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President's Blog

Psalm 51 is an anchoring word for me and one I return to more days than not. Today, verse 12 speaks as a prayer of encouragement to faithfully shoulder the demands of leadership in which we all participate. There are many challenges to tackle, but also those gifts of God along the way that affirm and inspire us and that become for us a holy and sustaining presence. We feel renewed with “willing spirits” to persevere in the work we have undertaken.
Mar 16
This past Sunday I had the privilege of visiting Beebe Memorial Cathedral (a Christian Methodist Episcopal church) in Oakland, CA, where our alumnus, Rev. Dr. Charley Hames (MDiv, 2000) serves as senior pastor. It is a congregation that, under his leadership, has grown from 80 members to 2100.
Feb 17
We are well into the Advent season, that time of waiting again and anticipating the renewal of Hope for the world. Words from the familiar Christmas carol, “O Holy Night” have returned to me repeatedly during the last week.
Dec 22
I have been thinking long and hard about the death of Michael Brown and the circumstances surrounding it. And now, I am ”sickened unto death” along with many others by the death of Eric Garner. I have tried to think and feel my way into the experience of both of the ones who died and both of the ones who killed them, as well as into the experiences of both their families.
Dec 05
If we want to be truly responsible in our leadership not only in the seminary, but also in Christian leadership where ever it takes place, then we must engage courageous-telling and open-listening in holy conversation. Only then are we free to make transformative and bold decisions, not safe decisions, about how we live and work together, about how we will develop a new curriculum, and about how we equip our graduates to respond to the realities and needs of today’s church and world they will serve.
Nov 21
Each November 1, Christians recognize All Saints Day, that time when we focus on those who have died and “gone on to glory.” I took the opportunity to think again about death and how we respond to it. Death puts us up against one of the most profound experiences of helplessness there is. In all of our human ability to negotiate with almost anything else in our lives, death is the one thing with which we absolutely cannot negotiate.
Nov 04
About two weeks ago, President Obama was on the Northwestern campus to speak about the economy and his current priorities for job opportunities, education, health care, environment and technology, and fiscal prudence. Even the excitement of a sitting President of the United States arriving on campus via helicopters flying in over the lake and landing out on the sports practice fields of NU not withstanding, to me, one of the most striking things President Obama said, in an almost offhanded way, was, “You know, we’re all in this together.”
Oct 13
I have been reflecting for the last number of weeks on our human capacity for anger, a common emotion provoked by many things. It may be one of the most difficult emotional experiences with which we have to deal and there are varying ways of handling it.
Sep 17