Today I received from the Stanford Office for Religious Life the names of all three of the Assemblies of God students planning to attend Stanford next year. That’s right–three. Out of around 1,400. There was also a Foursquare student and a few from independent charismatic churches. Let’s say there are about 10–15 Pentecostal/charismatic students in total.
Even given that only 4% of teens attend a Pentecostal or Charismatic church, that’s pretty sad. If even 4% coming to Stanford were Pentecostal/charismatic that would be over 50 incoming freshmen. That’s a discrepancy of 70% (in other words, 70% fewer students are Pentecostal or Charismatic than you would expect)!
That doesn’t bother me for the reason you might think. Chi Alpha @ Stanford is primarily an evangelistic organization. While we do want to take care of incoming Christian students and help them mature in their faith, we’re primarily concerned with reaching the majority who have no religious background at all (much less a Christian one).
It’s not so much that I wish there were more students to plug into our group as I wonder why more coming in aren’t believers. These numbers, while only directly reflecting on Pentecostals are representative of what the other ministries are receiving.
There’s been a massive renaissance in youth ministry over the last decade, and there’s tons of articles on the burgeoning evangelical intellectuals: so why aren’t there more arriving at Stanford? Is it that we strongly discourage our gifted youth from attending secular schools or is merely the sad fact that most “Christian” students can’t wait to escape from their youth group?
In any event, if the other elite schools are seeing similar trends the intellectual future of American Christianity isn’t looking particularly robust…
Check this out on CNN: A Pornographer Hacks An Al‐Quaeda Site. This is one of those bizarre little situations in which someone we thoroughly disapprove of does something we greatly approve of.
Evidently his expertise in running a smut site was immediately applicable to the challenge of hacking a paranoid and ruthless organization’s computer. Messner, using the aggressive tactics he’s employed to run his adult site, said he “hijacked” Al Neda for five days It kind of makes you wonder exactly what skills porn site operators pick up… One more good reason to avoid porn like the plague–some of these guys are ace hackers!
I found the following excerpts sad: “I bought a digital camera and convinced my wife to get naked for the Internet.” … His Porsche and its “WIVES” vanity plates memorializing his success in adult entertainment are, he believes, a testament that he and his family are living the American dream. And, in his own way, Messner said, he is fighting an American war.
In the entire CNN article there’s not a hint of appropriate moral indignation that this man is both destroying the sacredness of his own marriage and enticing men across the world to violate their marriage vows. I’m willing to bet that it didn’t even cross the journalist’s mind… *sigh* Does no one see how destructive pornography is?
A list of leaders who believe in us and in our ministry.
Here are some Assemblies of God leaders who believe in us
and in our ministry: I would like to particularly direct your attention to the
fact that both our current and our former pastor are on this list. We believe
in the Assemblies of God, we’re committed to the primacy of the local church,
and we’re team players!
I had Glen & Paula do a missions window in my church and they
did a fabulous job! God has called them to a truly strategic mission field,
and James River is proud to be investing in it. I encourage you to book
them for a service or a missions windowyou won’t be disappointed.
“Peninsula Christian Center is honored to serve as a covering
for Stanford Chi Alpha, and I’m delighted to serve on the advisory board
for this ministry. I believe God has raised up Glen and Paula Davis to
reach Stanford for Christ, and I encourage your church to support them
in this strategic ministry.”
Senior Pastor (and Glen and Paula’s pastor)
Peninsula Christian Center (Redwood
Being a graduate of the University of Calif. in Berkeley, I appreciate
what it takes to reach secular university students in the Bay Area. Glen
and Paula Davis have the spiritual passion, ministry and people skills,
intellectual integrity, and proven experience to develop a viable Chi
Alpha ministry at Stanford University. They merit your prayer and support!
“As a 10 year veteran of the campuses in Northern California
and a student of effective campus ministry nationwide I endorse Glen and
Paula Davis enthusiastically to serve as missionaries to Stanford University.
They posses the tools, both intellectually and spiritually, to lead a
truly fruitful ministry on this most strategic campus.”
Veteran Northern California Campus Ministry Pioneer
Chi Alpha National
“Glen Davis is one of the new generation of leaders God is raising
up in the church. He blends a wonderful combination of qualities in that
he is both spiritual and strategic, both humble and visionary, a both
a team player and a true leader. He is one of the people I consider a
true friend and I look to him for cutting edge insights into this generation,
contemporary society and technology. He is a great communicator, first
class leader and true minister of the Good News.”
Dr. J. Melvyn Ming
Leadership Coach, Division of Pastoral Care and Development
Northwest District Council of the Assemblies
“Glen and Paula Davis will make a difference. As a former pastor,
these are the kind of people I would want my church to support. They are
missionaries in the truest sense, living within an almost completely unreached
culture to bring the message of God’s love in Christ. I have known Glen
and Paula, and their ministry, for years and find it a joy to recommend
them to you.”
Dr. Earl Creps
Director of the Doctor
of Ministry Program, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
“Glen is one of my favorite communicators. His teachings are
thought‐provoking because he is a thinker; they are brilliantly illustrated
because Glen is both relevant and scholarly. I believe that God will awaken
a new generation through servants like Glen and Paula Davis.”
Speaker, Author (shared at
2001 General Council and Celebration 2000)
“I have known Glen and Paula for many years and am pleased to
call them friends as well as co‐ministers. There is no doubt in my mind
that they are going to be mightily used of God on the Stanford campus.
Whether in the area of evangelism, teaching, leadership or hospitality,
Glen and Paula are equipped to carry the gospel to the students of Stanford
James River Assembly of God (Springfield,
“As Glen and Paula’s former pastor, I wholeheartedly endorse
their ministry. Glen is an great preacher and has filled our pulpit on
a number of occasions, Paula has been an outstanding board member, and
they are both excellent leaders. Please book them for services and pick
them up for monthly support!”
Senior Pastor (and Glen & Paula’s former pastor)
New Life Church (Springfield,
“For five years I was blessed to have Glen and Paula on my staff
at Chi Alpha — Southwest Missouri State University. Their vision and creativity
has played a vital role in making our program cutting edge and effective
in genuinely reaching into the nonChristian community of SMS. I can think
of no other couple that is more capable to pioneer Chi Alpha at Stanford.”
Veteran Campus Pioneer
Chi Alpha Director at Southwest Missouri
I ran across a very interesting rant comparing Islam and Christianity by a blogger I’d never heard of called James Lileks (I found the link on blogdex).
At one point, Mr. Lileks identifies himself thusly I am a Deist, which means EVERYONE disagrees with me.
Translation: a lot of his underlying assumptions will differ from yours, but you should still read the piece. He puts some very important points in a very direct way.
Here’s his opening statement:
There are two ways for a religion to approach life:
A) Everything is permitted except that which is forbidden; over time, we work out the details as the situations arise.
B) Everything is forbidden except that which is permitted, and we will work out the details in advance.
After an opening like that, how can you not read the rest?
(there’s a similar diatribe at Little Green Footballs, although it’s not as reflective it does have the virtue of a very active comments section)
I added this next bit on 8/9/2002
Ever wonder what an Episcopalian terrorist would look like?
A brief overview of Stanford’s really famous alumni.
I’ve talked about the incredible Stanford alumni roster before, but I had occasion recently to make a postcard featuring them. I thought uploading the photo montage I created might help you get a handle on exactly who I’m talking about (not all are pictured):
- Government: 3 current Supreme Court Justices (Chief Justice William Rehnquist along with Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer), former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, 5 U.S. senators, and Ehud Barak (former Prime Minister of Israel)
- Business: the CEOs of 3Com, Hewlett‐Packard,
Nike, and Sun Microsystems (see a list of companies founded by members of the Stanford community)
- Celebrities: Reese Witherspoon, Chelsea Clinton, Ted Koppel, Sigourney Weaver, Ted Danson, Jack Palance, Jennifer Connelly, and Fred Savage
- Sports: Tiger Woods, John Elway,
and John McEnroe
- Education: the presidents of Yale,
the University of Arizona, and Johns Hopkins.
- Science: Vinton Cerf “the Father
of the Internet”, and 17 astronauts (including Sally Ride), and the founders of Yahoo! (most
popular site on the Internet) and the founders of Google.
In other words, Stanford is one of the most strategic mission fields in the world! For an even fuller list of alumni, check out the famous alumni list maintained by Stanford itself!
Hear ye, hear ye: you can now check out both our personal site and the Chi Alpha @ Stanford site at once!
Check this out: look at the bottom right of this screen. Notice anything different?
Of course you do–all the postings from Chi Alpha @ Stanford are now listed in an RSS feed! (Thanks to ScriptyGoddess for making me aware of this great code snippet available at the Trommeter Times).
Just a little note to myself on the legal definition of a postcard
This is a bit of a random entry, but I’m about to send out a postcard to all the churches in my new district, and I’ve had the hardest time figuring out what the rules and rates are for postcards.
You’d think it would be extremely easy to find that information on the US Post Office website , but it’s not.
After much searching, here are the basic rules: postcards cost $.23 to mail and must be between a minimum of 3–1/2 inches high by 5 inches long by 0.007 inch thick and a maximum of 4–1/4 inches high by 6 inches long by 0.016 inch thick.
I don’t know if you’ll ever find that information useful, but by blogging it here I’ll save myself a huge headache next time around!
Here’s an interesting tidbit reported by The Washington Times: Thomas Jefferson did not want a wall built between church and state. There are two books by two different scholars referenced in the above article: Daniel Dreisbach’s Thomas Jefferson and The Wall of Separation Between Church and State and Separation of Church and State by Philip Hamburger.
Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and Public Life at Boston College, is impressed by the new findings but doubts they can make a difference.
“I think it is terrific scholarship, but I don’t think it can change anything,” said Mr. Wolfe, who reviewed the Hamburger book and has surveyed public opinion on politics and religion.
“The ‘wall’ idea has taken on a life of its own and is part of our custom and law,” Mr. Wolfe said. “Americans love God and hate politics, so they ask, ‘Why mix the two?’ ”
You can read some reviews from Harvard University Press here and here.
Relevant Magazine brought an unexpected article to my attention. In Why We Need Hell, TooNewsweek journalist Kenneth Woodward argues for the importance of Hell as an inducement for moral living.
This is a sidebar article to the main Why We Need Heaven, which is a discussion of the rival Jewish, Muslim, and Christian perspectives on the afterlife and the way they impact the news.
I found quote particularly amusing: (Speaking of the Koran’s promise of heavenly orgies) Georgetowns Voll doesnt think that the virgins carry much weight with the Palestinian martyrs; unlike the Iranians in the 1980s, teenagers on the West Bank do have access to sex. More seductive is that you would have a house, regular food, prosperity, he says. You would have flowing water; someone wouldnt be bombing your well. If you had lived without all that stuff for the first 15 or 20 years of your life, heaven would sound pretty good with or without 72 virgins. Hmmm… I’m guessing Voll doesn’t know any teenage boys.
And of course, Ernest Hemingway wrote that he thought of heaven as two lovely houses in town; one where I would have my wife and children and be monogamous and love them truly and well and the other where I would have my nine beautiful mistresses on nine different floors. Hmm… logical consistency wasn’t one of Hemingway’s dominant concerns.
The author buys some unfortunate interpretations of the development of the afterlife in Jewish theology, and enjoys playing with the notion that both the suicide bombers and their victims think they’re going to heaven (and that their enemies are going to hell). Overall, it’s a pretty interesting read (if not a good course in theology).
A great meeting with our executive presbyter is clouded by some bad news about Chi Alpha.
Tonight Paula and I were able to meet Richard Cook and his wife for supper at the local Chili’s. Pastor Cook pastors Spirit of Life Church in San Carlos, and is also one of the Northern California/Nevada executive presbyters.
We had a great time! Unfortunately, Brother Cook was able to confirm some bad news that I received when I met with Pastor Beiser. It seems that Chi Alpha has a very negative reputation with the Assemblies of God churches in the Bay Area. The reasons aren’t particularly important (at least not worth broadcasting over the Internet), but the ramifications for our ministry are going to be pretty radical. It will definitely affect how quickly we can reach full funding so that we can begin ministering on campus.
Please pray that God will give us favor with local churches and will give us wisdom in relating to the churches that feel they’ve been burned by Chi Alpha in the past.