We are moving on to a living-learning community, a new project designed by my old friend and Melanchthon scholar, Scott Keith. There are several of these. CUI Bono, started by Faithful Masks fellow, Dan van Voorhis, will have voluntary honors-type conversations with scholars. Another group is living together and working on study skills. Another is dedicated to healthy living. Mine? We are called Global Village. We are about welcoming a big group of international students to campus, and helping our American students learn about people and issues around the world. As a theology prof., this surprised some. But we are excited. It connects us back to an emphasis of founding CUI president, ethicist and World Religions scholar, Dr. Charles Manske, who wanted this West Coast Concordia to "face east." Thus, we will, with my son who's studying Japanese, do a lot to explore cross cultural issues and the history of mission across the pacific.
So that's what we are doing. But why I share it is this: we are surprisingly thrilled to be doing this. We cut our square footage down to a third. We were in a bigger living room at an inexpensive suite, during a recent vacation. We now hear students moving in, and they are loud. And again, we are happy to be doing this. Happy, in particular, because it is the right vocational trajectory for me. Until recently, I was on a track straight for top level higher administration. I think I did pretty well with all that. I interviewed for top tier positions. But in that process I realized I was missing something. That something was a direct line to my vocation: rich engagement with students.
Now that I'm back in the classroom more, I don't go home with the old regrets of having paid insufficient attention to great students like Steven, Miranda, Sam, Frank, and Shannon (to name a few) whose forgiveness I hope I have. There were so many conversations I never got to, since I always had a meeting or accreditation report for which to cut good conversations short.
Now, I'm rich. I get to walk out of my apartment and sit down for coffee with students coming from and going to class. I have time to record a podcast to promote the mission of Faithful Masks. That's why I got into academics in the first place.
Why is it that we so often let circumstances dictate to us the nature of our fulfillment? Why do we pay even the slightest attention to the social status of our choices, rather than hear a voice calling us to what will give us joy? Today, perhaps you'll consider whether you are on the right train, headed to the right place. What's stopping you from living in Peru, if that's a place that can help you do what makes you tick? You. So stop stopping yourself from hearing your calls, even if they beckon your family of four to a 900 square foot apartment.
For further reading/listening, consider:
* Freakonomics, "The Upside of Quitting"
* Gene Veith, God at Work
The logo we used is by designer and photographer, Dana Van Etten.