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One of the greatest lessons I learned during my undergraduate experience was a lesson in leadership. I did not know it then, but God had plans for me, plans that required me to understand a few things about people before he would entrust me with his purposes.

During my junior and senior years, I became the vice president then the president of a men’s service organization. I had enjoyed this club since becoming part of it right after arriving on campus. We set up and tore down banquets, assisted in county health and emergency needs, provided muscle for campus clean ups and other projects, and sponsored the annual spring celebration, a day of silly games, special luncheons, off-campus visitors, and of course a queen. As the president I got to escort the queen and help her plant the traditional tree. I moved on to escort another lady through life, but the tree still stands.

In my role as president I was directly responsible for the events of the big day. Every activity had to be planned and someone had to be found to develop and administer the activity. This is where I began my extracurricular lessons.

I discovered that there are several kinds of people (in this case it was all men, consistent with our club at the time). There are:

· People who say, “Yes,” and never fulfill their promise.

· People who say, “No,” mean it, and never do anything.

· People who must be begged, cajoled, urged, flattered, or even “threatened” with “dire” consequences, who eventually agree to do the job—maybe.

· People who say, “Yes,” but must be monitored while they do the work to assure it’s accomplished as mutually planned.

· People who say, “Yes,” do not require supervision, complete the task, and do it excellently.

I learned that the latter type of person is all-too-rare. But they do exist. One such person is Dr. Kevin Sims, who is now teaching at our alma mater. Kevin and I served together in that men’s club, and I will never forget his reliability, work ethic, and integrity. When he said he’d do something, it got done—well and on time. And once he took charge, I never gave the task a second thought. So I learned that this kind of commitment both achieves and liberates. It completes the task, and it frees the leader to move on to other things. So this kind of person makes a double contribution.

I’ve met only a few Kevins in my leadership experience, but I’ve learned to look for and greatly esteem them. They are the right kind of “Yes Men/Women.” They are “Do-ers” and “Builders,” people whose works are an apt expression of their faith.

I also learned not only to look for these kinds of people but to try to be this kind of person. I learned that how I handle assigned task says volumes about my character and my faith.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23).


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2007

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


We’ve recently been treated to a spate of notables revealing their inner child by making unguarded comments. Don Imus managed to offend women, minorities, moralists at the same time with his comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. Some people have said we should give Imus a break. But he’s a pro, was speaking on his own talk radio and television program, and was merely illustrating a career-long pattern of low-life comments. So when he lost his job I didn’t feel too badly for him.

Alec Baldwin is in another category—Dad goes ballistic with degrading comments aimed at 11year old daughter. He’s followed his angry tirade with mea culpas on Barbara Walters’s program, The View, but who really believes the one time he was caught on tape is the one time he acted like a dead-beat Dad?

Comedian Michael Richards, famous for his portrayal of Kramer on the television hit, Sienfeld, apparently has an anger management problem, amply demonstrated in a comedy club gig when he shouted down hecklers, complete with racial slurs. Richards botched his “I’m sorry” attempt on Late Night with David Letterman. If he’s not a racist, as he claimed, where did his incensed use of racist language originate? Richards tried to pass it off as an “Oops,” but who believes him?

Mel Gibson got in the act with his drunken defamation of Jewish people. His public mea culpa was creative, in essence saying “I’m not an anti-Semitic, just an alcoholic.” So he hopes we’ll overlook his behavior because he substituted an “acceptable sin” for an unacceptable one.

We’re going to see and hear more celebrity crudity, and for that matter, “Joe Average” and “Jane Doe’s” meltdowns, lack of manners, sexual peccadilloes, too. Because there’s nowhere you can go anymore that’s out of the reach of video and/or audio technology. Video recorders are posted in businesses and everywhere they go people carry cell phones with multi-faceted recording capacities. Add YouTube and MySpace to this and you can see how rapidly a few moments of crude words or actions can make you a star in a universe where you don’t want to be. And worse, once your indiscretions hit cyberspace, they live forever.

The lesson here is not to avoid technology like a Luddite. The lesson is that one’s character is on display everyday in every way. Of course, Christians have always known this, for the Lord looks upon the heart. And if maybe Mom doesn’t know everything after all, God does.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


My son is a 22 year old Sergeant in the Army Reserve MPs heading to Iraq in early May. So I listened with a Father’s interest to President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy speech delivered Friday, April 20, 2007, in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Our Sergeant is in Ft. Bliss, Texas nearing completion of almost three months of in-country combat and medical training. He enjoys what he’s doing, and he’s pleased to serve his country. Mom and Dad are proud of him. But pride and patriotism don’t bring one’s son home soon.

Sitting in a choice seat in the third row, I already knew what President Bush hoped to accomplish in Iraq and why he thought it was essential. But I wanted to hear how he proposed we get it done and how soon he thought American service personnel might come home. Nothing new in this. Just the yearning of every war-weary American and certainly the desire of nervous parents.

We’re in Iraq, President Bush said, because the primary lesson we learned from 9-11 is that terrorists can and will bring their hate to our shores. “Our enemies make no distinctions based on borders,” so America can no longer afford to be isolationist. “What happens in Baghdad matters in the U.S.”

Beyond a desire to defend ourselves, President Bush believes that all human beings want to be free and the vast majority of people want to live in peace, because “the Almighty” made us that way. If most Iraqis are given a chance, they will not turn to terror or help terrorists. The President refers to Iraq as a “young democracy,” and points to the 12 million Iraqis who voted for freedom three years ago. In his view, most Iraqi people are glad for American intervention, but we’re still fighting because “The U.S. wants to achieve peace and build lives. Insurgents want to achieve terror and take lives.”

President Bush puts great stock in his new strategy of counterinsurgency warfare. Top priority is to help Iraq secure its ability to put leaders in place by training and mentoring Iraqi security forces. We’ve moved American troop bases from the outskirts of Baghdad to neighborhoods we expect to secure. Unfortunately, the President said this new strategy will take some time, will bring higher risks, and will result in higher casualties.

But things are improving. The President said the number of sectarian murders has dropped by half since the latest operation began. But since the developments of peace are not as spectacular as a terrorist bomb, media tend to focus on the worst experiences of war.

Mr. Bush said people want to withdraw despite progress on the ground. “It’s gloomy despair in Washington,” he said, “but cautious optimism in Baghdad.” But withdrawal is not a strategy. It would “plunge the country into chaos,” and “it would encourage enemies like Iran.”

The President says what we do not want to hear, that the fight in Iraq will be long and trying. We are in “a difficult moment in history. But it is a consequential moment. The security of America depends directly on what happens in Iraq.” The danger is real and our troops understand this best. They are “doing what they do so that 9-11 will never happen again.”

The President came alive in the last few minutes of his speech, liberated at last from a prepared text and expressing his core values. He believes in the “power of liberty to overcome an ideology of hate.” For a proof he sites the power of liberty transforming enemies to allies—in particular Japan. Referring to his father’s heroic service against the Japanese in WWII, he wryly noted, “41 fought them. 43 works with them. Japan is now a partner in peace.”

We want our Sergeant home safe and soon, but we understand his role in protecting the freedom hard-won by our fathers. Clear objectives, clear strategies, and coordinated resolve are the safest ways our troops can operate in harms way. The first two essentials are within our grasp. The question remains whether the American people can provide the third—the will to see tough times through to resolution. American troops can succeed, but the rest of us must back them.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2007

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Soulforce pulled a fast one on us today. All 26 of the riders came back to CU and entered our College Chapel this morning.

As far as we know, never before has Soulforce returned to a school once it had moved on and never before has Soulforce gone en masse into a chapel uninvited. I was on the program and we were going to debrief students on yesterday's experience, but Soulforce's actions thwarted us.

Vice President for Student Development Tom Emigh spoke to the chapel audience at about 9:10 am, telling them what was happening and why Soulforce was not permitted to be in chapel. At 9:25 am we cancelled chapel because of Soulforce’s disruption. At about the same time, the Soulforce riders began filing out of their own accord, knowing that they had probably pushed the limit of time available before the Grand Rapids Police Department arrived and possibly arrested all of them. It was a $100 fine yesterday and would have been, I was told, a $500 fine today.

A Soulforce leader said they “just came to worship,” but their actions belie their words:

-- They could have come in street clothes and attempted to blend with our students. Instead most riders arrived in gray Soulforce logo jackets.
-- They sat together for a more visible impact.
-- They had a video camera person staged inside Mol Arena and two still cameras outside.

After exiting the Hansen Athletic Center, all but two Soulforce riders walked off campus to the Leonard Avenue sidewalk. Two riders walked with two or three of our students to the campus bookstore and were stopped by police officers on their way back. Their names were taken and, since they were with our students—making the legal lines hazier—and since they agreed to leave, the police did not arrest them.

I was asked by the press, “Some might say you made your point yesterday when two people were arrested. Why not just let them alone today?”

I answered, “I understand the compassion or the desire to be hospitable that lies behind that view, but there’s another principle at stake here. If any organization can at anytime come to our campus and involve itself uninvited in any program or event, than we don’t have control over our own programs or property.  Our liberty is being violated. That’s true for you as a homeowner and its true for every corporation and organization in this town. Soulforce’s actions are ethically and legally questionable.”

I don’t know if they will come back to CU again, but we're about "Soulforced out."  It's time to move on.

Yesterday's coverage and off campus response to what we are doing was and is very favorable.  We are grateful for people's letters, calls, and notes of support and for their sustaining prayers.

Sadly, the texts I had chosen to reference today in chapel were Matthew 7:3-5 and Luke 6:41-42.  This is the parable warning us not to get carried away judging the "speck" in someone else's eye while we ignore a "plank" in our own eye.  My point was going to be that, "Yes, Soulforce riders have embraced the 'speck' of alternative sexuality and this is immoral, and we should continue to pray for them.  Meanwhile, we must not forget the "plank of sins (other kinds, perhaps, but still sin) in our own eyes." 
We cannot speak for or control others' choices, but we can commit our own to the Lord.

I think this biblical teaching reminds us to beware self-righeousness even as it points us back to fixing our eyes on Jesus.  I wish I could have shared this truth.

Thank you to so many who have prayed and are praying for CU.  We want to glorify him.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2007

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

Soulforce made its uninvited visit to the edge of the Cornerstone University campus today. The organization had been repeatedly and kindly informed that its tour bus stop was not welcome and that riders would not be permitted on the campus.

When enough media were present Soulforce sent two of its members onto campus, knowing that Grand Rapids Police officers stood ready to arrest them. They got their photo op, handcuffs and all, which is standard operating procedure for the local police.

Soulforce is an advocacy group that promotes alternative lifestyles (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) in the name of Christianity. The group is supporting two spring bus tours, similar to the one it developed in spring 2006, to targeted Christian colleges and universities—19 last year and 32 this year. The group informs colleges or universities of its desire to come and schools have either responded with a “Yes,” allowing some engagement on campus, or a “No thank you,” allowing no access or on campus engagement. Cornerstone University said “No” for a variety of reasons we’ve listed on our website.

Meanwhile, CU did preclude or even discourage its personnel or students from interacting with Soulforce riders in off campus venues. A few of our people chose to interact with riders; most did not, primarily, I suspect, because it was business as usual at CU with all classes and other typical activities in full swing. I am proud of our students and personnel who in no way displayed anything but respect for the riders. For this I thank them.

As a Christian university, Cornerstone cares about people and their spiritual needs. We attempt to apply a biblical worldview to the entire scope of issues that present themselves in contemporary culture, including sexuality and sexual politics. But we also believe that whatever God calls sin we should call sin. And we believe it’s important to function in a manner that avoids extending legitimacy to a group like Soulforce that, ironically, stands for sin in the name of Jesus.

We do not believe that alternative lifestyles are the “worst” sin or the “unpardonable” sin. In fact, we believe sin is sin and while we are rightly concerned about the “speck” of sin in the form of sexual immorality in one person’s eye, we are also concerned about the “plank” of other kinds of sin in our own eyes (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42). Consequently, we do not hate nor even dislike the Soulforce riders. We believe they are spiritually lost sheep who are being used by an organization with an agenda—we say “used” because it’s the riders who raise money for this tour, take their time to participate, get themselves arrested and develop a record, while other sophisticated leaders and wealthy supporters of Soulforce watch from afar.

We will continue to pray for the riders. While we believe Soulforce has a right to exist in this wonderfully free country in which we live, we respectfully disagree with their values and actions. So while we affirm their right to speak in public venues, we also affirm our right to speak in our private venue. In the end, we want our actions, even and especially saying “No,” to be a form of the Scripture’s command to “speak the truth in love,” for we believe that love without truth is ultimately no love at all.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2007

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

The slaughter of innocents at Virginia Tech University is a form of apparently random killing rooted in a rage that most of us, thankfully, cannot understand. More than thirty students dying at the hands of a lone gunman in the otherwise bucolic atmosphere of a small town university is, in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s words describing the death toll of 9-11, “more than we can bear.”

In the wake of such carnage people have done the human thing. In their understandable grief, anguish, fear, and confusion, they’ve looked for someone to blame. But the real culprit “robbed” us of an opportunity for justice by taking the coward’s way out—suicide.

But we still needed someone to blame, so major news media outlets, some students, some parents, and a host of other Americans tried to lay the horrible ordeal at the feet of the university and its beleaguered administration, particularly the president. While it’s true that any human endeavor can be evaluated on the basis of 20/20 hindsight and that such hindsight can always find ways things could have gone differently, this days-long media frenzy at the expense of V Tech was over the top and unfair.

We’ve already learned from 9-11 that no tragedy will ever again go unreported by its unfortunate participants. Cell phone calls, photos, and videos, IM mailings, and emails were underway before the shooter finished his brutal work. Meanwhile, the university administration—the people ostensibly “in charge,” could not communicate as rapidly as participants because the administration is “the authority” and leaders cannot comment until they triple-check their facts. This takes time.

My point is that no authority figure will ever again be able to outpace the communications capacity of the people experiencing a catastrophe. So it is more than presumptuous for securities experts to go on air the day after the mass killings at Virginia Tech University and pontificate that “If the university had done (thus or so) lives would have been spared.”

First, we really don’t know that lives would have been spared because events didn’t happen according to the expert’s analysis. Second, even if it may be so, the same could be said of the Battle of the Bulge. Leaders lead, generally and most often with their best efforts, and consulting experts who have for the most part never lead anything or anyone are not fair measures of leaders’ effectiveness.

Major news media also tapped psychologists and other students of the mind, trying to make sense of a senseless event. “How could this happen?” “Why did it happen?” In a search for meaning every human being at least viscerally understands, media stars act as our surrogate pastors, providing comfort and solace in the face of uncertainty and loss. But more information doesn’t always meet our need.

The bigger question, generally unasked and unanswered in major media presentations, is “How could or why would a loving God, if one exists, allow this to happen?” Or another way of asking the question, “How can one believe in a loving God, or any God for that matter, and make sense out of this kind of suffering?”

The answers are these. First, we don’t really know. The Omniscient Creator God’s ways are not our ways. He keeps his own counsel and sometimes we cannot discern his purposes. Second, we know the Sovereign God is not surprised, that tragic as the Blacksburg horror is, it is not an “accident” in the sense that God didn’t see it coming. Third, the Just, Loving, and Righteous God is not the source of evil, but he has allowed evil to exist in this world since Lucifer challenged him in eternity past and later tempted Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden. Allowing human beings to choose evil also allows them to choose good. Human beings are free moral agents in God’s design for the universe.

Four, a young man full of hate, a lost sheep, apparently marched determinedly toward the fateful day at V Tech. His sinful heart and sinful choices are the blame for this unspeakable tragedy. Five, God is still in charge. His purposes are greater than what we can see or what will likely ever be reported on cable news. Even as the massacre unfolded, God’s grace was at work in others’ hearts in ways we may never fully understand.

For most of us this is another reminder that we live in the Last Days, a time of increasing prevalence of evil, increasing intensity of evil, and more far-reaching harm from evil. But it’s also a time when the love and hope of Christ, the message of a God of second chances, and the value of a biblical moral view shine in bolder relief than ever.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2007

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at