Search This Blog

The UT Shooting Incident

Since I am at UT, I would be remiss not to mention something about an event that made international news here. I was not on campus when it happened, so can't claim any eyewitness insight. The odd thing personally is that a couple of years ago, when the student was still in high school, I lived one street over from him for about a year. Never knew the kid. It brings up the question, who else is living within walking distance of me that may be just a short time away from a spiritual crisis like him?

Should I feel guilty that I didn't meet all of my neighbors? No. It does remind me to keep both my physical and spiritual eyes open to those around me, asking the Lord to reveal who needs what means of grace are mine to offer.


The Least of These, Our Brethren

The current economy is causing considerable stress to many of our institutions, and hard decisions are needed. Last year, our university president sent out a notice that in order to maintain resources to attract top faculty hires, salaries for all support staff were to be frozen. A colleague in our fellowship sent a letter to the editor of a local paper that shared my concerns. As a rule, the support staff already make much less than the faculty, yet they do critical work that few faculty would even consider doing--how many Nobel laureates do you know who are willing to clean a dorm bathroom at the end of a rowdy weekend? They are called support staff for a reason-they support our work so that we can focus on what we've trained for and love doing. Making life harder for them risks cutting us off at the knees.

Jesus said, "whatsoever you've done for the least of these my brethren, you have done it also to me." (Matthew 25:40) We ignore our support staff at our peril, on many fronts. Get to know the staff who clean your offices/labs. When you see the bathrooms being cleaned, thank them. Take your admin assistant out to lunch or otherwise let them know you appreciate them. This, too, is ministry.

Coda: this year, the president announced a one time merit bonus that nearly all staff are eligible for. This is a move in the right direction. Good job.


Welcome Fellow Cats!

Let's face it--us academicians tend to be like cats. We're independent and tend to be loners, so ministering to us as a group tends to be like herding cats. Some of this seems outwardly imposed by the various demands we face by our classes, research, service, administration, family, and possible outside consulting or other obligations. We get in a rut, and tune out extraneous things, even when we sort of want to be involved, out of the fear of adding 'one more thing.'

We tend to get our spiritual encouragement on the run, and much of our information off of the web. That's where the Scholar Redeemer comes in--to address issues from a Christian, academic perspective, and to facilitate an online community for us. While this blog is targeted for faculty, it is open to academic staff, graduate students, undergraduates and, well, anyone with an interest in this breed of feline.

The title is a play on words from the book of Ruth--the kinsman-redeemer, a title often used in referring to Jesus. The higher education system is one of the most influential in the world, and those of us in it have been particularly blessed with contributing to that influence, and like all worldly systems, is in need of redemption by Christ. As the ultimate professor, teaching all of humanity about Himself, he is the Scholar-Redeemer.

Please join in through comments and emails. If you find this helpful or encouraging, please tell others.

Soli Deo Gloria