Luis Trujillo, XA president, Helps Build Guatemalan Ministry Center

Check it out: our very own Chi Alpha president, Luis Trujillo, is in the Stanford Daily for helping to construct a community center for abused teens and others in Guatemala: Class designs facility for Guatemalan town.

A Stanford architecture class is playing a vital role in the construction of a community center and school in Amatitlan, Guatemala. Designing all aspects of the project from dormitories to a church and retreat center these students will show their work at a professional presentation to potential clients and contributors on Monday.

The Guatemalan facility will be a campus for the Center for the Restoration of Women and the Socially Disregarded, also referred to as the CEREM project, after the Christian organization sponsoring its development. The center will act as a residential center and school for homeless children and former prostitutes, as well as a church and place of retreat.

One of the amazing things about CEREM is the people who started it, said Luis Trujillo, another teaching assistant who is also acting as the client representative responsible for communicating the facilitys needs to student designers. They have really challenged me to give all that I have. You dont do this because you feel sorry for these people, but rather you do it out of love for them and the potential that you see in them.

Luis has actually been the key player in this thing from start to finish. He’s got a marginal role in the article, but Luis is the guy who set the ball in motion, hooked CEREM up with the Stanford class, and has generally been pushing to make it happen!

Way to go, Luis! We’re proud of you: getting a Stanford class to design a Christian ministry center is an awesome way to leverage the gifts and opportunities God has given you.

UPDATE: there’s another article on the Stanford website that covers the project from a slightly different angle. It also gives Luis a little more prominence (well-deserved, I might add).

Driving Through The Redwoods

Last weekend Paula and I were preaching up in McKinleyville, CA (almost all the way to Oregon). On the way, we had a chance to drive through the giant redwood trees (literally). car_drive_through.jpg

If you’ve never seen the trees before, it’s hard to understand how large they are. They get to be over 350 feet tall, over 2,000 years old, and weigh up to 1.7 million pounds! car_by_trees.jpg

We even got some cool shots of us in some tree trunks. glen_in_tree.jpg

No, we didn’t try to count the rings…paula_on_tree.jpg

A Busy Season Winds Down

Whew–I spoke three times today and participated in a religious discussion group! I’m a little drained. Worst of all was that my first engagement was two hours away, and I only had about two hours between my first and second appointment (which was back here at Stanford)! We really had to book it.

Fortunately, we’re at the end of a busy season. Last weekend I was in Springfield helping to script a miniseries (no, really) that Chi Alpha is going to burn onto CDs and distribute to college students all across America. I got back and went to preach in Modesto that Sunday. Monday Paula and I drove up to the Lake Mendocino sectional fellowship, and today I had all those speaking engagements… *whew*

That makes it almost two months that Paula and I have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off. It was really starting to affect my speaking: I’d say that none of the presentations I gave today were A-quality. They were all B-range. Soon I should be able to recharge and do better.

I feel kind of guilty. I should be a better model for my students, but this season of hectic activity was pretty much necessary… *sigh*

Oh well, at least it’s over (I think).

Jesus, Ethics, and Us

these are notes from a class presentation I gave in Ron Howard’s class The Ethical Analyst about ethics in Christian perspective

The Hidden Danger of Ethics Classes
There is a great but hidden danger in classes such as this. By spending hours debating moral issues we too often train ourselves for rationalization instead of righteousness. There is no point in trying to understand good unless we also seek to be good!

Why Should We Care What Christianity Says?
Today it is common to regard Christianity as morally bankrupt. This is nave and represents massive prejudice.
Continue reading “Jesus, Ethics, and Us”

Great Day!

Today I had the opportunity to go and just spend some time on campus watching students in their natural habitat. I was expecting to just sit down and set up my laptop and work on sermon prep and making some phone calls all day, but instead I bumped into students I knew everywhere I turned around!

Kwasi biked by after I set up, and then I bumped into Shaowei upstairs, and shortly after that I bumped into Jimmy and a friend of his named Winona I hadn’t met before. Jimmy and I talked for several hours about all sorts of stuff, and then Song showed up.

Song and I talked about different ways to raise money for missions–he’s planning to bike across America this summer. I hope it works out, ’cause it sounds really cool.

Yet Another Christian Nobel Laureate

Charles Colson just brought another Christian Nobel Laureate to my attention: Arno Penzias. Dr. Penzias won the Nobel Prize in Physics for co-discovering cosmic background radiation.

Dr. Penzias says, “The creation of the universe is supported by all the observable data astronomy has produced so far. As a result, the people who reject the data can arguably be described as having a �religious� belief.” That is, people who refuse to consider the evidence because it conflicts with their preconceived ideas are following a “dogma” in the most stubborn sense of the word.

In an article in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Penzias told Dr. Jerry Bergman of the American Scientific Affiliation, “I invite you to examine the snapshot provided by half a century�s worth of astrophysical data and see what the pieces of the universe actually look like.… In order to achieve consistency with our observations we must … assume not only creation of matter and energy out of nothing, but creation of space and time as well.”

Penzias, a Nobel Prize winner, added, “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

Read the rest of Colson’s commentary…

I’m updating the list of famous scientists who believe.

Wow, It Really Is Getting Harder

Staying sexually pure in a polluted world seems to be getting harder and harder. At least, that’s the impression anyone speaking with Christian college students would get…

Turns out they’re right.

Then there’s the intersection of biology and culture. Over the past 150 years, the average for menarchea woman’s first periodhas dropped from nearly seventeen to twelve years of age with no signs of stopping. (Among African-Americans in particular, the figure is closer to eleven!) Historical data for males is harder to come by but, without being too explicit, American males, on average, are “sexually functional” by twelve years of age. (Once again, the figure is slightly lower for African-Americans.) At the same time the average age for puberty and menarche has been going down, the average age for first marriage has been going up: from 22.8 for men and 20.3 for women in 1950 to 27 and 25 today. For the college-educatedthe status to which most Americans aspire, both personally and for their kidsthe average age is nearly two years higher. (Between 1970 and 1994, the percentage of women aged thirty to thirty-four who had never been married rose from 6 to 22 percent. For men, the figures were 9 and 30 percent, respectively.)

The bottom line of all these numbers is that young Christians are expected to remain sexually continent for a longer period of time than probably any generation that has preceded them. And they’re supposed to do this while living in the most sexually charged culture ever seen.

Read the whole article at Breakpoint

You might be interested to read the thoughts which prompted Breakpoint’s article:
* There’s No Such Thing As Premarital Sex launched it by claiming that once two people sleep together they’re married and seeks to support his position from the Law of Moses.
* A Horseless Carriage rebutted the charge. She did an outstanding job, and used a very persuasive analogy: To cite the Exodus reference requiring a man to make right his seduction of a virgin (which, incidentally, falls in a long list of ways to make retribution when bad things happen) as evidence that the act of sex, rather than a process of marriage and consummation, made the two people married, makes about as much sense as arguing that a law requiring a thief to pay for the pie he has already consumed really means that the pie was rightfully and beautifully his the moment the first bite crossed his lips. The author of the original article responds on the same page and clarifies his position (and even makes a few interesting claims along the way).

All worth reading and reflecting on.

Another Unexpected Positive Impact of Christianity

This BBC report caught me off guard: A decline in Christianity is taking its toll on the number of people willing to donate their organs for transplantation, according to a doctor.

Evidently the Christian belief that this body is temporary combined with the Christian ethic of doing good created many organ donors. Take either of those away and the pool shrinks rapidly.

Read the whole article…