Tuesday, June 30, 2009

to be educated

A review of our book by one of my favorite professors at Texas Lutheran.

A book review by Norm Beck,
Poehlmann Professor of Theology and Classical Languages

If to be educated is to be led from one position and perspective to another, Dr. Tom Wilkens and Kim Wilkens, together with other members of their family and in interaction with their culture, eloquently demonstrate what it means to be educated. Their book, in a most profound sense, is also our book.

During the 24 years in which Dr. Wilkens was my closest colleague on the Texas Lutheran University faculty, I and thousands of others within the community of this University were blessed to be educated in so many ways by him. That education has continued during the past decade in which he and Betty, who had been our campus nurse, have traveled and interacted in educational endeavors in many other areas of the world. In the broadest sense, he reminds us that, although we may be resistant, if we are sentient beings we are constantly being educated by our interactions with others, especially by those who are younger than we are.

Kim Wilkens, co-author with her father, a graduate of TLU not too many years ago, provides an education and an articulation for all of us, including those who are closest to where she is in her life and faith pilgrimage. There is so much of TLU in these authors and in their book, a book that defines and exposes us.

The subtitle, “A modern father and postmodern daughter reflect on their pilgrimages of life and faith,” provides an indication of education within slightly more than three hundred pages and thirty segments, each segment of which can be read separately much as we might read articles in a Reader’s Digest publication, but with much more cohesion. The primary title, Un-American Activities: Countercultural Themes in Christianity, challenges us and alerts us to the educational scope of the work, expanding for us the purview of the book far beyond the arena that is TLU.

Find the complete review here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

where you do not wish to go

I'm at a conference in SA called The Jesus Way. Okay, I admit it sounds like an over-the-top Christian immersion experience and in some ways it is. And so in many ways, I feel like an impostor here. There are lots of people very comfortable with their Christian identity. The metaphor of sheep, ready and eager to follow a shepherd comes to mind. The thing is, I'm not sure many of us are prepared to go where we do not wish to go. That's what I've liked about this conference - is the challenge to do just that. Should being comfortable and being a Christian be mutually exclusive?

Where is it you do not want to go and what are you going to do when, inevitably, you arrive there? What will you learn? Who will you trust? How will you find freedom? When you find yourself where you don't want to be, will your life be about where you are or who you become? These are life questions that trouble me and I find that this is where the way of Jesus offers me the best hope to grow from challenging experiences instead of being buried by them.
wait for me by moby

i'm going to ask you to look away
i love my hands, but it hurts to pray

the life i have isn't what i'd seen
the sky's not blue and the field's not green

wait for me, wait for me, wait for me

i'm going to ask you to look away
a broken life will never stay

tried too hard and i always lagged
days are gray and the nights are black

wait for me, wait for me, wait for me