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November 2013

Important reminders

I find myself talking about "issues and opportunities for Luther Seminary" a lot these days. As an Elert reader, you are connected to the life and mission of Luther. You are aware of some of the issues we've been dealing with this year, particularly financial ones.

But with those challenges come opportunities. It has been encouraging to imagine the opportunities and to begin exploring them. In fact, we are in the midst of pursuing about a dozen major efforts, and normally we wouldn't dream of doing more than one or two of these at a time. But these are not normal times, so we are working on all of them.

Among these initiatives, for example, are: implementation of a new curriculum; a self-study for our once-a-decade accreditation review; a property task force; the "blue ribbon committee" on faculty structure and organization; a rewriting of the board governance documents; and a presidential—and then a CFO—search process. As you might imagine, I'm a little busy tending these diverse things. It is energizing to think about these opportunities, but it is also complicated and filled with uncertainties and many variables.

In a recent conversation with colleagues, I was fussing with a number of these. I admit I was feeling a bit overloaded with trying to assess and sustain them all. At one point, I asked one of my colleagues how students were responding to one of the efforts. She said, "Well, the students are settling into the semester ..." It was a reminder I needed. The students and faculty are settling into the rhythms of the semester. I knew that; I just needed to be reminded.

We are beginning the second half of the semester, and students and faculty alike have settled into the regular rhythms of teaching and learning. Like a steady heartbeat in the human body, this regular rhythm is going strong. In the midst of all our other activities, important as they are, I needed to pause and give thanks for those reassuring rhythms of teaching and learning.

We have exciting opportunities ahead, and we're not sure exactly where they will lead us. But God is in the midst of it, and however busy and complicated it gets, there is also the reassuring rhythm of learning and teaching at the heart of our life together. Thanks be to God!

Take care,


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