Skip navigation

Category Archives: Musings

I am a native of Kansas City, MO.  I was born here (actually in Kansas City, KS), raised here, employed here and educated here.  After graduating from the University of Kansas, we – my wife and I – moved and settled in the Kansas City area.  Six to seven years later, we moved to St. Louis, MO with our 1-year-old daughter in tow (our son was born 6 years later in St. Louis).  We settled in Ballwin, MO. We were homeowners in a new subdivision, Waterford.  We built our first house in this subdivision. We lived in this house for 25+ years — many memories were formulated in this house, in this neighborhood, in this quaint subdivision.

Nearly, four years ago, we moved back to Kansas City, MO. After 25 years in one spot, you become known.  And I was known in many ‘circles’ including the Covenant Theological Seminary circle (9+), the Lindenwood University circle (7+), the First Baptist Church of Chesterfield circle (12+) and the Waterford Subdivision circle (25+) to name a few.  The numbers in the parenthesis indicate how many years I dwelled in those environments or better how many years I poured myself into those environments. I poured myself into the city and most importantly, I poured myself into personal, life-on-life relationships.  Needless to say, the transition back to my hometown, Kansas City, has been difficult.

Recently, I had lunch with my dear friend, Elizabeth Dent George, who is also a professional counselor. She helped me to see something: ‘being known’ is a genuine need for all human beings. When Elizabeth moved from St. Louis to Phoenix, AZ years ago, she had to hit the ‘becoming known’ reset button.  Since moving to Kansas City over 3+ years ago, I have had to push the reset button for ‘being known.’ Becoming known again to a familiar and different city, to old and new friends, in old and new circles is a long and arduous process.


A voyeur is defined as (1) a person who derives sexual gratification from observing the naked bodies or sexual acts of others, especially from a secret vantage point. And (2) a voyeur is defined as an enthusiastic observer of sordid or sensational subjects. Basically, a voyeur is someone who likes to “look in” on the lives of others. The film, The Truman Show (1998), portrays wonderfully our voyeuristic tendencies. Unbeknownst to him, Truman Burbank’s (Jim Carrey) life is being televised into homes, into the local diner, into the athletic club, etc. “The Truman Show” is a live broadcast of Truman’s every move and it has viewers’ rapt attention.  Reality TV shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Big Brother, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Survivor allow us to “look in” on the lives of others. Oftentimes these reality TV lives are scripted (or staged) but nonetheless, we love looking in via our TV set.  When a car accident occurs or when see a police officer interacting with a citizen, we have a tendency to slow down and “look in”. Of course, this is where we get the phrase “rubber necking”.

Another tendency or rather a need we have is to be known.  To be known implies that an ongoing relational investment is required. To be known is normal.  A wife wants to be known by her husband; a husband wants to be known by his wife.  An employee wants to be known by his employer; an employer wants to be known by his employee.  A football player wants to be known by his coach. In many instances, the normal human need to be known has been replaced with the striving for significance. Or maybe we can say, that in many instances, the normal human need to be known has been replaced with the desire for attention?  Some seek significance by posting, writing or saying outlandish and inflammatory things. Some pursue significance, or better attention, by their scanty attire. Some seek significance by embellishing (or falsifying) their educational or professional credentials. Some pursue significance by out performing their peers on the job.  Some seek significance by their home address (or zip code) or by the car they drive or the company they keep. Some seek significance by sharing quite personal and ‘shocking’ information via the various Social Media outlets.

Speaking of Social Media outlets, it seems to me that Social Media — Snap Chat, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. — brings our desire to be known and voyeurism together.  To be sure, some go over board with striving for significance or wanting attention; nonetheless, we like to “look in” while they do.

Perhaps, voyeurism serves our need to be known.  Social media outlets serve our voyeuristic tendencies.  Maybe that’s why these outlets are so addictive for many. The normal human need to be known is normal; what is not normal is the over-the-top ways people seek significance – most of which is unhealthy. Or better, what is not normal is the over-the-top ways people seek attention.


Like most Christians (or maybe not), I was taken aback by President Obama’s edict that forces public schools across our country to allow those who self-identify as transgender to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.  Before attempting a response – what does it mean to “self-identify” as transgender?


“People who identify as transgender or transsexual are usually people who are born with typical male or female anatomies but feel as though they’ve been born into the “wrong body.” For example, a person who identifies as transgender or transsexual may have typical female anatomy but feel like a male and seek to become male by taking hormones or electing to have sex reassignment surgeries” (see

How might a Christian respond?

First, we must treat those who self-identify as transgender with dignity and respect as they too are imago Dei bearers (Genesis 1:26-28).  This means among other things to take time to listen to their stories, to show them hospitality, to serve them, to advocate for them, etc. For example, we must teach our kids to stand up to bullies of those who self-identify as transgender.

Second, we dare not abandon those who self-identify as transgender.  The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, if we don’t associate with swindlers, the sexual immoral or those who self-identify as transgender, then “board a space ship” and leave this world.  (Of course, Paul does not say “board a space ship” but you get the point.) This is not the time to retreat, erect walls and throw “condemning grenades” over the wall at these precious people.

Third, we dare not condemn those who self-identify as transgender.  No one has that right except God alone.  Even Jesus did not come to condemn (John 3:16-17). So, to condemn others would be usurping God’s role as final judge.

Fourth, we must know the difference and not be fooled.  Many in the LGBT community are playing the anti-discrimination card. True, we should not deny these dear people the rights and privileges and access to public restrooms as any other American but this is not the same as denying Black Americans their rights and privileges – all of which had the ugly and insidious precursor or precedence of US Slavery.   To equate the discrimination that those who self-identify as transgender face with the discrimination that blacks faced in this country is to be fooled and it sadly makes light of the many beautiful dark skinned imago Dei bearers who died and/or who suffered gross inhumane indignities in and during US Slavery (and Jim Crow).

Fifth (and finally, for now), we must allow businesses – both Christian and non-Christian owned and operated – to struggle with how to accommodate those who self-identify as transgender.  Most public businesses offer a service to the general public and they cannot be partial to one group over another (and this includes schools too).  This is why I believe it is okay for a photographer, who is a Christian, to photograph a wedding between two people of the same sex.  Some Christians would quickly object, “this is condoning a sinful lifestyle.” If we follow that logic, then supporting a restaurant where the owners are not Christians is condoning their non-Christian worldview and accompanying lifestyle.  Many professional athletes are paid exorbitant salaries; when I pay for a ticket to see these athletes in person, then I must be condoning this greed and/or excess.  Jesus invited Himself to a known crook’s home, a crook who became rich from his fraudulent practices; following our logic, then, would suggest that Jesus condoned Zacchaeus’ sinful behavior. To serve others whose lifestyles are in stark contrast to ours is not condoning their lifestyles; rather, to serve others whose lifestyles are in stark contrast to ours is being a conduit of common grace (Matthew 5:43-45).  It appears Christian have forgotten this vital teaching on common grace.

(Note: if the photographer is not okay or his conscience does not permit him to, that’s his prerogative.)

To say that this issue is complex is an understatement; however, God promises to give the Christian believer wisdom and wisdom generously if we simply ask for it (James 1).

My list is by no means exhaustive of course; again, because this is a complex issue and there is not a neat and tidy how-to-list.

Society vs. Biology

There is one matter worth commenting on and one I struggle with: this whole notion of ‘self-identifying’ as male or female. For millennia, one’s gender at birth was determined by one’s biology; it was not a matter of my choosing or my parents choosing.  Even today expectant mothers and daddies want to know the sex of their unborn child.  And technology allows that; this technology can pinpoint the biology, and thus, the gender of the nascent infant in utero.  Most applications for work, etc. still only have two boxes for gender: male or female.  Male and female have been the binary distinctions of the human race since the beginning of time and this binary distinction transcends time and culture. This is because of natural law.  C. S. Lewis refers to this natural law as the “Tao” in his book The Abolition of Man.  In the appendix of the book, he shows how many natural laws regardless of one’s ethnicity or culture (civilized or not), have been recognized for millennia.  How can we, as a society, change what has been “naturally” binding for years and years and years?

To be continued…

I was invited to give a “TED like” talk at the Common Good (CG) Conference 2015 on October 3.  The organizers imaginatively and creatively titled this portion of the conference, “CG Talks.”  My talk is given below with a few tweaks.


Let me tell you what I plan to talk about: I need to define some terms, I plan to tell you a story and then I plan to share three (3) principles.

Define Terms

When talking about imagination, we need to distinguish it from the word, fantasy; first, to imagine means to think creatively of possibilities that are rooted in reality (the reality described on the pages of Scripture). Fantasy, on the other hand, is rooted in a made-up reality. Sorry fellows but “fantasy football” is rooted in a made-up reality. And not to leave the ladies out, this too is a fantasy: having two men at once, one cooking and one cleaning.

Now that we have our terms defined, let me tell you a story. This story takes place in Canada (the Promised Land as one of my seminary professors was fond of calling it). A 17 year old male is just getting off of work and he notices a couple nearby; and the man is hollering at the woman. Instead of walking away, this young man approaches the couple (all this reminds me of Jesus’ Good Samaritan Parable in Luke 10; the Priest and Levite were getting off of work too but they passed on to the other side leaving the injured man to die). Nonetheless, this young man quickly picks up on contextual clues that the woman was in trouble and he tells the couple that he is headed where there are and offers to buy them food, the man agrees…but this young man actually told a little white lie! (Google the young man’s name, Malyk Bonnet).

Is it okay to lie? Yes, I would submit to you that this is an instance this young man exercised his imagination – like the Hebrew midwives did in Exodus 1 who lied to Pharaoh; like Rahab who lied to the local Jericho police in Joshua 2; and like the Quakers did in helping slaves escape via the Underground Railroad from the South to the North (‘Canaan’ or code for Canada.). All these people knew that it was okay to lie because a human life was at stake and the Hebrew midwives, Rahab and the Quakers knew what Augustine had apparently said, “an unjust law is no law at all and therefore we are not obligated to follow it.” This young man diverts the man’s attention long enough to call 911 on someone else’s phone because his phone died; the police soon arrive. This man who was berating this woman in public had a checkered past and was intending on abducting this woman.

Three (3) Principles

So what can we learn from this story, this weekend and the Bible. 3 principles:

  1. All people were made to flourish;
  2. We are called by God to help others flourish – regardless of the risks;
  3. To imagine is what it means to be human; otherwise, why would God say in Ephesians 3:20 (“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think [imagine], according to the power at work within us); so we all are capable of imagining possibilities for the other.


Finally, where did we see human flourishing in this story? One, the woman was allowed to flourish because this man wanted to abduct her; and two, the society-at-large flourished because this man who had many brushes with the law was taken off the streets – he would no longer be a menace to society.

The Only One

A University of Kansas (KU) student recently posted, “I am the only black person in this class.” When I was a student at KU many moons ago as an electrical engineering major, I was often the only African-American in a class.  When I graduated from KU and started my career as an electrical engineer, I was often the only African-American in my department.  When I attended Covenant Theological Seminary (St. Louis, MO) I was often the only African-American in classes.  When I assumed the role of Director of the Francis Schaeffer Institute, I found myself as the only African-American in many social contexts.  I now work for a small non-profit, BBT (Biblical Business Training), which is owned and operated by a gracious Christian white couple and recently at their home, I looked around and you guessed it, I was the only African-American there.

I often ask myself, “why are you using your gifts in the majority culture, a culture that has enough resources while many African-Americans are not afforded the benefits of your gifts?”  I have these existential moments at times.  I asked recently, “why are you using your gifts for BBT that presumably serves more whites than others?” (See our website to see what we do.)

So Tiring

Quite frankly, this is so tiring – being the only African-American in all white contexts.  Why? Mentally, it is tiring because I am constantly saying to myself, “should I say that?”, “should I make that gesture?”, “should I hug a white man’s wife?” A friend and colleague referred to this mental exercise in the company of whites as doing “mental gymnastics.” Blacks live in two worlds: their world and the white person’s world and the reality is: in America, the white life experience is normative – which means the white majority sets the rules for social engagement – what is proper and improper, etc. The white majority defines “business casual” for example. So, I have to constantly be on guard and remind myself which context I am in.  An African-American lecturer put it this way, “African-Americans have to be the master of double-talk.”

Divine Answer

I know that God has providentially led me to BBT for a season; how long is that season? I don’t know. So, I will remain faithful to the task at hand.  God has so gifted me to do what I do; and He does the calling and placing.  He commands and orders, and I say, “Yes Sir.”

Relate and Non-Relatable

Some will relate to my existential dilemma if you have gifts and want to use them for a less served demographic.  Like using gifts for the impoverished in regions in Africa, South America or in the inner city. However, unless you are a minority, you cannot relate to being a minority clothed in dark skin in the company of mostly whites. And that’s okay!

I live in a predominantly white suburb in Kansas – the “Sunflower State”.  We are fairly new to this neighborhood.  I have met a few of our neighbors.  We have Nebraska Cornhusker lovers to our right; KU Jayhawk lovers to our left (my favorite neighbors thus far). Directly across from our house is an elderly white couple who are grandparents to a handsome, outgoing and athletic bi-racial kid.  One day while mowing my lawn, I noticed this bi-racial little boy and a white little boy playing with a toy guns.  From where I was standing, the toy guns were of the Nerf Tommy, Nerf Zombie and Nerf Sniper variety. They hid behind trees and cars dodging what appeared to be soft tipped rounds. When one depleted his rounds, the other little boy took advantage and rushed and depleted his rounds on the other boy. Watching these little boys playing, instantly sent me down memory lane to my life as a little boy where we played ‘Cowboys and Indians’ and ‘Cops and Robbers’ on 60th street (just West of Swope Parkway in Kansas City, MO).  My family nor my friends had the money to buy Nerf guns or anything comparable; rather, we used our imaginations to build forts, to make our ‘make shift prisons’ and to make our own weapons.  We played in what might be considered the city (certainly not the suburbs). Today, I wonder – could me and my friends play ‘Cowboys and Indians’ and ‘Cops and Robbers’ in the old neighborhood? When I am a grandpa will I pass up the aisle in my local Wal-Mart store with the toy guns?  Will I discourage my grandson or granddaughter from playing imaginative games like Cowboys and Indians or Cops and Robbers? Times are really different today.

I sat with a gentleman at a local Starbucks recently and our conversation directed us down this path of asking, “Is there such a thing as an original idea?” Somehow we landed on the topic of Apple’s Phone Watch.  My friend mentioned the Jetsons Cartoon series; we both remembered watching this animated cartoon series as kids. According to Wikipedia, “the Jetsons family lived in a futuristic utopia of elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms and whimsical inventions.” Wikipedia goes on to say, “the original series comprised 24 episodes and aired on Sunday nights on ABC beginning September 23, 1962, with primetime reruns continuing through September 22, 1963. It debuted as the first program broadcast in color on ABC-TV. [And] following its primetime run, the show aired on Saturday mornings for decades, starting on ABC for the 1963–64 season and then on CBS and NBC. New episodes were produced for syndication from 1985 to 1987.” Italicizing and bolding the years was intentional. While my memory of the technological gadgets showcased in this cartoon series is faint, this show illustrates that someone imagined robots before robots existed in automotive factories or hospital rooms; and someone imagined “intelligent” or ‘smart’ wrist watches as a means to communicate before Apple’s Phone Watch debuted.  The ‘smart-watch’ (pictured below Apple’s watch) was worn by someone in the Jetsons cartoon community (1962); presumably, this watch was worn by George Jetson. It appears like Apple’s new Phone Watch has or will have the ability to display visual images (2015). So, I ask, “is there such a thing as an original idea?”

Another example. My wife has family that lives in Pawnee, OK.  Why is that important? Chester Gould hails from Pawnee and he is also the creator of the cartoon strip, Dick Tracy.  This cartoon strip made its debut on October 4, 1931, in the Detroit Mirror. And it was distributed by the Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate.  Gould wrote and drew the strip until 1977.  Google the name “Dick Tracy” and you will likely find him listening to his ‘talking watch.’

One last example, I published my first book, “Living Salty and Light-filled Lives in the Workplace” (Wipf and Stock, 2014). Basically, it is an exposition of Matthew 5:13-16 and applied to a specific place: the workplace. My hero, Dr. David Clyde Jones, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics (Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO), wrote this review of my book,

“In December 1940, British church leaders looking ahead to post-war social reconstruction included among the necessary vital points ‘that the sense of Divine vocation must be restored to a man’s daily work.’ Luke Bobo shows how that problem persists in our contemporary world and offers an experience-based, theologically informed, practically oriented approach to the Christian walk in the workplace.”

In sum, I am not alone in ‘seeing’ that many Christians do not sense or regard their vocation as a divine vocation.  I have simply recycled or given voice to an idea or problem that has persisted for some time. British church leaders were ruminating over and wrestling with the subject of my book 74 years ago; and George Jetson was sporting a watch that looks quite similar to Apple’s Phone Watch 53 years ago. And if we assume that Gould imagined Tracy’s talking watch in 1931, this is 84 years ago! So, I ask, “Is there such thing as an original idea?”


I know of a dear lady who will turn 70 years old this year. Like many parents of grown kids, she desperately wants grandkids to coddle and spoil.  She is also looking at her son to have offspring to continue the family name.  This dear lady is an African-American and she wants her son to marry an African-American lady.  However, her son is currently dating a white woman.  She is seemingly amazed over these ‘recent developments.’ Quite frankly, I am amazed that African-American parents are amazed regarding interracial dating.  Here are a few reasons why many African-Americans, including the millennial generation, are crossing that oft barred racial divide:

  1. Complete Immersion. This lady’s son went to an all-white high school; he was the only African-American in the entire school of 600 students.  This is complete immersion into another culture.  When middle-class African-Americans move to the suburbs, their kids will likely be in predominantly white contexts and will likely find those of the majority race attractive.
  2. Ahistorical.  Many young people are simply oblivious to the severe racial tensions of yesteryear.  Simply put, many millennials are ahistorical. In general, the white-black issue is not a big deal for this generation.  (Recent events, however, with Michael Brown, Eric Garner, etc. may awaken these young whites and blacks. But I doubt this will curb the number of interracial couples.)
  3. Postmodernism. Postmodernism is the air that millennials have been inhaling since being the womb as those born after 1985 have been dubbed the ‘postmodern generation.’ Postmoderns, in general, are anti-authority or cynical of authority.   This means that postmoderns will debunk societal, artistic and even familial norms. Postmoderns have an interest in multi-culturalism; they like to explore other cultures.  Postmoderns regard their personal experience as truly indicative of reality or as the way things truly are.  These three tenets combined – anti-authority, interest in multi-culturalism and high value placed on personal experience –  increases the chances for an African-American son or daughter to cross over and date someone of a different race.
  4. White females are the standard.  2014 has closed and 2015 has begun.  Yet the white female remains the ‘standard of beauty’ in our world in general and our American culture in particular. Look at most commercials, look at most magazine covers and a white female will grace the cover.
  5. Role Models.  Many well known people have crossed the racial divide and young people have taken note.  Consider Eddie Murphy who has been dating Paige Butcher for a number of years.  Consider Robert Griffin, III (RG3) who married the former Ms. Rebecca Liddicoat (a white female).  50 cent dated comedian Chelsea Handler for a spell.  Halle Berry is married to Oliver Martinez (a fair skin man).  And recently, the world saw New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, who is African-American.

African-American parents should not be amazed at such things!

Most impactful teaching

I attended Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO.  I graduated with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in contemporary culture.  Yet, the most impactful teaching I took away with me was the gravity of the imago dei – its meaning and implications.  Imago dei means image of God.   Every human person is made in the image of God or better every human person is an imago dei bearer.  The abled and disabled person is made in God’s image; the poor and middle-class person is made in God’s image; the educated and illiterate is stamped with the imago dei; Libertarians, Democrats, Republicans are made in the image of God; the embryo in utero and those who are on life support are made in God’s image; Asian-Americans, Asians, Europeans, Africans, African Americans, Bosnians, Iranians, the Taliban, Hispanics, etc. all are made in the image of God.  Police officers, lawyers, engineers, rappers, Bonnie and Clyde, gang bangers, pimps, janitors, trash collectors, baristas, city dwellers, suburbanites, kids, husbands, wives, siblings, CEOs, etc. are all made in God’s image. Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, tarot card readers, psychics, prisoners, orphans, foreigners; the blind, the mute, AIDS sufferers, etc. are all made in God’s image.  Heterosexual, homosexuals, transgender, metrosexual, etc. – are all imago dei bearers. Being fashioned in the image of God is what distinguishes mankind from animals.


Since every human person is made in God’s image or is an imago dei bearer, every person named above is to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.  Every human person comes in different hues, different shapes, sizes, heights, with different abilities and idiosyncrasies – but every person is an imago dei reflector. Every human life is sacred from ‘womb to tomb.’ Every human life has inestimable value and worth. And this worth and value is inherent.  Persons do not earn their value and worth; it is rather inherent – it’s innate. Every person was created for a purpose; to contribute in some way to our society and world.

Social justice begins with the imago dei.  Fighting injustices begins with the imago dei.   Seeking to end sex-trafficking, for example, finds its basis in the imago dei. Seeking to reform all human institutions begins with the imago dei. Working so that all people have access to affordable health care, affordable housing, a good education, healthy food, etc. – all begins here with the imago dei. The authors of the Declaration of Independence must have had this imago dei teaching in mind when they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. risked his life and the lives of his family because he was convinced that blacks as well as whites and all people are made in God’s image.

Personally, this is why I weep when ever a person dies senselessly; when a human person is stereotyped; when a person is criminalized because of his skin color (or when a person is a “symbolic assailant” as one colleague puts it); when a person is told “you will never amount to anything’; when a little kid is abused by mom or dad; when a boss withholds a promotion to a person because of his race. I grieve over the death of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown and police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos and countless others whose life was taken from them.

Imagine with me: what would our world, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, our families, our homes look like if we regarded each person we met or interacted with as someone of inestimable worth and value? Christians have no choice in this regard! Churches have no option but to teach on the imago dei and the church has no option but to live out the implications of this teaching.  Sure we see color and other features when we ‘see’ another human being; may we see first the person’s worth and value, then their (you fill in the blank). Or, may we see ‘the other’ with the ‘Eyes of Our Heart’ as this song from the film, Radio, suggests:

Close your eyes, the physical can be so blind
In my eyes, the innocent can be so wise
It’s not about black or white, this is wrong or right
Can you take a stranger and treat him like your brother?

Love don’t start with the eyes, it starts with the heart
Look deep down inside, in all that you have a chance
To make a choice, to make a change
So make the choice to look with the eyes of your heart

Close your eyes, the light of love will lead the way
In the eyes of a child, we’re all the same
If we’re all God’s children, the logic is so simple
The one you call stranger is really your brother

Love don’t start with the eyes, it starts with the heart, yeah
Look deep down inside, in all that you have a chance
To make a choice, to make a change
So make the choice to look with the eyes of your heart

No, I don’t mean to preach, some may say that it’s unrealistic
‘Cause none of us is perfect, but the way that I say it
What do you just try to see with different eyes
Could you see that what is done to you is done to me?
We want humanity, yeah

Oh, love don’t start with the eyes, it starts with the heart
Look deep down inside, in all that you have a chance
To make a choice, to make a change
So make the choice to look with the eyes of

Love don’t start with the eyes, it starts with the heart
Look deep down inside you have the chance
To make a choice, to make a change
So take the chance

To make a choice, to make a change
So make the choice to look with the eyes of your heart

I am so indebted to Professor Jerram Barrs, who taught me this ‘way of seeing’ my brother and sister. Thank you brother.

I had the great honor and privilege to teach at Lindenwood University (St. Charles, MO) for nearly 7 years.  For most of this time, I was the Department Chair of Christian Ministry Studies (CMS) and Associate Professor.  Listed below are few reflections during my tenure.

Love for students.  I learned that I love undergraduate students.  These students don’t come with neatly and tidy lives; rather, many are quite broken (like yours truly).  Over the years, many young men have confessed their addiction to pornography.  Many of the young men had practically no relationship with their fathers.  A few have confessed having pre-marital sex to me.  Some come from severely dysfunctional homes.  Some struggled with anxiety issues.  However,  I found that the phrase, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” to be so true with this generation.  Many of these students made me laugh and cry; and many frustrated me and many improved my prayer life!  I really believe many of these lovely students sensed my love for them as many still ask me to write letters of recommendation for them and many still ask me questions via text or email.  And my students know that I love questions!

Love for ideas.  Academia affords the academician a milieu to engage with an assortment of ideas – some logical, some illogical and some paradoxical.  The academy is a place to get intellectual stimulation. Dr. James Evans, President at Lindenwood, often refers to the academy as “the republic of ideas.” This was so true at Lindenwood.  The many disciplines not only made this “republic of ideas” possible but the many countries who sent students to Lindenwood made this possible too.  At Lindenwood there were over 90 different countries represented.  This meant colorful languages, worldviews, cultures and ideas were in abundance. Such diversity of ideas enables one to hone his or her critical thinking skills (this was certainly my experience). And engaging with such a wide assortment of ideas also expanded my worldview (one benefit of a liberal arts education).

Life-on-Life.  I was privileged to participate in many life-on-life contexts with my students because I loved my students by teaching them with excellence (I tried to bring my “A” game every class period);  I loved my students by traveling with them, by praying for and with them, challenging them, listening to them and serving them (e.g., I bought books for some, I helped some find lodging, some I visited in the hospital, some I donated money to, etc.).  In other words, many invited me into their ‘private lives.’  What did this look like? I officiated 4 weddings and participated in 2 weddings of my students.  Some of these students allowed me to provide pre-marital and post-marital counseling.  I was invited to meet their parents and grandparents at meals.  These memories will live on forever in mind as long as I am able to remember.

Love for teaching.  I have been gone from Lindenwood since June 2014 and as the length of time away from Lindenwood widens I realize that I was designed to teach folks.  I long for the classroom. I simply love teaching.  My wife notices my love for teaching.  Others have commented to her about my love for teaching and the impact it has made on their lives. For example, one former math student told my wife this, “I developed a love for math after taking your husband’s class.”  Words like this just fuel me to keep on teaching. And words like this make me weep!

Love for my colleagues. The CMS department was housed in the School of Human Services.  This school is also ‘the home’ for my former Social Work, Nonprofit Administration, Military Science, Criminal Justice and Fire and Paramedic Science colleagues.  I found these dear colleagues to be the most professional, congenial and ‘down to earth’ group of folks I have ever worked with.  This is not to say we did not “have our issues” because we did; but I will miss them as much as I miss my students.  I would be remiss if I did not mention my dear colleagues in LCIE (Lindenwood’s College for Individualized Education).  I ‘cut my teeth’ in this accelerated evening adult program and the colleagues there were so hospitable.

Love-Hate Relationship with Grading.  I have a love-hate relationship with grading.  I love it because grading provides feedback on how well or not so well I taught.  Grading was a way to determine if my students were able to ‘connect the dots.’ I also love grading because often I received assignments that were so well done that they made me smile and cry! (I am serious.)  I do not literally hate grading but I dislike it because it can be so monotonous and because of the finality of grades. An “A” or a “D” will remain on a student’s official transcript into perpetuity.  Because of this finality, grading was quite stressful for me.

These are just a few of my thoughts.