Thanksgiving and Togetherness!


Dear Colleagues and Partners,

Having just celebrated an annual American holiday, Thanksgiving, I found myself thinking about it in a new way.

Of course, I did begin from the usual (and important!) angle of giving thanks, and of really looking closely at all that I do have to be thankful for. I am often struck by the fact that as a father myself, I often did and do things for my three daughters about which they have absolutely no idea. I just do it, because I am their dad and love them. So too, I often think about the fact that God does things for me/us about which we have absolutely no idea. God just does it because of who God is. And so I gave thanks for things I know nothing about!

Then I also began to think of the legends and myths of America's first "thanksgiving" and the heart warming story of being helped by the indigenous peoples so that they could survive the early cruel and bitter winters.

Of course, the subsequent history, the reality, of how indigenous peoples were treated (and often still are) tells a very different tale.

The legend would suggest that the "pilgrims" were willing to receive help and advice and wisdom from the indigenous people. If true, it represents the sort of heart that we at WCIU believe should be at the center of any authentic transformational development: "we" don't have the answers and solutions, but we can learnt to humbly receive from one another and together find solutions to the roots of human problems.

And by "we" and "together" I mean also, again,  the place of God in all of this. And am thus brought back to where I started: giving thanks for all God does to bring God's blessing to all peoples...all the time, constantly pouring out grace. And it is for us to recognize, embrace, and then open handily share together in that goodness.

With gratitude,


Learner Directed Learning


Dear WCIU Colleagues and Friends,

Recently we welcomed four new students into our program. 

Today I signed diplomas for two graduates.

Last week our faculty and leadership spent a full week digging deeply into our curriculum and its foundational premises, looking ahead to how we more effectively use the treasures we have been given to mentor more effectively.

We began with an hour looking at Luke 5 through 10, listening to the scriptures to see how Jesus mentored and trained. We wrote insights on the board and left those notes on the board all through the week, returning regularly to refresh our memories and allow those words to shape our thinking and planning.

One of the major efforts we are making is an increasing shift toward "learner directed learning". In the words of our Vice President for Academic Affairs, Paul Pennington, we want to shoot from seeing our faculty as "the sage on the stage" to being the "guide on the side". 

And as we look at Jesus' own teaching style, we see frequent use of provocative questions, mysterious stories (told to provoke further questions rather than to make something clear), and learning in the context of doing. 

How does WCIU incorporate more of this in the future? That is our focus for our next months.

For the flourishing of all peoples....