Random Telephone Anomalies

One of those annoying little things that can hinder ministry…

Here’s a bizarre little annoyance: no one from Stanford can dial my telephone number (or my wife’s). Whenever they try it asks for an authorization code!

I called the IT department at Stanford to let them know, and they’ve been very helpful. They seemed just as surprised at the news as I was.

Let’s see–what could account for this ministry hinderment. Could it be… Satan? (soundbyte)

A Blatant Attempt to Get Linked By Listing Blogs I Love

Some blogs I read, along with a shameless attempt to catch Mean Dean’s attention.

Here, in a blatant attempt to get linked, I’d like to mention a blog that I’ve been reading with great enjoyment for some time now: Heal Your Church Website by Mean Dean Peters.

He muses on church websites, how to make them better, and all sorts of other issues pertaining to the web (particularly the Christian corners of it). Here’s my little blurb about it (for his blurb contest): he’s a veritable microcelebrity among Christian webheads. (How’s that, Dean? note: Dean got back to me and would prefer something describing his site: try a haven from the Jesus junk cluttering the web, or an irresistible magnet for Christian webheads, or casting down every vain website that makes people think Christians are lame, or wherein a microcelebrity among Christian webheads preaches good design, or giving Christian websites a baptism of fire, or perhaps even goading Christian sites to move beyond spinning crosses. But here’s my fave: wherein a Christian webhead does battle with the forces of kitsch)

FYI: here are some other blogs I try to check on a regular basis (no particular order):
Jordon Cooper: cool Canadian minister
Andrew Careaga: author of several books & a Charismatic youth pastor I met at a conference
Nicholette Lockwood: a student from our last campus ministry (read her testimony).
Joshua Sargent: an AG pastor who stumbled across my blog
Wil Wheaton: yes, he used to play Wesley Crusher on Star Trek. No, he’s not a Christian. I just find him interesting.
Richard & Christie Browne: friends from Missouri
Joel on Software: I just like this guy’s approach to programming

And two metablogs that I visit:
Blogs 4 God: a cool collection of Christian blogs
blogdex: I’m just fascinated by this tool. It’s the Yahoo! Buzz of blogs.

Stanford Undergrads Engage In Research

Yet another example of Stanford students changing the world.

Another note on those amazing students at Stanford: the undergrads are engaging in original, funded research.

How wild is that?

One student featured in the story is doing research on the dowry system in Kerala, India. My cousins, who are of marriageable age, are victims of the system, and if my parents had not come to the States, theres a good chance I would have been also, she said. I was a bit bothered by always reading about Kerala as the model state. I knew it had its good and its bad, like everywhere else … but this dowry system, a very present bad, is one Im interested in learning about more, understanding and contributing to stopping it.

Yet another reason we feel so passionately that Stanford is a strategic mission field. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: today they learn, tomorrow they lead.

Habit-Driven Academics Still Nervous About Religion

Another scholar reflecting on the academy and it’s lack of respect for religion.

Professor Christian Smith of UNC Chapel Hill wrote an interesting article for Books & Culture called Force of Habit attempting to explain a tenacious anti-religious sensibility among many faculty.

Several anecdotes effectively highlight his thesis: anti-religion is still alive and well among the university professoriate. Particularly anti-Christianity, which disdains a faith neither exotic nor “subaltern” enough to merit the admiration of intellectuals.

After spouting some very confusing sociological terminology, he uses a concept called habitus to account for this consistent trivialization of faith. They way Smith uses it, habitus seems to mean an idea carried forward by momentum rather than merit.

In particular, the notion of habitus helps to explain some curious features of academic anti-religion. One is that none of the anti-religious faculty I know as individuals are nasty people out to make religious believers feel bad. They’re smart, interesting, morally serious, and well-intentioned. I prize my relationships with them. They’re not aiming to be anti-religious, anti-Christian. They don’t have to try. It just comes naturally to them, almost automatically, as if from a fundamental predisposition.

I’d have to say that’s been my experience: the irreligious among the cultured elite seem genuinely shocked when they discover someone that they previously considered thoughtful and well-educted is possessed of a deep and abiding faith. They’re flummoxed.

More importantly, this habitus is infectious. The most pernicious struggle I see students engaged in springs from a perception that smart people just don’t believe in God.

That’s hard to battle: it’s not as though there’s an actual argument being made here. It’s just an attitude picked up by osmosis. That’s one of the reasons I try to bring information on intelligent believers to their attention such as a list of living famous Christian scientists and information on Christian faculty at Stanford such as Don Knuth.

We’re In a Magazine!

Wow–we’re in a magazine!

The other day I got a phone call from an old friend of mine (Danny Dardeau: his sister and I were in Chi Alpha together, and his brother-in-law was my roomie) back in Louisiana.

He’s begun a Christian magazine called Acadiana Christian and the magazine decided to feature us in a missionary spotlight!

We haven’t seen the issue yet, and it doesn’t seem to be posted on their website, but we’ve already had friends and family mention seeing us in ‘that Christian magazine.’ That’s pretty cool!

Stanford Is For The Birds

A guide to birds on Stanford’s campus.

On a totally random note, I happened to stop in at the Stanford Bookstore and I saw an ad for birds.stanford.edu.

Yup. Birds.

The site actually redirects to a subdirectory on the stanfordalumni.org domain, so I guess the ol’ alumni assocation has some pretty serious ornithologists

Andrew Is Gone…

Our live-in student, Andrew Wright, moves out.

Andrew Wright, the Stanford student who was living with us over the summer just moved out. He’s gone to stay at home the rest of the summer so he can spend some time with his family before school starts.


It was great getting to know him better! We had some wonderful talks about God and the Christian life, and our relationship with him has really confirmed our call to Stanford.

Just last night we had a great time talking about a Christian’s proper relationship to culture, and what it means to be in the world but not of it…

On another note: I’ve been sick all day. I’m feeling better now, but I sure was a whipped puppy earlier.

Lost & Found at Glad Tidings Assembly

A sermon I preached at Glad Tidings Assembly called “Lost & Found”

Last night I was privileged to preach at Glad Tidings Assembly of God in San Francisco. It was a lot of fun!

Pastor Beiser had asked me to come and encourage the people to invite their friends to hear Bubba Paris (of the San Francisco 49ers) come and preach this weekend at their special meetings, and to specifically “speak on the lostness of man.”

I decided to speak from Luke 15, the chapter in which Jesus talks about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (prodigal son).

Since Paula’s college roommate, Rachel Spradley, is visiting with us right now I decided to use her in my sermon. I told the congregation that Rachel had just become engaged to be married, and I asked her to stand up and show everyone her ring. Rachel then stood up and flashed her finger sans ring, and convincingly shrieked: “I’ve lost my ring!”

Everyone freaked out and began to scan the floor for her ring. I then read from Luke 15:8: “suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?”

It was fun. Unfortunately, two people bolted right away to search the lobby and the restroom (they even put on rubber gloves and dug through the trash). As a result, they missed most of my message. Still, they beautifully illustrated how we respond when we think something valuable is lost!

My points, incidentally, were as follows:

1) Realize people are lost
2) Value lost people
3) Take risks to reach the lost
4) Use every resource at our disposal to reach the lost
5) Celebrate success

Stanford Student Wins Jeopardy Collegiate Championship

One of those quirky little things you can’t help but be proud of!

A friend just informed me that Stanford student Vinita Kailasanath won the 2001 Jeopardy Collegiate Championship.

I searched long and hard online for information about the 2002 winner, but I couldn’t find any info. I can only surmise they’ve not conducted the 2002 contest yet. I’m sure the Cardinal will emerge victorious again!