Monday, April 8, 2019

Lebanon Impressions

‪On my trip to Lebanon, I saw churches and mosques, met children, educational and political leaders including a member of parliament. I attended a university program featuring Muslim and Christian students performing side by side dances like the tango and cha cha.  ‪This group of students from Lebanon, Syria, and the greater Middle East were singing the music of Bob Dylan, Alicia Keyes, and traditional Armenian melodies. Women were leaders in the school systems and the parliament member I met was a woman. All of these professionals were proactively dedicated to bettering their nation, particularly through education. The cities were a mix of tradition and modernity. Fashions were like any you’d see in most U. S. cities. The people were warm and gracious and I left having made many new friends from Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. There is nothing like travel to dispel preconceived notions and false assumptions. In the words of Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”‬ 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Surreal Moments

I often find myself in the middle of such surreal situations. Several months ago in South Korea with the famous evangelist Dr. Billy Kim (see?), I found myself in the middle of celebration in Seoul to honor the outgoing president of the country. President Hwang Kyo-ahn had just completed serving as Acting President of South Korea following the impeachment of the previous President. In the midst of the ceremony I was added to the program and unexpectedly invited to the stage to bring greetings and comments on behalf of the United States. With news crews taping and cameras clicking I managed to make a few comments and shake the President’s hand without causing an international incident.


Two weeks ago, the Emmanuel Theological Seminary and Bishop Samuel Thomas in Kota, India awarded me an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. Among my fellow honorees and those I was privileged to meet were human rights activists, a physician, actor and screenwriter Anupam Shyam of Slumdog Millionaire, Bollywood actor Kuldeep Sareen, and Bollywood songwriter Abhilash Ji. On our long drive from Delhi, I saw some of the heaviest traffic and driving that seemed to disregard any semblance of staying in one’s lane, or even on the correct side of the road. I witnessed traffic consisting of cars, tuk tuk auto rickshaws, motorcycles, bicycles, large trucks, pedestrians, horses, carts and wagons, camels, and elephants crowded on the streets and highways.


Last week I was with Bishop Noble Odai in Ghana dedicating a village well, distributing mosquito nets, and visiting schools in the bush. Often I was hiking through the bush in a suit and tie. We visited with Ghanaian Members of Parliament and the Ministers of Education, of Health, and of Civil Service.  Transportation along the overcrowded and traffic jammed streets and highways was facilitated by a police escort at high rates of speed dodging all manner and means of transport—often in the oncoming lane, or on the shoulder of the oncoming traffic. It was as close to being in a video game I’ve ever been. Then a few nights ago I was ushered into a television station where the Bishop’s Maranatha Television network broadcast nationally and across several African nations a one-hour live talk show with me as a guest.


Life has been a series of unexpected experiences and experiences for this kid from Wayne, Oklahoma. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

C. Henry Gold

Everyone ought to have a Dr. Henry Gold in their life. My original and longtime mentor in higher education told me to study and complete my MBA after completing my BS in Chemistry. He told me to work for him as a graduate research assistant and then as a teaching GA. He said I should apply for a full time faculty position and as the Dean of the business college he hired me in my first faculty appointment in 1985. He counseled me to enroll at OU and complete my PhD. When I began preaching and pastoring bivocationally, it was Henry Gold as Church Clerk, and my other mentor, Pastor Gerald Tidwell who signed my license to preach.

I never planned my career. Henry Gold did.

He was my professor, my boss, my mentor, and friend. He was a dedicated churchman, deacon, husband, father, and grandfather. When I left his employ to take a dean’s position, he was as proud as was my own family. When I returned to Oklahoma a decade later to serve as OBU president, he was appointed as a Trustee and once again served as my boss. He was a gentleman, fisherman, well spoken, erudite, genteel, and kind—so very kind. He loved Jesus, became most animated when talking of the Lord, and today, Henry Gold met Him face to face.

The photo is from his last day of service as a Trustee of the OBU Board.