Wednesday, August 22

Thank You, Calvin Miller


I was saddened to re11457992-largead of the death of Calvin Miller, who passed away Sunday at the age of 75. I’m sure there are many who read this who aren’t familiar with Miller. Dr. Miller grew up in Enid, OK and served as a pastor in Nebraska for thirty years and a seminary professor for twenty years after that. But he was probably best known as the author of over forty books.


Calvin Miller was an amazingly talented man. He wrote everything from children’s books to poetry to fiction to books that are used as textbooks in seminaries. He was also an artist. And he was a very gifted preacher and teacher – funny and engaging and insightful and moving. Many of his books and sermons were formative in my development as a Christian and a minister.


But they were all from afar until I had the chance to spend some time with him a few years ago. I invited Calvin to speak at our annual campus ministers’ retreat in Indiana. When he arrived, I was not sure what to expect from him. We had some very good speakers and writers at the retreat who weren’t “people” people and didn’t personally engage with those at the retreat. But from the time I picked Miller up at the airport, I knew that he wasn’t like that. We spent time driving the hour back and forth from the airport. We went to dinner. I discovered that Calvin Miller was personable and engaging and interested in every person he met. For the next two or three years after the retreat in Indiana, I received Christmas cards from him that featured a print of one of his paintings.


While in seminary, Deron Spoo served as Dr. Miller’s research assistant. In his tribute to Miller, Spoo writes:


“How can one person possess the gifts necessary to communicate to children, convict adults, and creatively communicate mysticism? Calvin embodied the gifts of Seuss, Milton and Brother Lawrence. But Calvin was much more than the sum of these parts. Calvin was a Christ-follower first and foremost.”


Finally, some of Calvin Miller’s own words from his memoir, Life Is Mostly Edges:


The edge is a good address. It is a good place to remember our temporariness. It teaches us to spend our time wisely. So our last days can become our best days.


Life is good. So is God.


And life with God is full of glorious daybreaks. After all, it was God who gave me the courage to walk the edges of a life that was never mine!


You can read more about Calvin Miller here.

Tuesday, August 21

Beloit College Mindset List for the College Class of 2016


Each August since 1998, Beloit College in Wisconsin has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. It is always interesting to see where the next generation of students are coming from – especially in contrast to where many of us in college ministry have come from.


Their Mindset List for the class of 2016 has just been released. Below are some of the highlights. You can check out at the complete list here.


What do you find most surprising or interesting on this list?




Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1994. For these students, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.



3. The Biblical sources of terms such as ‘‘forbidden fruit,’’ ‘'the writing on the wall,’’ ‘'good Samaritan,’’ and ‘‘the promised land’’ are unknown to most of them.


4. Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes ‘‘American royalty.’’


7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.


8. Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.


12. For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.


14. There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.


17. Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.


18. Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.


21. A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.


30. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.


40. A bit of the late Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, has always existed in space.


47. Before they buy an assigned textbook, they will check to see whether it’s available for rent or purchase as an e-book.


63. The Twilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.


70. Point-and-shoot cameras are soooooo last millennium.


73. Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive baseball games played has never stood in their lifetimes.

Wednesday, August 1

Olympic Track & Field–The Real Games, Part II


The Olympic track and field competition begins on Friday and I’m eager for it to get underway! NBC has promised unparalleled coverage of the Olympics. If your cable or satellite provider carries the NBC family of networks, you should be able to watch a live stream of any event or pull up an archived copy via your computer, tablet, or smartphone. I’ve “tested” it out on badminton and weightlifting on both my computer and iPad and it seemed to work. I hope that I can find the time to watch some of the track and field.


As promised, here are some more Olympic track and field stories to get you ready for the upcoming competition. If I discover more over the next few days, I will probably just post them on Facebook. So, if you aren’t friends with me on there, please hit me up!


From The Running Times, here is pre-Games quiz called “Olympics Believe It or Not.”


Of the 2,236 athletes entered in the Olympic track and field competition, 350 of the are former, current, or committed athletes at US colleges and universities. The SEC (including Missouri and Texas A&M) leads the list of conferences with 77 athletes. Southern California, Auburn, and Florida State lead the list of schools with twelve athletes each. Arkansas is next with eleven and has a list-leading five athletes who were members of their 2012 teams: Marek Niit, Raymond Higgs, Regina George, Ivanique Kemp, and Tina Sutej. None of these are competing for the US.


Though it is counter-intuitive, there has been years of debate on whether or not double-amputee Oscar Pistorius has an advantage over other runners because of his prosthetic legs. He is running in the 400 meters and on the 4x400 meter relay for South Africa in London. Here is Scientific American’s report on the issue. His is a pretty remarkable story, no matter what you think about the technology he uses to run.


The Wall Street Journal has an article called, “The Worst Way to Lose a Race.” It focuses on the 1,500 meters and brings back memories of some important Olympic races.


United States sprinters have been notorious at the last few major championship meets for not completing the 4x100 meter relays. Bad handoffs and dropped batons have seemed to be more common than medals. And it struck again at a recent warm-up meet for the US women’s team. Here is an article from the New York Times that looks at this in more detail.


Finally, here is another NYT’s article. This is on American marathoner Ryan Hall. It looks at the place that his faith plays in his running. It’s entitled “A Runner’s Belief: God is His Coach.”