Yesterday I drove up to Joplin for the Alumni Banquet at Ozark Christian College (my alma mater). Actually, I mostly went up to see people and I got to visit with Dave and Velva (my brother and his wife), Derek and Gabriel Lauer (one of my best friends from college - whom I haven't seen in over 8 years - and his son), and a lot of other old friends. It was a good trip and a very refreshing, but short, time.
The highlight of the banquet each year is the presentation of "Outstanding Alumni" awards. This year Stephen Prophete (a native Haitian missionary), Shan Rutherford (a preacher in the Indianapolis area), and Joe Garman (best known for prison ministry around the world) were honored. All three of these men have seen God do some amazing things through their lives. They are each worthy of our respect and honor.
Early tomorrow morning I head for Boston. I'll be officiating the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships on the weekend (you can see it on ESPN on Sunday afternoon). I will also be spending a couple of days with Tim Hawkins and his crew who are starting a new campus ministry project in the Boston area - where there are almost 300,000 students on some of our nation's most influential campuses - Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Boston University, etc. I'm looking forward to the trip - except for the flying part.
Here are a couple of recent items regarding life on the university campus ...
Losing Their Religion: According to a recent Gallup Poll, some 17% of 18-29 year olds claim no religious affiliation, considerably more than the 10% of 30-64 year olds and only 4% of those 65 and over. 13% of men and 8% of women claimed no religion. The UCLA study on freshmen shows that while 52% of incoming freshmen say they attended religious services frequently during their last year of high school, that number drops to just 29% by their junior year in college. (as reported in CPYU #84, December 15, 2005) (abcnews.com December 6, 2005).
Uproar at Dartmouth: According to Christianity Today, the Dartmouth vice president for student life resigned immediately following a welcome address to freshman this fall when the student body president, Noah Riner, made the following remarks to the incoming class: "Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus . . . He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That's character." The VP for student life called the religious reference "reprehensible and abuse of power." (Christianity Today December 2005 p. 21)