions now.

3. Another arrival was Jolly Beyioku, who taught International Community Development for nine years. This current year God made it possible for STM to hire Sarah Farmer to teach Community Development. The program had declined significantly over the last decade, but even in one year she has significantly revived it!

I might also mention here Joy Tong, who came for one year in 2011-2012 to teach intercultural studies after Steve Pettis left. After that year, she left IWU for Purdue.

4. The classes I taught were in a fairly regular two year rotation by now, including Intertestamental Literature and Latin.
  • I was not able to find my class list for first year Latin in the fall of 2006, but I enjoyed a talented group of five students who had taken Latin before they came to IWU. We did Latin 3 and 4 together. These students included Sarah (Smith) Funnell, Leah Norton, and Curt Schrock. In the fall, we read excerpts from the Aeneid in Latin.
  • Prison Epistles was in the rotation in the fall of 2006. Some in that class were Aaron Cloud, Zach Coffin, Brian Episcopo, Hannah (Smith) Episcopo, Aaron Gross, Heath Jones, Ryan VanMatre, Chad Waddington
  • Romans was also in the fall of 2006. Students included the likes of Jonathan Bell, Jason Farrell, Eric Key, Amber Livermore, Aaron Thompson, Zach Working
  • In my fall 2006 intro to philosophy, I see Brian Scramlin and Bethany Perkins among the dozens of students.
  • For Honors NT in the fall, I see Sarah (Smith) Funnell and Joel Yoshonis.
  • In the spring for Corinthians and Thessalonians I see Marc Buwalda, Melissa Curran, Glenn Davis, Scott Hendricks, Lynne Payne, Brian Scramlin, Kristen (Shafer) Larrowe, Troy Young, and others.
  • For second year Greek in 1 John in the fall, I see Jared Kendall, Sarah (Smith) Funnell, and Amber Livermore. For Romans in the spring we added Brian Bither.
  • At some point in here, Mike Cline did an independent study on the new perspective on Paul. I had done other independent studies over the years. Tom Seat and I did an independent study on N. T. Wright. Sarah (Smith) Funnell did an independent study on Coptic in 2008. I was of no help to her, however, and she didn't need it. 
5. In 2007, IWU would build Elder Hall, named after the magisterial Marj Elder, who taught at IWU for decades as an English professor. The university had also purchased Center School, where my step-daughters Stefanie and Stacy had finished up their elementary school once upon a time. BTW, the fall of 2016 was Stefanie's quinceñera.

Center School is currently being used for math classes, but I sense it will be transformed at some point in the near future.

6. My main scholarship for the year was the publication of an article in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly: "2 Corinthians 4:13 and the πίστις Χριστοῦ Debate." I believe Kevin Wright had helped do some research for me when I worked on it.

From the late 1980s on, there was a long-standing debate about whether the expression "faith of Christ" in Galatians 2:16 and Romans 3:22 referred to faith in Jesus Christ or the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Both readings are possible from the Greek. I personally couldn't make up my mind. I couldn't find sufficient evidence.

I found my opinion through the back door. It seems to me that the logic of 2 Corinthians 4:13 presupposes the faith of Jesus. So if there is one reference to Jesus' faith, we know it is a category for Paul and something we might expect to find elsewhere. I would end up arguing that Paul is arguing in these verses "from Hays to Dunn," the two key voices on this subject.

7. In the fall of 2006 I gave a speculative paper at SBL called "The Tale of the Shipwreck" to the Formation of Luke-Acts Section. I felt like it received crickets in response. Late in the year I wrote an article on mediators and mediation for the New Interpreter's Bible Dictionary. Finally, I gave a paper at the June Ecclesiology Conference at HQ on "The Church and the Spirit".

Now finishing my tenth year, I was eligible to apply for full professor. Again, the process was not nearly as refined as it now is. I believe it was Darlene Bressler (2008) who would help facilitate a rubric that involved four main categories: scholarship, teaching, service, and faith. I like these. I also remember her introducing the book Scholarship and Christian Faith, on faith integration. It was received positively by the faculty. We liked it in the Religion Division because it engaged more pietist traditions in addition to the more cognitive ones.

8. It was an interesting year for blogging. I got into a very hot argument with a former Martinite over predestination and eternal security. His handle was "Once a Wesleyan." You can find the collection of our back and forth here. I got pretty sarcastic in the debate. It was at this point that Keith Drury introduced me to the saying, "Don't wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty but the pig likes it."

Another rather controversial exchange had to do with the removal of Jeff Greenway from the presidency of Asbury Seminary. This controversy took place in September and October of 2006. Greenway ended up leaving Asbury, and Asbury itself was dinged by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) for its handling of the crisis.

I ended up getting involved after a post I made in September called, "Crossroads or Cross-way at Asbury." The conflict was directly between the president and the leaders of the Board of Trustees. The faculty voted almost unanimously for Greenway to be reinstated after his initial suspension, then later for a mediator to be brought in. A significant person at Asbury began to feed me resolutions of the faculty, which I then passed on from the blog.

Most Wesleyans were not impressed with the way the leaders of the board handled the situation (with some exceptions). Ironically, Jeff Greenway was scheduled to speak at IWU's chapel the day he left. He would have been the first president of Asbury to come to IWU to speak. The Religion Division, although the first or second individual feeder of students to Asbury at that time (as many as 70 students at one time, I think), had felt taken for granted. Greenway seemed to be moving in our direction.

It was another event that opened the door wider for IWU to start its own seminary. At the time, Asbury had an incredibly strong alumni base in the Wesleyan Church. It was the place to do seminary education for decades, and I myself went there. We received push-back as it was, but you could argue that the fact Wesleyan relations with Asbury were not particularly fervent at that moment was another element in the overall equation.

Another take-away is that you almost never can keep things hidden in the internet age. Things are going to get out. President Trump has wielded Twitter like a weapon of mass destruction. I've heard that public announcements of decisions on the General Board of the Wesleyan Church are sent out real time because they know the board members will be texting them out anyway.

9. In the fall of 2006, David Smith and Russ Gunsalus called a joint meeting of the Division of Religion and Graduate Studies in Ministry. Bob Whitesel was there too. The ultimate goal, as I remember, was to let the president know that we were all united on the idea of starting a seminary.

The group drafted a set of eight values that we believed should typify the new seminary:
  • It should be missional and kingdom-focused.
  • It should be accessible, available online.
  • It should be application focused rather than primarily theoretical
  • It should be spiritually formative.
  • It should be innovative... not like your father's seminary (as Henry Smith and Carl Shepherd used to say).
  • It should add value--take a person at one point and take them further.
  • It should have high quality teaching and learning.
  • It should be global in its reach.
Incidentally, the current phase of Wesley Seminary has four values which have both retained and supplemented these: accessible, transformative, comprehensive, and global.

In the fall of 2006, Henry Smith invited Bill Miller to come from ATS to share a little about where seminary standards were headed. He told us, for example, that ATS had shifted to require only 72 hours toward an MDIV.

[1] I haven't mentioned that Steve Lennox was Dean of the Chapel for two years, from 2005-2007.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Year 9 at IWU (2005-2006)

0. 1997, Year of the Hire
1. 1997-1998 First Year Schenck
2. 1998-1999 Married Schenck
3. 1999-2000 Go New Testament
4. 2000-2001 Williams Prayer Chapel
5. 2001-2002 The Year of 9-11
6. 2002-2003 The Greece Trip
7. 2003-2004 The Sabbatical
8. 2004-2005 The Israel Trip

1. I forgot yesterday to mention the senior prank in April 2005. They kidnapped the professors at 6am and brought us to Noggle for breakfast. You'll notice President David Wright in the picture. I also forgot to mention that he wandered through the Religion Division that year (2004-2005) on his way to be Dean at Azusa Pacific's Haggard School of Theology in fall 2006.

Dr. Wright had been instrumental in the explosion of the College of Adult and Professional Studies around the time I came to IWU. I've already mentioned that he saved the MA in Ministry program by putting it online in 2002. Then he handed the program over to Russ Gunsalus as Director.

He and his brother also had a hugely innovative idea that they worked on for a couple years. If I remember correctly, it was to create something like a roundhouse to convert bits and pieces of competencies into college credit. It was twenty years ahead of its time, and we can now elements of it in play today with badges and certificates.

2. I also forgot to mention a fairly important moment in the pre-history of the seminary that took place in the spring of 2005. My final posts will increasingly deal with the lead-up to the founding of the seminary.

In the spring of 2005, a seminary was in conversation with IWU first to move its campus to Marion and then perhaps to have a branch campus here in Marion. The president and dean of the seminary came to campus and some of us from the Religion Division met with them (including myself, Keith, and Steve Lennox, who was in his final year as Chair). It seemed like their proposal diminished the longer IWU interacted with them, perhaps because their faculty were not keen on moving.

At one point, a rather blunt (but completely fair) question was asked. We could see how associating with IWU's Religion Division would be beneficial to them. For example, it would provide them with a fairly straightforward potential stream of students. IWU was nearing the peak of its growth trajectory. It had far greater resources than the small seminary did. And the Religion Division was pretty strong on its own so could provide top flight adjuncts.

Thus came the question from someone. "I see how this partnership would benefit you, but how would it benefit us?"

You can imagine that this question was not received well, although there was no good answer in response. I suspect it marked the end of the conversation. But it presented the key question that, as usual, Keith Drury formulated crisply. "IWU has only one seminary card to play in the next ten years. Are we going to play it on this opportunity?"

3. In fall 2005, Henry Smith became president-elect. Jim Barnes would then step down and become chancellor in the fall of 2006. Smith asked Bud Bence then to serve as Vice President for Academic Affairs in the fall of 2005, a role he would fill until 2008. Bud had been Dean at Houghton in the early 1990s.

Meanwhile, Steve Lennox stepped down as Chair of the Religion Division and David Smith took on the mantle. David would then be Religion Chair until he left for Kingswood in 2010. The tradition of taking on the mantle of leadership for a time and then stepping back into teaching is a long one in STM. It is a model that I deeply admire.

I love the ancient story of Cincinnatus. He was a Roman farmer. But every once and a while, the Romans would come get him to lead them into battle. He would grab his toga, lead them to victory, then go back to farming.

4. The Religion Division added four faculty in the fall of 2005. Can you believe it? Two were a set--Elaine and Brian Bernius. Hiring husband-wife teams is tricky, both for the couple and for the organization. In their case, it has worked spectacularly. They are both Old Testament professors.

Elaine has served IWU well and is so widely respected at the university. More than one of us has tried unsuccessfully to prod her into leadership. In a pinch, she stepped into leadership of the General Education committee I think in 2010 and served in that role for seven or eight years. Anyone whose ever been involved with Gen Ed knows that it is one of the most contentious and sensitive domains of the university. The conflict can be exasperating. I am immensely impressed at how she navigated those years.

Elaine has since stepped down from gen eds, but she continues to shepherd one of its offspring--the First Year Experience (FYE). This concept is rather clever too. Rather than zap credit hours with a course dedicated just to orientation, it envelopes an existing requirement within a co-curricular package. Certain gen ed sections are designated as FYE. Good faculty mentors teach these sections and are given resources for pizza, coffee, and social gathering (and a little "cheddar cheese" for the trouble). These courses actually begin during New Student Orientation (NSO) week, so the student already has a support group before the first day of class.

Brian Bernius would eventually become a Division Chair after the Religion Division became the School of Theology and Ministry. I think this change took place while Dave Ward was Dean (2012-2016). Ward is of course organizationally brilliant, the kind of person who could easily be a college president. So he organized STM with two division chairs whose form relates to disciplinary areas but whose function relates more to a division of labor.

Interpretation. Brian is Chair over Bible, theology, and history in terms of content, but his function is much more to oversee the development of curriculum and assignment of classes. By the way, this division is called "Religious and Ministerial Studies" because STM has no desire for the Bible, theology, and history to become an academic ghetto. Keeping ministry in the title was important.

But in terms of giftedness, Brian is brilliant at curriculum. His economization of curricular atoms is so intertwined that he regularly has to give the registrar chocolate to atone for his sins. It's good for the students but sometimes requires some extra work for the infrastructure. The other chair is David Vardaman, over the Division of Practical Ministry. David will be taking over for me as Interim Dean this next year.

5. The Religion Division also managed to hire two intercultural studies professors in the fall of 2005--Norm Wilson and Steve Pettis. Steve stayed for four years, I believe, then left to pursue a business venture. Norm on the other hand has remained in STM to this day, now as Professor of Global Ministries.

Norm served for years as a missionary and has brought a passion for justice and diversity. His Spanish is peerless, enabling him to assist other areas like Spanish Teacher Education and Spanish. He has faithfully reminded us over the years of our need to recruit and retain diverse faculty. He is zealous to provide opportunities in urban ministry for our students too. He and I went up to Mick Veach's church two years ago to explore possibilities, and Norm has also tried to work out ways for our students to connect with Shepherd Community Church in Indianapolis.

I see that Bob Whitesel came on the faculty of the university full time in the fall of 2005. In Henry Smith's first year, the university would consist of three main units--the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the College of Adult and Professional Studies (CAPS), and the College of Graduate Studies (CGS). The Graduate Ministry department would now be in CGS, with Russ as Director and Bob as the only full-time faculty person (and thus faculty chair :-).

6. Now to the courses and students I taught in 2005-2006:
  • Fall 2005 I taught General Epistles. Students included Jonathan Bell, Dan Bellinger, Chris and Rachel DeMarse, Aaron Duvall, Jason Farell, Amber Livermore, and more.
  • I taught two sections of Honors College New Testament in the fall, with students like Stephen Cady, Brian Clark, and Jacob Hogan. I used deSilva's textbook. I changed textbook every time in part to get free books. I used Green, Achtemeier, and Thompson once. I used Luke Timothy Johnson once. I used Raymond Brown once.
  • I suppose this is as good a point as any to mention that the Honors College would eventually create its own self-contained gen ed curriculum around 2009, I believe. It is therefore much more integrated than the gen ed curriculum of the broader campus. There are strengths and weaknesses to this approach, IMO. 
  • I taught Intertestamental Literature again in the fall of 2005. Students included Mike Cline, J Fry, Ryan VanMatre, and more.
  • I taught Corinthians and Thessalonians in the spring. Students included Scott Ferguson, Daniel Freemyer, Ian Swyers, Mark Ziegler and more (to get a sense of class sizes, I had 25 students)
  • I also taught Hebrews in the spring with students like Brian Bither, Rachel DeMarse, Scott Hendricks, Abby (Hontz) VandenBosch, Jared Kendall, Ben Robinson, Stephen Mowat, and Paul Ward (34 students).
  • I taught IBS in the spring, I think for the first time at IWU. (The name had changed at some point from "Methods of Bible Study" to "Inductive Bible Study). There were students like Zach Bardsley, Greg Boyland, Glen Davis, John Harmon, Kimberly Hunt, and Kip Shipley.
  • I mentioned earlier that I used to tell prospective faculty that, if they could find 6 students and were willing to teach an overload, they could teach anything. This spring I taught an elective course, an advanced topic course in New Testament studies--"What are they saying about the New Testament?" We read Stephen Neil, Tom Wright, Jimmy Dunn, and more. I think Eric Key may have had something to do with prompting this course. People in the class included him, Brian Bither, Brent Dongell, Alan Downing, Elijah McKnight, Paul Ward, and more (18 students). 
7. This is the year that Jerry Pattengale tapped me to be "Director of Visiting Scholars," using money from a Lilly grant to bring scholars to campus. The themes mostly had to do with faculty and student development. For example, in October 2005 we brought John Braxton and Ellen Brier to campus. They spoke on topics like retention of students and how to develop in the area of scholarship.

I led the first Ash Wednesday service in Williams Chapel on March 1, 2006. I mentioned that Dr. Cherry has long since taken this over. Her worship students currently plan, run, and minister in the service each year... except for this past year when it fell on spring break.

I also found another infected memory. I haven't entirely untangled it yet. Somehow I thought I was leading a liturgical service when my Bell's palsy started. But all my records (including my blog) indicate that the "cathedral service" started in the 2005-2006 year. I had thought Judy Crossman asked me to do it, which makes sense in 2005 since it was this year that she left her Dean role at IWU and went on staff at College Wesleyan. Memory is a fascinating thing!

8. I joined Facebook on February 4, 2004, about four months after it became public. I see that Bethany Perkins made the first post to my wall: "Hey, Just thought I would put something on your wall! See ya and Tuesday!"

I blogged a lot of content that year, including:
  • What is the "Wesleyan" at IWU? It was an attempt to identify what the Wesleyan identity of the college was. I've dabbled with this a lot, including a self-published booklet: The True Wesleyan.
  • I blogged on tongues.
  • I opened for a time cafetutor.com for instructional videos and such. YouTube eventually made that site obsolete.
  • I evaluated different translations.
  • I wrote one of my position pieces, "Wesleyan View of Communion".
  • I wrote a piece on February 26, 2006, hinting at the idea of IWU starting a seminary, but it would get me into a little hot water with my friends at Asbury: "Whatever Became of Asbury?"
9. We did indeed have coffee chats with Dr. Henry Smith on starting a seminary in the summer of 2006. Dr. Smith was about to become president and he was praying whether starting a seminary might be an early contribution of his presidency. He invited a number of us over to the president's house to talk about it, and there was a flurry of emails between us promoting the idea. My thought was, "Real denominations have seminaries. Are we a real denomination or what?" For the second talk, Bud Bence invited a number of people over to his house.

10. From May 30 to June 1, 2006, the Wesleyan Church hosted a "Truth Conference." I gave a paper on "The Bible and Postmodernism." The paper before me was given by Carlton Fisher of Houghton. I was encouraged to know that his thinking and mine were largely on the same page.

11. There were a number of significant moments for my academic career that year as well. In the fall of 2005, I joined the steering committee of the Hebrews Consultation in the Society of Biblical Literature. Several of us, including David Bauer of Asbury and George Guthrie of Union, had proposed such a unit. But there was another group with a similar proposal, including Gabrielle Gelardini, Craig Koester, and Ellen Aitken. SBL had us merge the two proposals and Gabrielle would chair for the next few years.

I gave two papers for that beginning year. The one has since been published, "An Archaeology of Hebrews' Tabernacle Imagery." I am quite proud of that piece, even if it has not convinced anyone. The other was a state of the question piece.

My commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians came out in April 2006, my first book published with Wesleyan Publishing house. I would go on to publish 20 more pieces with them, and they took over or printed in different versions four of my books with Triangle. So I currently have 25 books published with WPH, more than any other author they have.

Very significant to me was another conference at St. Andrews in Scotland in July 2006: "Theology and the Epistle to the Hebrews." I wrote a paper on Hebrews' theology of Scripture of which I am also very proud. It would be published in the conference volume.

I had a spark at that conference. To me it was one of those trajectory solidifying moments. In my early career, I had largely dated Hebrews to the later first century. But I had been dabbling with the idea that it might have been more of a consolation after the destruction of the temple. Richard Hays' paper was moving in the same direction.

When I taught a graduate class in Hebrews using David deSilva's book, I had also been struck with how Hebrews 5:11-6:2 really fit a Gentile audience more than a Jewish audience. In my early days, I mocked the idea that Hebrews might have been written to Gentiles. But these verses gnawed at me.

Then the spark. What if Hebrews was written to a group of Gentile converts who were tempted to abandon their faith after the destruction of the temple? It was exactly the kind of paradigm shift that you would expect to happen under the new perspective on Judaism that Jimmy Dunn, Tom Wright, and others had been such an integral part of. This is because the older paradigm could not see clearly that Gentiles would have seen themselves converting to a form of Judaism, not to a distinct religion. The temple would have been important to many of them just as it no doubt was to most early Jewish Christians. (Raymond Brown and John Meier's Antioch and Rome was a catalyst for me here as well)

I was desperate to publish the idea as soon as possible, because it was so clear a next step that I figured a whole wave of people would suddenly see it and want to publish on it. Of course I was wrong on that one--there was and is no such tide. In fact, I am quite an outlier here--especially in American circles. Either they don't see it or I am crazy. I'll let you decide. :-)

I worked the new idea into the revised publication of my dissertation in 2008, so I did get it out in nuce. But it has taken me 13 years to get the fuller form out. It's depressing but it takes me 10-15 years to get my scholarly work from concept to print, unfortunately.

Angie went with me to Scotland. She took a day trip to Glasgow during that time to see some art, which she loves. By the way, Ardelia Williams was always helpful to her in helping her know what to see on these trips (e.g., which museums to visit). Angie also got to meet some Hebrews scholars, including the up and coming David Moffitt and Amy Peeler. They are now the leaders of the field!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Year 8 at IWU (2004-2005)

0. 1997, Year of the Hire
1. 1997-1998 First Year Schenck
2. 1998-1999 Married Schenck
3. 1999-2000 Go New Testament
4. 2000-2001 Williams Prayer Chapel
5. 2001-2002 The Year of 9-11
6. 2002-2003 The Greece Trip
7. 2003-2004 The Sabbatical

1. I started blogging on September 16, 2004. I did it quietly, because I was only looking for an outlet to express what I was thinking. Part of the attraction of teaching for me is that I like to transmit. I like to talk about what I'm thinking. Blogging was a natural outlet.

The problem with social media is of course that everyone can see what you're saying. When there are people in front of me or when I'm in a personal conversation, I customize what I say to the situation. If I'm talking to a Trump supporter, I talk a certain way. If I'm talking to a "Never Trumper," I talk a different way.

Prior to blogging, I suspect most anyone thought that I agreed with them on everything they said. I don't like conflict. I try to keep the peace. I blend in.

Social media created a new dynamic to my life that I had never experienced before. Suddenly my thoughts were out in the open for everyone to see. Scholars could see my silly thoughts and my practical thoughts (although top scholars usually weren't on social media). Liberals could see my conservative thoughts, and conservatives could see my liberal thoughts.

World War III erupted. I rarely if ever go looking for the conflict. I just want to express thoughts. Yes, sometimes those are critical thoughts. But my friends on opposite ends of all sorts of spectra come to those thoughts ready for a fight.

This has led to a process of sanctification. "A soft answer turns away anger" has often been a key verse (Prov. 15:1).

2. Facebook especially accentuated this issue when I joined in 2005. But I started blogging in the fall of 2004 as the election approached. I was concerned about the Iraq War and some of the trajectories of the Bush administration.

Not many people paid attention to my blogging at first. As I look back over the blogging of that year, I see a little dabbling in politics. I can see I was very cautious.

You can also see how I began to use my blog as a catalyst for writing. It is motivating for me personally to have an audience when I'm writing. It doesn't have to be many people, just a few. It keeps me going. I wrote most of my books with Wesleyan Publishing House, as well as my philosophy textbook, through blogging.

It is possible that blogging stunted my scholarly writing. Jimmy Dunn poked a little fun at James McGrath and I for blogging in those days. You could easily argue that energy I spent on blogging could have instead fed the book on the afterlife I haven't finished. You could argue that other books like the publication of my edited dissertation in 2008 would have happened sooner. And of course there are many students who might have wondered why I had time to blog when they had not received their papers back.

It is what it is. Some topics that year included:
  • Debates over the TNIV's use of "brothers and sisters." This debate would dethrone the NIV and spur on the rise of the ESV. Although the ESV is a good translation in many respects, the fact that it was birthed in resistance to the inclusion of women has never sat well with me. I do not promote it as a version for Wesleyans.
  • I wrote what I consider one of my key position statements, on inerrancy in the Wesleyan Church.
  • I did my first "real time" blogging through Passion Week.
  • I wrote quite a bit on sin, even a booklet I never published: "A Short Account of Biblical Salvation." This was prompted by the "Saving Grace" conference at HQ. Wesleyan HQ has a theological symposium every other year and in those days was having a meeting of Wesleyan educators the alternate year. Bounds presented a paper on various positions by church traditions on sin and sanctification, and Mel Dieter gave some of his reminiscences as well.
  • I opened kenschenck.com in June 2005.
  • I blogged on Israel and women in ministry. More on those below.
3. As I've said before, I taught a lot in those days. I usually taught 6 classes in the fall and 6 classes in the spring, May term, and I was frequently teaching online for Asbury at the same time. Here are some of the classes that year. I'm trying especially to mention people whom I know are reading these. :-)
  • In the fall of 2004 I taught an evening philosophy in Burns Hall before it was renovated. It was a horrible classroom and the only time I ever taught in there. However, it did have fun students in it like Megan (McGuire) Parton and Spencer Lloyd. Those were the days before wireless, when holding attention was a premium, so there were lots of breaks and group activities.
  • I taught Latin again that fall. The class had students in it like Tiffany (Good) Meador, John Harmon, Barton Price, Blake Chastain, and Aaron Shepherd. It looks like Scott Hendricks joined in second semester.
  • Second year Greek continued with 1 John in the fall and Philippians in the spring. Students included Jonathan Dodrill, Blake Chastain, Barton Price, Kara (Snyder) Kensinger, Debbie Wooters, Kevin Wright, and David Paul Jones. Looks like Randy Dewing joined us in the spring.
  • New Testament in the fall included the likes of Kami (Clark) Mauldin, while the spring included Scott Hendricks, Sandy (Horst) Shaw, and Chelsea Ponce.
  • In the fall for Prison Epistles, I see Tiffany (Good) Meador (who did it as an honors class), Barton Price, Jarred Bauer. 
  • I also taught Romans in the fall, with people in the class like Matt Beck, Kyle Parton, J Fry, Steve Johnson, Devin Rose, Kara Kensinger, Nathan Lail. Philip Gormong, and Kevin Wright.
  • I taught Corinthians and Thessalonians in spring 2005, with students like Ian Swyers, Aaron Gross, and Daniel Freemyer.
4. The fall of 2004 saw the entrance of Dr. Constance Cherry to the Division. Henry Smith also came as Executive Vice President that fall. He would become president the next year.

In the 15 years since Dr. Cherry came to IWU, she has become one of the top scholars of worship in the world. As I write this post, she is in Australia giving seminars on worship. Earlier this summer her work was featured in China. Her 2010 book, The Worship Architect, has been translated into Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Indonesian. My biggest regret is that we were not able to create a PhD in Practical Theology that would have featured worship as one of the specializations, with her as the key mentor.

In the spring of 2005 she would teach a course on women in ministry for the first time. In some respects it is sad we had such a course--it shouldn't be needed. The three or four times she taught it, she would bring in David Smith and myself to present some exegetical work. He would do 1 Timothy 2:12-15 and I would do 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

Here is a link to the first of several videos recording the 2009 class. In those days YouTube wouldn't let you post more than 10 minutes of video. That March was also the first time I blogged through the issue of women in ministry. I would often thereafter have a post each year defending women in ministry.

5. There were a couple other things of note the fall of 2004. In October, President Barnes had Michael Boivin and myself present a summary of our Fulbright activities the previous year to some of the board of Trustees. Boivin was quite a character, a psychology professor known for his intellect and fiestiness. He had a tendency to speak his mind to the administration (which is a dangerous quality).

One of his more interesting papers, I think co-written with Burt Webb (or perhaps Keith Drury and Burt co-wrote it) presented the hypothesis that you could create a drug that would "fake" entire sanctification by stimulating a particular part of the brain. Whether Boivin was the actual writer, this was at least an interesting topic of lunch conversation.

In any case, Boivin went first, but felt the compulsion to complement me on the fact that I had done my Fulbright in Tübingen, the site of a number of incredibly prominent theologians. Being somewhat tone deaf to the politics of confessional institutions, he did not realize that this was not really the kind of comment I wanted to be made. The great theologians of which he spoke were people in the late 1800s like Julius Wellhausen and F. C. Baur--not names particularly well liked in evangelical circles. When I finally stood up, I made it clear that the people he had in mind lived over a hundred years ago and that the university had changed quite a bit since then.

6. The fall colloquium that year was on Christianity and governance. I blogged a little on the topic. We did a colloquium on capital punishment once too. Somewhere in between these two, I wrote a paper distinguishing between the question of "What would Jesus do?" and another question, "What would God the Father do?" In it I suggested that while he was on earth Jesus gave us a model for human behavior but that God the Father was the more appropriate model for governance.

7. In June, Wilbur Williams bestowed a second blessing on me, paying my way to Israel. I had never been before. As everyone says, seeing the actual lay of the land changes your experience of the Gospels. One of my early take-aways was the fact that the scale is so small. Having grown up in Florida, I had always pictured the Sea of Galilee as something like Lake Okeechobee. Turns out it is only 12 miles across. It also came home to me how insignificant Nazareth was at that time.

Wilbur came alive once his feet hit Israel. It was quite a transformation. He was already in his 70s then, so I tended to think of him (for good or ill) in "cute old man" terms. But there he became young again. His energy level multiplied. Even the guards at the Jerusalem museum leaned their heads to hear him talk.

Ardelia went too. The next time, Charlie Alcock would follow him around with a film crew, taking footage of him speaking everywhere. Every once and a while I ask Charlie what he's going to do with that. I'd love to have a copy myself!

The flight back stopped in Rome. There we had the horrible event of having to leave Clint Ussher behind. Apparently he hadn't renewed his Australian visa--a minor thing then if you're in the US but a different thing if you're trying to get into the US. We sadly got on the plane with him left standing there.

8. My Brief Guide to Philo finally came out in February of 2005. I also see that I blog-wrote my Brief Guide to Biblical Interpretation that summer (the first edition was called A Brief Guide to Biblical Hermeneutics). I seem to remember Jerry Pattengale being involved with its publishing. It would later be printed by Wesleyan Publishing House in a slightly different form, Making Sense of God's Word. That would come out in 2009, a year after Triangle did the second edition of the Brief Guide.




Friday, August 09, 2019

Year 7 at IWU (2003-2004)

0. 1997, Year of the Hire
1. 1997-1998 First Year Schenck
2. 1998-1999 Married Schenck
3. 1999-2000 Go New Testament
4. 2000-2001 Williams Prayer Chapel
5. 2001-2002 The Year of 9-11
6. 2002-2003 The Greece Trip

1. In the fall of 2003, Charlie Alcock joined the Religion Division. He had a history with IWU. He went to college at IWU. His brother Roger worked at IWU. He was youth pastor at Lakeview.

We are the same age, as is Chris Bounds. In 2006, as Jim Lo was headed off to Bethel for a year to be Dean of the Chapel, Angie commissioned a student to draw a 40th birthday picture for all of us to frame.

This was a spectacular gain for IWU and STM. Charlie was coming from Skyline, where he had worked as youth pastor briefly for John Maxwell and then for Jim Garlow. Charlie would develop youth weekends for both high school and middle school students (when Stacy Shaw was a student, while I was at the seminary, she would help him put these together). FUSION (for high school students) and Never2Young for middle school students now both bring over a 1000 students to campus in the spring. They are like mini-Ichthuses.

In fact, I would say they are more or less in the lineage of Ichthus. Ichthus was a Christian rock festival started by Bob Lyon at Asbury in the wake of Woodstock (1969). It was actually founded to be a sort of Christian version of Woodstock. It would meet out on the grass of the Wilmore camp meeting grounds. I was actually Ichthusman in the late 80s for the festival, in tights and a cape, but that's a different story.

Ichthus was seriously in decline in the early 2000s. They tried to move it. Then I recall them asking Charlie to give it one last ditch effort. I think he tried it in Fort Wayne around 2004. Eventually he would start FUSION and Never2Young. He's also heavily involved in Never the Same, run by Jeff Eckart. This summer it seemed like Never the Same was everywhere, a kind of portable music-discipleship festival that meets at colleges like Houghton and IWU.

2. In my seventh year, I took my first sabbatical. In January 2004, my family and I went to Tübingen, Germany for three months on a Fulbright scholarship.

That meant that I only really taught in the fall. Courses I found in my records included:
  • General Epistles, with students like Julie (Collins) Penta, Jonathan Dodrill, Brent Dongell, Jess (Dvorak) Schmerse, Paul Kind, Alicia Myers, Nathan Richardson, Daniel Searle, John Wickstrom, and others.
  • I also started another Greek cohort--35 students. I think I used Mounce knowing that I wouldn't be there in the spring to continue my new voodoo method and Dave Smith would be left holding the βαγ. Students included Matt Beck, Jared Bell, Julie Collins, Jon Dodrill, Aaron Duvall, Daniel Freemyer, David Paul Jones, Paul Kind, Barton Price, Kara (Snyder) Kensinger, Debbie Wooters, Kevin Wright, and more.
  • Plus the usual NT Survey and philosophy gen eds
  • I also taught a master's intensive in the fall, "Paul's Life and Ministry."
3. This was the year that we divided up the larger Bible classes, for good or ill. Hebrews and General Epistles became two courses: "Hebrews" and "General Epistles."
  • Paul's Earlier Epistles became "Corinthians and Thessalonians" and "Romans and Galatians."
  • Paul's Later Epistles became "Prison Epistles" and "Pastoral Epistles."
We were on a growth trajectory and (if I remember correctly) ministry students had to take 18 hours of Bible. In fall 2005 we would hire two more Bible professors. To be honest, I am better at the big picture than the details, so I'm not sure how good a move this ended up being. With less students in recent years, we went back to the older system last year.

Since I came back from the seminary, I have felt much better about my Bible teaching. For whatever reason, I didn't have many group activities in those earlier days. I'm embarrassed to say that Bible classes back then with me often consisted of going student by student reading a few verses from the biblical text and then talking about them. It was like a live commentary. Student reads. I comment. They comment. Student reads. I comment. They comment. Dave Smith was much better than this. He had charts.

They used to say in those days that the best part of such classes was the tangents. Students who thought the focus of a class was my overhead would be frustrated. Students who more enjoyed learning and lived for the tangents enjoyed them more. I had study guides for tests.

(Elizabeth [Glass] Turner was remembering recently how tests would often have a silly answer as the fourth option on multiple choice questions. There would be waves of snickers during the test as different people got to those questions. You could tell how far each student was by when they snickered.)

In the end, I almost never felt really good about the Bible classes I taught in those years. If it wasn't your verse, it was all too easy to tune out. I have more group activities now. When we read the text, we read it from biblegateway.com on the screen. I've actually not felt too bad these days about my Bible classes.

4. I was making the switch to PowerPoints just before I went to the seminary. I had not fully done it with New Testament Survey and philosophy until I came back. Funny story while I'm thinking of it. Dave Ward let me adjunct a couple STM classes in my later days at the seminary. I taught Latin for him, for example.

I also taught an evening philosophy class for him in the worship lab. I was so excited. But the old tricks didn't work. The students didn't know me from Adam. I used to think my humor could carry the day but it didn't. I used to show movie clips on VHS in my early days, but I hadn't made the transition to YouTube clips. They had never heard of Deep Thoughts.

So a student came up to me after one class and he said, "This is your first year teaching, right? You haven't taught much before?" He ended up dropping the class. :-)

Strangely, I moved around a lot more with overheads than I did with PowerPoints. Maybe it was the fact that you would sometimes write on an overhead and there was motion. Something about PowerPoints seems static. It has tended to tie me down to a location more, for some reason. And I never really got the hang of Prezi.

5. At some point in the fall of 2004 a female ministry student mentioned to me that she was a little down after a class. In the class it was said that, while she could study for ministry, it was unlikely that she would ever be able to find a Wesleyan church to take her as pastor. The message she received was, "Why bother?" I was pretty miffed.

That afternoon I wrote, "Why I Favor Women in Ministry."  It's not a perfect piece. You can possibly pick up some of my anger at this even being an issue. In those days I wasn't always very explicit in class about what I thought, especially on controversial issues. Facebook and blogging would later inadvertently make my opinions more widely known.

But on the issue of women in ministry, I was pretty much allowed to be blunt. It was core aspect of our Wesleyan heritage. I still would always feel bad if I got riled up about something in class. I didn't like showing my emotions. Still I remember losing it a little on this issue occasionally in those days. "If a plane is crashing, I want the person who can best fly the plane up front. You're not going to recruit someone on the basis of their genitals. 'Step aside! I have the right genitals!' God's not stupid, and that's just stupid."

Unbeknownst to me, there was a task force with Kerry Kind working on a booklet on women in ministry at this time. Frankly, I don't have a high opinion of the kinds of booklets churches and organizations tend to put out on such things. They tend to be very boring and verbose. I've always considered it one of my strengths (although also quite a weakness) the fact that I have a short attention span. If I'm boring myself, it's time to change things up.

So the church just ended up using my writing. It was published in 2004. I have sensed in recent years a desire to replace it. Dave Ward's video largely replaced it in the last few years, but now even that is feeling a little dated (and it seems to have disappeared from the web). We'll see what they come up with.

6. In the spring my family and I shuffled off to Germany, but of course the semester went on without me. I heard some tales later. The spring colloquium brought John Sanders from Huntington College to speak on open theism. Sanders was embroiled in somewhat of a controversy at Huntington at that time over his views, and the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) was after him as well. Often in the past, the sport of ETS has been deciding who to try to kick out each year.

Open theism is the idea that God either chooses not to know the future or can't know the future because it doesn't exist. In one version, if God knew the future it would be determined and we would not be able to have free will. Therefore, God chooses not to know. In another version, the future does not exist. God is omniscient because it is not a failure of knowledge not to know something that isn't. For God to know the future, he would have to determine it.

Of course I reject the premise entirely. I reject the idea that the future is determined if God knows it. Still, you can see how this suggestion would be especially abhorrent to Calvinists. It is, in effect, an Arminian heresy. I consider it a light heresy because, after all, God is not really portrayed as omniscient in parts of the Old Testament (e.g., Gen. 6:6).

What I heard was that, after Sanders had presented his case to the students, after the whole thing was at an end, Steve Lennox as Division Chair concluded the session by smacking it down hard. He made it clear that the students could not hold this position and be Wesleyan pastors. Of course I consider open theism misguided, but it is ironically a certain literalism about the Bible that feeds it. In that sense it is a "conservative" heresy.

7. I think it might also have been this year that some of the leaders of the university were considering a Doctor of Arts in Ministry to be IWU's first doctoral degree. [1] Barnes saw the Religion division as the heart of the university. He was strongly concerned about the "dying of the light," the story line that says Christian universities all eventually go liberal and lose their faith (e.g., Harvard).

In fact, rumor has it that he wouldn't let the students dance because he believed behavioral debates were a slippery slope. If you allow dancing, the students will move on to debate drinking. So why not just stop at dancing? I don't think he really cared about dancing. [2]

So Barnes insisted that a member of the Religion division be on every search committee, much to the annoyance of the broader faculty at times. The dying of the light was a predictable sequence to him. First the college detaches from its denomination and becomes generic evangelical. False modernist presuppositions often play into this--"The truth is the truth no matter what group you're a part of. Faculty are just pursuing truth. They should be able to go wherever the investigation leads."

You can see how this would happen? "Aren't we all Christians?" "Aren't we all mission keepers?" "Aren't we all called?" "Wesleyans are a sect; we're more mainstream." In 2003, Keith Drury saw the tide of "we are all called" coming and wrote, The Call of a Lifetime, arguing that God called some people to dedicate all their energies to ministry for a whole life. But, alas, culture eats strategy for breakfast.

So then the college becomes Christian in name but not in substance. Illinois Wesleyan might have Wesleyan in the name, but it is not Methodist any more. Eventually the school becomes like Harvard or Yale where there is no real Christian identity at all.

Duane Litfin, president of Wheaton, would publish Conceiving the Christian College that fall 2004. Of course I do not agree with all of Litfin's decisions, but Barnes would bring him to campus. In his book he expresses the "voluntary principle." When you come to a confessional college, you agree to its confession. If you are truthful, you are free to publish anything you want. If you want to publish something outside the confession, you either must have lied in your interview or you have developed outside the confession. In that case you no longer belong.

This is a difficult concept for many faculty, in part because they are still thinking like modernists. They are still thinking of truth as something that we are all more or less objectively pursuing and therefore that I should be allowed to pursue it wherever it leads. But Indiana Wesleyan is owned by the Wesleyan Church. It has every right to insist that faculty fit within the parameters of its worldview. It is not a hard task master, but it is the master.

Personally, I believe the Wesleyan tradition is intrinsically a big tent tradition. That is to say, being Wesleyan involves an openness to those who have different ideologies and even some ethical differences. Wesley said, "If your heart is as my heart, then put your hand in mine." We are a revivalist tradition with pietist elements. The heart is central, unlike say the Christian Reformed Church where the head seems central.

At Wheaton, ideology is the grounding principle. At a Wesleyan college, a personal faith should be central. Then a living faith that plays itself out in how one lives and loves is the second most important priority. [3] What we believe is important, but it is the third order of business both biblically and for Wesleyans. This fact gives a different flavor to a Wesleyan college than, say, a Calvin College where you have to belong to the CRC to be on faculty.

So a better Wesleyan model sees the Wesleyan Church as the host of the university. Within that umbrella, a wide variety of other Christian traditions can be represented. The key is that they respect the host and that the host's perspectives be privileged.

For these reasons, I firmly believe that there could be Roman Catholic faculty at a place like IWU. Do they have a personal, living faith in Christ? Are they willing to live by the ethics of the IWU community? Are they orthodox and willing to respect the more distinctive Wesleyan perspectives of the host? Then they are potentially mission fit.

8. I heard a rumor that the DA was tanked while the president was on vacation and that he wasn't really happy when he returned. It seemed like a good idea. It would not have been a degree aimed for a person to become a college professor. It would be a degree that would give pastors a deeper expertise to draw on as pastors. It seemed like the perfect degree for IWU and the Religion Division, because it was oriented toward the church and it was practical.

And Barnes considered the Religion Division the most likely place out of which to start a doctorate. We would of course later launch the seminary out of it, and we would launch it again with those values. We are church-oriented and we train for the real world of ministry more than the academy.

9. This post has become rather long so I'll spare the details of my Fulbright. We lived in a little village south of Tübingen named Bühl. The first night we could hardly walk to the pub in the village. Our last night we walked to the next village.

Stefanie went to the gymnasium in Tübingen (high school). Angie's father went with us for most of the time and often would ride the bus with her. Stacy went to a school in Bühl. Tom went to a pre-school in Bühl. Some great stories. My parents came over during the stay and we traveled a little (they had come over in 1995 as well to visit me).

We had a week's vacation in Mougins, France. We went to Milan, Florence, and Venice. We attended a German-speaking Methodist Church.

I was supposed to be working on a book on the afterlife in Judaism--"Four Jewish Views of the Afterlife." I still hope to publish it but a lot came out in those years about the afterlife. It's been long enough that perhaps there is room for another one.

But in reality I spent most of my time finishing up A Brief Guide to Philo. I had the great idea of creating a "go-to" book for students who need to study Philo as part of their research but who were not looking to be experts on him. I'm quite proud of the book. It embodies a certain practicality that is unusual among academic works. It has been translated into Russian and Korean.

I've always sensed that real Philo scholars have an uneasy feeling about it. I'm not quite a Philo scholar, although I've always enjoyed the Philo Group at SBL. It doesn't go far enough for the expert, and several more advanced alternatives have come out since. But it may very well be my most widely known work in scholarly circles.

10. I presented two papers to the graduate colloquium at Tübingen. One was "From Sirach to the Sadducees" and the other was "From Enoch to the Scrolls." I gave what I'm sure was a hilarious paper in German at the Methodist seminary in Reutlingen: "Leben nach dem Tod" (life after death). For example, I used the word "Weltraum" to speak of the "realm" of the dead, but I guess it refers to outer space.

I did most of my work at the Theologicum at the university. It is my favorite theological library in the world--and the books weren't checked out. In those days I would occasionally drive to Notre Dame to use the Hesburgh library, but the books of interest were often checked out. Everything seemed available in Tübingen, especially the English books. :-)

11. I returned to teach Hebrews in May term and I believe we even tried a July term. My sabbatical put us off the Bible schedule so I did Hebrews in May. In that class were students like Kurt Beard, Daniel Freemyer, Tiffany (Good) Meador, Ben Hawk, Greg Jones, Ian Swyers, Clint Ussher, and even Gwen Jackson.

In July I saw a contest with Westminster John Knox for $10,000. Submit a book for the Presidential Award. It was due in a week. So in a week I wrote Who Decides What the Bible Means? I don't think it fits well with most any group's thinking. It's too Catholic for Protestants and too Protestant for Catholics. I received a response from the president of WJK along the lines of, "very interesting. good luck."

Keith Drury, as you would expect, was playing around with self-publishing in those days--ahead of the crowd as usual. He put me on to Lulu Publishing, an early company in this area. CreateSpace would then become the standard, now taken over by Kindle Direct (both Amazon). So this became my first self-published work in 2006.

Incidentally, I sent a copy to Abingdon and they sat on it for over a year, it seems. Then in 2007 Joel Green's Seized by Truth came out from Abindgon. He shapes the issues in a different way than I do, drawing heavily on Gadamer. But it sure seemed like there were a lot of parallels. I wondered if his book was a corrective to my proposal, but I have never asked him.

12. On May 29, 2004, Dr. Glenn Martin died of cancer. He was a force to be reckoned with, serving as chair of the Division of Social Science from 1972-2001. His Reformed epistemology was always at odds with the Wesleyan pragmatism of the Religion Division, but he was indeed a great man. He shaped generations of young men around the world. He gave them an ideological purpose in life that gave their lives a direction, often to young men whose lives might otherwise have gone astray.

[1] I've always admired Barnes' lateral rather than structural thinking. It seems to me that most academics think in boxes--symmetry of structures with a heavy emphasis on process. Follow the chain of command. This works well in a war and when you have an infinite amount of time.

It also stifles innovation and doesn't allow for the quick moves that are sometimes necessary in changing times. It's not a particularly good business model these days, it seems to me. Barnes thought like a starfish rather than a spider. The adult programs would have never gone anywhere if they had been structurally located under the residential faculty, so he put them somewhere else. I have wondered if they should have later been unified, but that's another train of thought.

The group that was dreaming up the DA was more like a never-ending task force whose purpose was to dream up new innovations at IWU. It wasn't on the org chart. It had people from all levels of the university whose main characteristic was that they were innovators. That means you had people in the room whose bosses weren't in the room. I hear that the president didn't talk much. He spoke up either to nix or to further an idea. But I wasn't there. :-)

[2] It reminds me of something Keith Drury once told me in his doorway. (I often appeared in his doorway. "Coach" has mentored so many of us. He would often patiently read stuff I was writing and try to steer me in positive directions.) He wondered if the legalism with which some holiness folk grew up usually finds an alternative way to express itself. It could be in insisting on a certain dress code or it could express itself in an anti-legalism where one resists all rules. There's a tendency to mock our parents for their stiffness, but then we simply become stiff on issues from our own time.

[3] This is why we always find out whether a prospective faculty goes to church. Some faculty at IWU have resisted this sort of element in things like rank promotion--or even having faith on a rank promotion rubric. But there is something very Wesleyan about these concerns.