Community, Excellence, and Joy, Part 2 (Closing Interview, Faithful Is Successful series)

ESN: One of the largest themes of the series has to do with issues of faith and ambition. It seems that God has called us to do our best work for Him, and yet He’s also called us to seek humility and associate with the humble. Any further thoughts on navigating that tension?Read more…

Giving Thanks: A Christian Approach to Vocation (Scholar’s Compass)

The man standing at the podium swipes his hair back again and continues with is presentation. He has a new theory, challenging the one that has become the status quo, which has staved off competing explanations for decades. He drops numerous names and somehow in the mix mentions the deficiencies of his father. I begin to suspect that this proud, brilliant, and yet surprisingly insecure scholar is no longer filling just a lacunae in the field but a hole in his heart.Read more…

Ambition and Identity: Interview with Bruce Huber

I hope that Christian scholars will be emboldened to excel in their work while wholly immersing themselves in the story of God. Integrating faith and scholarship is difficult in many fields. We haven’t always been very imaginative in how we’ve undertaken that. We should do all we can to nurture conversation and push the frontiers of thought in that connection.Read more…

Serving the Church through Scholarly Ambition (Scholar’s Compass)

Today I’m thinking about how academics can use their gifts to serve the church, encouraged by Bruce Huber’s essay in Faithful is Successful. As Huber wrestles with the thorny question of ambition, one of his conclusions is that ambition can be pursued rightly in the context of service to the body of Christ. This has me thinking about the many faithful scholars I know through ESN and elsewhere. I thought I’d make a partial list of some ways I see the fruit of faithful scholarly ambitions supporting the church, universal or local.Read more…

Listening to our colleagues: Muslim, secular, Christian. Interview with David Vishanoff

Too often we are so immersed in the tacit standards of our own discipline that we don’t stand back and try to reimagine them in radically Christian ways. Not jettison them and start over, but just notice how our standards and expectations embody and reinforce our sinful nature, and imagine how those particular sinful patterns and blind spots might be redeemed, right here in the specific department or conference or library where we find ourselves. It’s exhilarating, really, if we let our imaginations run wild a bit.Read more…

Sacrificial Listening (Scholar’s Compass)

David Vishanoff’s paper is a fascinating challenge to both Christian and secular academics to rethink the attitudes we have towards studying other cultures and worldviews. His model of ‘sacrificial listening’ has arisen from his study of Islam – as well as other world religions – and essentially consists in pursuing relationship rather than objectivity as an epistemological value.Read more…

Faithful Is Successful: Learn to Discern (Scholar’s Compass)

I left a highly secure job as a high school teacher in a beautiful suburban setting, teaching subjects that I loved most to share. Life was ideal and my income was strong. Yet, God had other plans. Within five years, my husband and I had four children and in the sixth year my mother had a paralyzing stroke the month before my husband was to start graduate school.Read more…

Faithful Is Successful: Interview with Howard Louthan

There is a huge cultural gap between the church and the university, and we are called to bridge it. Frankly, I have never felt completely home in either world. While my university friends need to learn to see nuance and diversity in the Christian tradition, those in the church have much to learn from the university. During our time at the University of Florida my wife and I collaborated with a local Christian Study Center to try to bridge these two worlds. We sponsored speakers who lectured both in a professional setting at the university and also to local church audiences.Read more…

Staying Faithful to the Hidden Life (Scholar’s Compass)

The author first remembers rethinking models of success when he and his wife, also a professional historian, discovered they were having twins near the end of their respective PhD programs. The future was very promising then, with various competitive research grants won and a publishing contract obtained together, for a historical project they had been working on alongside their dissertations. Certainly a rare and exciting feat for two young married historians. At first the oncoming twins seemed the ‘first major speed bump’ towards this ‘fast track to success,’ but naturally, children are much more than that! Read more…

Faithful Is Successful: Interview with Matthew Cabeen

A congressperson once asked a scientist, “Why should we keep funding so many research projects when such a small percentage actually make important contributions to human society?” The scientist replied, “You are right that very few projects have profound results. But the problem is that we don’t know beforehand which few projects will be the important ones! So we have to do them all.” I see an important parallel to family life here.Read more…

How to Be a Christian Grad Student (Scholar’s Compass)

My vivid imagination has created a wonderfully precise image of a Christian graduate student who talks, teaches, writes, and researches with faith, intelligence, and success. She is articulate about her beliefs among her colleagues, brilliant in her research, and is influential in her students’ academic and spiritual lives.Read more…

Faithful Is Successful Interview: Dano Jukanovich

For the last almost two years, I have juggled a number of different roles: continuing to oversee Karisimbi Partners with frequent travel to Rwanda, conducting leadership training seminars in China periodically, refurbishing a 150 year old farm house, barn and vegetable-stand, supporting my wife’s work in a stressful senior executive role, being the primary caregiver, playdate scheduler and sandwich maker for our 5, 8 and 11 year olds.Read more…