Towers | Castle Tower

If someone asks me how I hope to change the world I tell them I read books.  It may come as no surprise that college faculty read, study, research, reflect, write, and teach.  But what might surprise you is what is produced from those intellectual pursuits.  Some folks like to demean college professors because it is thought they don’t live in ‘the real world’; they never come down from their so-called ‘ivory tower’.  Instead, let me introduce you to some towers of learning who wed that learning with the real world.

Hosea cannot park cars in his 2 car garage because that’s where he keeps his books.  He is one of the most well read professors I know.  One of Hosea’s many gifts to his urban leadership students is connecting them to a wide variety of resources they will need for future ministry.  The best team-teachers are brought into his classes; folks who are living Hosea’s teaching.  Hosea has countless community connections.  Living in the city in which he teaches Hosea’s instruction transfers immediately into meeting the needs of people.  Lilly was on the fast track in the corporate consulting world.  When 9-11 hit, Lilly asked herself what her Christian contribution to the world should be.  Radically changing the trajectory of her life, Lilly earned two masters degrees and will soon complete her doctoral dissertation.  Deep learning is transmitted into deep care for others in Lilly’s relational, practical teaching.  Now, Lilly commits her intellectual-applicational pursuits to training young people how to biblically counsel others.  Joel trains local church leaders, constantly connecting students with people who live on the front lines of helping people.  If you ask Joel if he knows about a nationally known leader, he’ll tell you about a conversation he had with that person just days ago.  The wonder of Joel’s teaching is interdependence with other voices who can speak into the lives of his students.  Working through his second doctoral degree, Joel’s intellect is interwoven with his love for others because of his love for Jesus.  Nicholas is teaching his students how to answer questions by putting on a public lecture at our local city library.  The practice of debating controversial issues transforms Nicholas’ classroom into a real-life laboratory.  Students are not taught canned answers to easy questions; instead they are hit with the reality of living which they will face each day.  Practicing his craft of apologetics while completing his doctoral dissertation is a testimony to young minds that the Christian life is empty without the Christian mind.

Now I’ll be honest.  There are some college professors who climb up into their ivory tower and stay there.  Some can’t teach their way out of a wet paper sack.  But I have watched members of my faculty as they climb the steps of that ivory tower; they come back down to give what they have learned and to live what they teach.  For Moody Radio, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found.

Mark believes Crossroad’s professors will do what some are afraid of: “these who have turned the world upside down have come here too” (Acts 17.6).  Tweet or Share if you like this post.  This audio-blog will air in April or May, 2012.

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  1. Thanks Mark. Enjoyed it. One very significant touch-point at which great thinking/discussion translates into tangible horse-power, IMHO, is when academia helps determine excellent ministry metrics — ie, objective indicators of real mission outcomes, progress or drivers. For instance, show me a city where The Church senses its responsibility to get the Great Commission done, and thus sets about praying & doing & checking progress along the way (with best measures of mission progress), and I’ll show you a city in which God may well use them to get it done. It’s a great opportunity for academics & practitioners… and an easy way for them to teach the next generation, by showing.

  2. Unconventional teachers! oh yeah! Marilyn McEntyre in Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies says, we must practice poesis to be makers and doers of the word. I say we must go further. While poiesis of the soul through the cultivation of virtue and knowledge is a part of Plato’s work, we must serve both up (Plato and McEntyre) in an appetizing manner for all to digest. Crossroads professors do.

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