An Important Mother’s Day Message

An Important Mother’s Day Message

To all you college students out there, listen up. I have an important Mother’s Day message just for you.

I know you are in the heat of final exams and term papers and squeezing out the best grade you can make in that tough class. I know you may be thinking only of graduation, summer school, or a sunny vacation right now.

But there is a day that shows up on the calendar the same time every year and it needs your attention. Your mother needs a card, a call, a flower, or a gift. Any sign or signal from you that lets her know she is lovingly remembered on this day will do more good than you’ll ever know—until you have a kid in college.

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What’s So Wrong With Casual Sex?

What’s So Wrong With Casual Sex?

In our culture, sex has become recreation for many. It no longer requires intimacy or friendship. In the hook-up culture, you pick someone in a crowded room and go to a bedroom with them. The introduction of the birth control pill removed consequences for unplanned sex. Then the condom removed the fear of venereal disease. Then the morning-after pill removed the remaining worries. And if all else fails, abortion erases the “oops.”

Science has altered the consequences of sexual intercourse. Culture stepped into this new scientific world and detached sex from its deeper life-bonding meaning. And now, it’s just sex, nothing more. What’s the big deal? Why get so uptight? Protect yourself, use condoms, and if all else fails, there’s always abortion. What’s wrong with premarital sex?

I wish to challenge this assumption and mindset. Sexual intercourse is more than a physical act.

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Character Association

Character Association

My first car was a red Volkswagen Beetle. My cousin and I co-owned it. The carburetor did not function correctly, and one of us had to sit in the back with the seat removed and work the choke. The engine was in the trunk. We drove the “under repair” vehicle in our backyard, round and round and round, until we were old enough to get a driver’s license. By the time we hit the road, the grass in our backyard had an Indy track dug into it. We had also repaired the carburetor, making a backseat accelerator unnecessary. The little VW was a tough, durable car. I still see them on the road today. And every time my wife sees one, I get punched.

The game was called Punch Buggy. Spotting a VW gave you permission to slug the arm of the person you were with. I much preferred the other VW spotting game—Perdiddle. In this game, if you saw a VW with only one working headlight, you had permission to kiss your date. A VW today can get you kissed or punched. You’re never quite sure which one to expect.

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What Happens When Dating Dies

What Happens When Dating Dies

In my last post, I introduced you to what’s happening in today’s relationship culture among young adults. Dating is actually dead, and rampant attachment anxiety means that “hooking up” is the norm. Men and women are not burdened with commitment in their relationships.

So, what does this mean for the next generation? I think it’s some pretty scary stuff.

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If Dating Is Dead, What’s Next?

If Dating Is Dead, What’s Next?

My role on university campuses for the past 30 years has given me a front row seat for the movie titled Dating. Relationships between college students have become so nebulous that the defining question on campus is, “Is this a date?”

I owe my understanding of the cultural shift in dating to Dr. Scott Stanley. He visited Trevecca Nazarene University in the fall of 2014 and lectured on the topic “Sliding vs. Deciding.” Dr. Stanley is a research psychologist and professor at the University of Denver and is a recognized specialist on cohabitation (living together without being married). His assumption is that dating builds the necessary foundation skills for commitment in marriage and that the demise of dating has left us sliding into relationships rather than deciding about relationships.

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Fighting Back

Fighting Back

Peter Drucker became my best friend the day he declared that one of the three toughest jobs was being the president of a small college. I selfishly agree. Leading a university challenges every natural instinct I have; for instance, the instinct to defend myself and fighting back. Thankfully, it has never come to fisticuffs. Most of the confrontations have been quite civil.

In the small university, everyone assumes that the president is the final authority on everything – grades, financial aid, hiring, firing, student discipline, and interpretation of any policy. Rather than calling those who specialize in these things, they call me directly. They have heard something they did not want to hear and they want me to overturn the decision. It has taken me 10 years to learn a few basic lessons about fighting back.

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The Big Idea I’ll Be Working On In 2015:  Reduce College Student Debt

The Big Idea I’ll Be Working On In 2015: Reduce College Student Debt

I suppose universities can make New Year’s resolutions. So here’s mine for Trevecca Nazarene University in 2015.

I resolve to find a way to reduce the debt of graduating students at Trevecca while simultaneously reducing the growing cost of unfunded aid to students.

Our students graduate with an average debt of about $21,000. This means some have more, some have less, and some have none. I could write about how this $21,000 is similar to the cost of a good used car, which will decrease in value the minute they drive it off the lot—while their investment in a college degree will repay itself about 47.6 times across the next 40 years.  I’d invest in a proven return like this every day. But my resolve is to drive this average debt number into the teens and find a way to keep it there or lower.

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Today’s College Students Are Tomorrow’s Leaders

Today’s College Students Are Tomorrow’s Leaders

College campuses across the country are once again coming to life as students head back to school. The same is true at Trevecca Nazarene University here in Nashville. Our sidewalks and dorm hallways are busier these days as we’re all gearing up for the first day of the fall semester next week.

This has been on mind lately as I’ve been featured on a couple of websites. Please check out my guest posts at Ministry Matters and Student Leadership University.

Must Be Present to Win

Ever been at one of these? They are giving away stuff but you have to be there. No phone-ins or email registrations. You must be present, on the spot, in the moment… or you do not qualify.

Developing leaders is like this. We engage people in the very work we are doing as a shaping experience. At Trevecca Nazarene University, our chief administrative leaders are charged with identifying up-and-coming leaders who have the capacity to assume our role someday. …

Read the entire article at Student Leadership University’s blog here.

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My Top 10 Must-haves for College Students

Ah, August.

Summer’s winding down as retail store aisles fill up with pencils, markers, and glue. Ask any parent what’s top of their mind these days and I guarantee you’ll get an answer that sounds a lot like this: ‘back to school!’

Read the entire article at Ministry Matters here.

Here’s wishing all students a wonderful 2014-15 school year!

Is College Worth It?

Is College Worth It?

Is college worth it?

This seems to be the big question these days. You know my prejudices before reading the rest of this post. And if I wrote only from the perspective of worldly wisdom, my answer would go like this:

The pay gap between college graduates and everyone else has reached a record high. “According to the new data, which is based on an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree…. The decision not to attend college for fear that it’s a bad deal is among the most economically irrational decisions anybody could make in 2014.” (David Leonhardt, The Upshot, May 27, 2014) The value of a college education has never been higher. Trevecca students graduate with an average debt less than the price of a mid-sized used car and will go on to earn half-a-million to a million more during their lifetime than their non-degreed peers.

But this answer, while true, bows to the wrong God. Money has been elevated to a position once held by God, the ultimate justifier. President Obama and the US Department of Education are rolling out new requirements that the incomes of college graduates must be tracked for proof that they make money. The one common religion that encompasses the entire world is the pursuit of wealth. Now the only sanctioned reason for going to college is to make more money.

While I am committed to an education that enables a graduate to do great work, I believe the reason for a Christian university is much more radical. We are training cultural and economic missionaries who invade every field of human work with an alternate view of reality. Our graduates believe that the kingdom of God comes as we do the will of the Father on earth as it is done in heaven.

What if there was a college that graduated people marked by the character of God, whose work ethic was driven by their moral values, and whose concern for the neighbor made the world more just and gracious?

What if there was a college that taught its graduates how to make a life?

I went to one. I work at one. It’s called Trevecca. And it’s worth every penny.

New Songs

New Songs

One of the things we give to the next generation is our songs. Sometimes they like them and keep them and sing them. Sometimes they don’t. My generation gave you the Beetles, the Beach Boys, the Bee Gees, and Black Sabbath. You kept the Beetles and Beach Boys, but tossed the Bee Gees and Black Sabbath. No problem. Some things are worth keeping. Some aren’t.

When our first grandchild was born I wanted to give Eleanor Grace a gift that might have the chance of following her through life. I knew things would disappear, so I decided on a gift that would be planted deep in her consciousness – a song. First I chose the tune, and every time I held her or walked with her or rocked her, I hummed the tune. “Doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo.” (The actually tune is an old English melody titled “O Waly Waly.” Several hymns have been written using the tune.) It became our song.

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