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Sunday is a day for renewal, involving reverence, rest, recreation, reading, rumination, re-visioning, refreshment, and relationships.

Reverence means focusing upon the Lord who can rejuvenate our spirits. This preferably includes church attendance where we can worship in community. In any event, it means recognizing once again that all good and perfect gifts come from God.

Rest might include the renowned Sunday nap, but it might not. God rested on the 7th Day of Creation not because he was tired but because he wanted to enjoy what he had done. Rest allows us to review and reconsider, ponder and appreciate. Rest is part of restoration. Rest usually means a pause, but it might also mean activity like recreation.

Recreation is another form of re-creation, rebirth if you will, an opportunity to juice the spirit and the mind as well as the body. Recreation can make you tired, but it’s a good tired rather than a stressful one. Watching sports is OK, especially when enjoyed with others. But getting active is probably more important for most of us in the couch-potato-culture in which we live.

Reading is still the best way I know of to exercise the mind, and it is one way the Lord speaks to us through his Word, the Bible. Unlike watching television, a passive activity, reading is an “active activity.” It introduces new thoughts and experiences, even if vicariously, and it increases both our vocabulary and our facility in using that vocabulary.

Rumination is a fancy word for thinking. In the Scripture it says Mary the Mother of Jesus witnessed the events following his miraculous birth and “pondered them in her heart.” She thought about them. Most of us, certainly me, would do better if we ruminated more and talked less. Meditation on spiritual matters is also important, one with an honored and worthy tradition in the history of the Christian Church.

Re-visioning is an opportunity to take stock. Are we on the right track? Do we need to adjust our heading if not our destination? Is there some new, bold, proactive step we could take in our lives that takes advantage of the time, talent, and treasure God has given us? Should we take a calculated risk? Is it time to step up and step out?

Refreshment can involve the obvious, food, nothing wrong with that. Food can involve quantity, type, or quality. Maybe we need to “eat better” rather than more. Or refreshment might mean re-energizing the spirit or body via the activities we’ve mentioned. The key is to find something we can do or experience that is different, i.e. non-repetition, from what we typically do day by day.

Relationships speaks to the opportunity the weekend in general and Sunday in particular usually affords for reconnection with family and friends. We don’t often admit it, but even the most individualistic among us needs others. We need each other for support, iron sharpening iron, or simply camaraderie.

It’s not that any or all of these things cannot be accomplished any day of the week. It’s just that most of us are far too professionally engaged to pause long to reflect about anything. Without reflection there is no renewal. No better day for that than Sunday.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

 *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 Dr. Rogers at


Early in my career I taught a course called “Christian Social and Political Responsibility.” It was fun. At least I thought so. Not sure about the students.

I thought the most fun, and coincidentally the most learning, took place when we defined terms used in political discourse. We did this knowing that public debates often produce more heat than light, in part because people talk past each other by using the same-word-different-meaning.

Here are a few words dealing with racial politics.

Diversity refers to the rich variety of human demographic attributes God created for our enjoyment and his glory, including race, gender, ethnicity, and physical make-up. At times I add socio-economic status. But I do not include sexual orientation, religion, or religious orientation, particularly if it might be construed that I believe an organization may not make hiring decisions based upon moral views regarding sexuality or religion as protected categories. I don’t have any problem including religion or even sexual orientation if we’re talking simply about respecting others different from ourselves in a free country.

Reconciliation is a word I use to describe the human need created by what a sociologist once called our “relational dilemma.” At the Fall in the Garden of Eden sin broke our relationship with God leaving a “hole” in our hearts. This brokenness characterizes the human race, the individual human being, and Creation. We may be reconciled to God through Christ’s sacrifice and finished work on the cross by virtue of God’s grace and forgiveness. Believers are God’s reconciling ambassadors in this broken world, carrying the message of reconciliation, and God will one day reconcile all of Creation to himself. Sometimes this word is applied to racial concerns as in racial reconciliation. If this means working to restore a right relationship vertically with God and horizontally with our fellow humanity, I support and promote it.

Antiracism might be the most problematic word in this list. I use it to refer to policies or approaches to race relations and racial understanding that identifies racist, which is to say prejudicial or discriminatory, ideas, attitudes, and actions and attempts to help or require people to grow beyond them. But this word is used by a variety of groups that proclaim there’s no such thing as race or that define virtually all opportunity or merit-based advancement in capitalist society as racist. I can’t embrace these usages of the word.

Social justice is an outcome of the Gospel evidenced in the lives of believers who attempt to apply Christian values in life and culture by loving their neighbors as themselves. Working toward social justice is a Christian responsibility, a necessary part of obedience to God. Examples include the biblical Good Samaritan and in more recent history England’s William Wilberforce. Social justice exists when human beings are eternally valued, protected in liberty, treated with dignity, given access to equal opportunity, and encouraged to live with moral accountability before God.

How we use words matter.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*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 Dr. Rogers at

I’ve been blessed and stressed with the privilege of leading in my life.

I consider my leadership experience to be a gift from God and I wouldn’t trade any part of it, even the most difficult times. One reason leadership is special to me is I believe I was (and still am in a different assignment) doing what the Lord wanted me to do, and another is that I learned a few things.

It sometimes bothers me when I read leadership books or articles written by people who’ve never led anything. It’s not that you can’t learn from them. Of course you can. On the other hand, experience counts for something in everything we do in life. My first experience in upper-level administration began in 1988 and in one assignment or another continues to this day.

Giving Good To Whom It Is Due In the fall of that first year I hung a Bible verse, written in calligraphy, on my office wall. It’s never left my wall to this day. I can see it now as I write. This verse is a reminder and a commitment:

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it” (Proverbs 3:27, KJV).

I have not always measured up, but I’ve tried to make this principle a key ingredient of my leadership philosophy. In that spirit, one of my favorite leadership tasks has always been handing out awards, especially at graduation. For years I told university audiences “Commencement is my favorite day of the year.” That day like no other expressed what we were about.

Celebrating faculty or staff book publications is another example. Recognizing authors in front of their peers with a gift of a matted, framed cover of their new book is big-time fun.

Ideas-That-Weren't-Mine I also enjoyed citing what I called “Ideas-That-Weren’t-Mine.” Certainly not every great idea came from me, even if as president I was usually the one who took the idea to the Board, personnel, students, constituency, or the public. Pointing to beautiful buildings or growing programs or successful projects and remembering aloud by name the person who birthed the idea was and is a great way to enjoy highpoints.

A leader’s satisfaction shouldn’t come from trying to be the most brilliant person in the organization. Leaders who try this usually bloom early and quickly wilt. No one can keep up with this and no one else wants to endure it. A leader’s satisfaction should come in helping develop an organization that attracts talented and dedicated people, one where they want to work, stay, and thrive.

Leaders In Demand Leaders are always faced with the question of demand. Everyone wants a piece of whoever wears the top hat. I tried to be visible on campus in as many places and as often as reasonable—the “managing by walking around” idea. Of course, others often defined reasonable differently. But a leader has to make these decisions in a way that stewards the entire organization, as well as his or her needs and family life, not just those of a given interest group. I liked to speak regularly in chapel so the student body remembered who I was and hopefully connected with me. I wrote regularly for the student newspaper, which I strongly supported and believe is a key ingredient in a healthy university.

Taking A Position I tried to avoid “university positions.” Issues come and go, but whatever they are, people usually want an organization, especially a Christian university, to “take a position.” At times I stated “my position,” but except for a few key moral questions, I tried to side-step making statements that purported to be the “university position.” Not every issue controversy—actually not very many issue controversies—require a “university position.” I told people the university had a stated mission, values, and doctrinal statement, beyond this, for the most part “positions” should be the province of the faculty, staff, and students.

Decision-Making Finally, as I reflect, I can’t identify very many decisions about which I can say, “I did that.” Obviously I made many operational decisions in the course of daily administration. But I’m talking about leadership style and the fact that the bigger or more significant the decision, the less likely the leader should make it alone. This was true for me, contrary to what people often thought. Think of it this way: “If you’re going to play your cards close to your chest, you’d better be good.” Why not take advantage of the talent and experience around you?

Once a decision was made, I announced it—and if necessary, took the hits. It’s the leader’s job to share the credit and absorb the blame, whether or not he or she deserves either at any given time.

Leadership is not about the leader. It’s about the mission and vision of the organization, the people who make this possible, and the contribution to the greater good an organization makes. Sounds lofty, but that’s what makes leadership, at least effective leadership, significant and fun.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

*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


I hold graduate degrees in political science, so I began my academic career teaching government and politics courses. Later, when I became a university president, I told people “I don’t teach politics anymore, but I practice politics every day.”

Writing for Radio For over 16 years, I was privileged to write a daily radio program. Doing so was not my idea. It was our vice president for broadcasting’s idea, and his vision for what it could do proved correct. Nothing I did garnered more frequent and more positive response, or opened more doors for my day job as president, than the “Making a Difference” radio program.

Philosophy of Life My philosophy of life, something that for years I’ve called “Proactive Stewardship,” also helped me in leadership. Proactive stewardship may be an inelegant phrase, but it captures what I believe the Word of God teaches about leadership. It means that I should be forward-thinking, “pro” rather than “re”-active, and that I am accountable to God for the time, talent, and treasure he’s given me. So I tried to develop a leadership style characterized by a high degree of energy, a strong work ethic courtesy of my father’s and two grandfathers’ influence, a fairly quick work pace, a lot of ideas and “vision” (doesn’t always need to be your own; can embrace anyone’s good ideas and vision), and a hunger to do more and better for the Lord.

Organization Charts One of my favorite maxims regarding perennial debates about organizational structures is that “Any system will work and no system will work. It depends on the people in the system.” I’ve yet to find an organizational chart silver bullet that fixes everything. So, I’m pretty open to changes in the chart when it seems warranted, including titles, because such things are all means to an end: accomplishing the mission. But you also have to remember that titles mean something to people and changing a title can unsettle as well as reinforce personnel.

Developing Leaders I believe in developing leaders throughout the organization. Two corollaries: I believe in strong, which is to say proactive and effective, leadership at all levels, trustees, the president, vice presidents, deans and directors, and personnel. And the stronger the leaders at each link the stronger the chain. And I believe in accountable leadership, first to the Lord as I noted above and then to others.

Making Hard Decisions Making what I called “hard decisions,” those involving people’s job performance or continuance in the organization, are the most stressful any leader faces. The most difficult decisions are those involving the termination of an employee for cause or, even more difficult, a reduction in force required as part of an organizational budget adjustment.

My most challenging time in leadership occurred when the university experienced financial shortfalls and we were forced to make adjustments laying off several staff members. It hurt, relationally, emotionally, physically. It was one of those times in leadership when I had trustees speaking in one ear saying, “You’re doing the right thing,” or “We’re with you on this,” or the one I’ll never forget from a close trustee friend, “I’m walking right beside you in this.” At the same time in the other ear, some personnel, students, or members of the general public called my actions, even my character, into question.

I learned a great deal:

  • God’s love is “unfailing” as he promises in the Psalms,
  • Some friends are indeed fair-weather,
  • The media thrives on controversy not necessarily facts,
  • A leader must step up, lead, take the hits, and keep his or her eye on the goal,
  • “Laying off” is not the same as “firing,” but it feels the same to the person on the receiving end, which means that only later will this difference make a difference,
  • There’s no easy or pleasant way to inform people they’ve lost their job, and there’s certainly no easy or pleasant way to receive this information, but it can be done with dignity and professionalism, and it can be done appropriately in a Christian organization focusing upon its stewardship.

Since that time, I have tried to call or write leaders who’re experiencing difficult times, not to assess or take positions on their actions but to support them as individuals. They always respond with surprise and gratitude and I consider this a new kind of ministry that God has given to me.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

*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

I grew up in a small town extended family in which virtually everyone was a believer and in which my maternal grandfather, "Bones, was the lively, hilarious spiritual patriarch of the family. He was also a leading deacon in our church. I now understand this experience was a rare gift. Both of my parents are yet living and both are dedicated Christian people and have been since before I was born. Mom is a retired piano and organ teacher who has participated in church music since her teens, and Dad has been a member of my home church deacon board for over forty years.

It’s not a stretch to say my sister and I come from a “Christian home” in the best sense of that term. And I made a personal profession of faith in Christ at six years of age and was later baptized.

In my family I learned and I believe the Bible is God’s inerrant Word and our guide for faith and practice. As a young person I attended Sunday School, Daily Vacation Bible School, Church camp, Teens for Christ, and you name it, I was there. I did everything a kid from a Christian home and a fundamentalist Baptist church was supposed to do.

Don't get me wrong. I was no angel. I was just a kid who experienced all the blessings and lessons of a Christian home. Then I attended a Christian college.

Aside from a Christian family upbringing nothing has marked my life more than my undergraduate Christian college experience. I loved every minute of it. While I was in college God delivered me from a spiritual struggle. Early in my Christian life I wrestled with doubt—not in the existence of God but in whether or not I was truly saved. My struggle ended with the assurances I found in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. Later, I discovered others who struggled with doubt, so as one outcome of my spiritual journey I’ve often spoken with college students about doubt, using Os Guinness’s work on the subject as one key supporting source.

It was also in Christian college that I found and pursued what became a wonderfully liberating understanding of the Christian faith, what we at that time called “a Christian theistic world-life view.” My growing understanding of a biblically based Christian philosophy of life gradually allowed me to set aside certain fears, undeveloped views, or limited understandings rooted in my good but sometimes legalistic church experience in favor of a still thoroughly biblical but culture-engaging, forward thinking perspective of life. Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer began writing his influential books just before and while I was in college, which he continued until his passing during our young married years. His books helped me look more positively and confidently upon the world, life, and learning, knowing the Christian faith offered “true truth,” as he called it, and that one need not fear learning something that would someday undermine one’s faith. My Christian college years also provided me with an excellent writing and critical thinking-based undergraduate education, with an attraction to the teaching profession and a sense of calling into Christian higher education, and, perhaps most importantly of all, with a friend who would become my wife of now 36 years.

Years hence I was finally able to write what I consider something of a personal manifesto, Christian Liberty:  Living for God in a Changing Culture. This book expresses my understanding of how to apply a biblically Christian worldview so one may live “In the world” while being “Not of the world,” yet remembering God said to go “Into the world.” I consider myself a conservative evangelical.


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

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


T-shirts, like bumper stickers and license plates, have become individual Americans' shout-out billboards. We proclaim our politics and theology, root for the home team, and express undying affection for this, that, and the other.

When you travel, reading t-shirts is one way to keep the mind active and the travel-weariness at bay.

Here are a few I've seen recently:

“The Sarcasm Society, Like we need your support.”

“If blondes have more fun…do they know it?”

“Just hand over the chocolate and no one will get hurt.”

Chicago: “Don’t hassle me. I’m a local.”

Knoxville: “I ran out of sick days, so I called in dead.”

Paris: “Shouldn’t the Air and Space Museum be Empty?”

Minneapolis: “I Love Boobs.” – The "I" is a bowling pin and text on the back of the shirt provides details re "bowling for breast cancer." By the way, a woman was wearing this t-shirt...

And my all-time favorite that I saw in Phoenix years ago: “Yeah, but it’s a dry heat.” Picture shows a human skeleton lying up against a cactus.

Is this a great country or what?


© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2010

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 at