Friday, June 17

Counter Culture

Many years ago, John Stott (maybe the finest Christian theologian of our era) wrote a commentary on the Sermon on the Mount called Christian Counter Culture. (I would let you borrow it, but like many of my books, it seems to have disappeared for the moment!) I have always loved the title of the book and have always been struck by how much we are Christians in the US aren't a counter culture. Outside of attending a few group meetings, we tend to live much like everyone else does. We use our time and money in pretty much the same ways. From outside observation, we tend to value the same things that everyone else does. If we live in a "me-centered" culture, we have certainly made our Christianity into a "me-centered" religion.

"Did I enjoy the music? Did I enjoy the preacher? What did I get out of it? Who was there? Did the right people talk to me? How will this help me?"

Please understand that I'm not pointing my finger at anyone particular. In fact, I struggle with this as much (or more so) than anyone else. Though I am supposed to be "in, but not of, the world", I often find myself more "of it" than I want to admit.

In light of that, I encourage you to read this article that my friend, Derek, pointed me to on his blog. You might not agree with all of it, but I did find myself resonating with it - especially with our tendency to major in peripheral issues and miss the heart.


For those who actually look at this site, I apologize for not writing recently. Though it is summer and school is out, it seems like I haven't had time to write. I've been traveling (track meets in Sacramento last week and LA next week), "orientating" (meeting incoming students and their parents, as well as going through orientation with Stacy), and trying to finish up the financial reports for the last fiscal year, as well as the budget for the coming year. I vow to do better!

Monday, June 6


At the end of last month, I had the chance to again take part in one of my favorite events of the year - a retreat for campus ministers up in Spencer, IN. I have attended this retreat every year but one or two since 1982. It is a good time of catching up with friends in ministry around the country, late night Denny's food, golf, and refreshing.

I also learned some things about sloth. Not the animal, but one of the "Seven Deadly Sins." Most of us don't think that sloth is much of a problem today. If you ask your friends about what they are doing, most will tell you how busy they are - school, work, church, ministry, volunteering, and on and on. We are a society of busy people. In fact, it's a badge of honor! The busier you are, the more important you must be. We are definitely not slothful people.

But the speaker at our retreat (Steve Moore, who has been involved with college students for many years as a campus minister, professor, and administrator) spoke the first night about sloth. As he started, I was thinking "How inappropriate! We have all just finished school years that have kept us running for nine months. Dr. Moore, you are talking to the wrong people."

But then Dr. Moore defined sloth as "laziness at the core of your being." As laziness in those things that are ultimately important. It really has little to do with how busy your schedule is and everything to do with how we invest ourselves in the things that last and are eternally important.

And I decided I'm a sloth more often than I want to admit. I'm busy, but not at things that are ultimately important. The time I spend with God in prayer or in His Word. The time I spend caring for this physical temple he has entrusted to me. The time I invest significantly in the lives of others.

So now I'm looking for a picture of a sloth to put in my office - remind me to invest my time in things ultimately important - to not be lazy about the core issues of my being. And you can check up on me, too, if you want.

"The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied." Proverbs 13:4

"One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys." Proverbs 18:9

"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man." Proverbs 6:6-11
"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." Hebrews 6:12


We went to Ft. Scott, KS last weekend to celebrate the graduations of my daughter, Stacy (Springdale High School), and her cousins Jill (Ft. Scott High School) and Nick (Kansas State University). It was a short, but fun, trip that included Chicken Annie's and Babe's!


I'm getting close to the end of the busy part of my track season. The last month or so has taken me to Des Moines, Nashville, and Norman. Tomorrow I head to Sacramento to officiate the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Two weeks later I go to Los Angeles to officiate the USA Championships and to teach a workshop for officials on vertical jump procedures. They will be fun trips, but both involve flying - not so fun from my perspective.