Welcome to Medenblog!

At the end of my very first day as a teacher in the Gateway course at Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS) for entering students, one of those students came forward to speak to me.

He said, “Professor, may I ask you a question?” I paused. This was the moment. Since my nomination as President in December of 2009, this moment was 21 months since receiving that nomination.

I wondered about what question would be asked and what wisdom I might impart. With a smile and a quickened heartbeat, I said, “Certainly, you may ask me a question.” The student did not pause. He asked, “How do you pronounce your last name?” I then smiled. I had heard that question – many, many times before.

The Lord has a way of reminding you of who and whose you are. I may be President of Calvin Theological Seminary, but many, many people do not know my name. (You pronounce Medenblik like Made In Blick.)

As a new President, I have the privilege of being called to serve and called to communicate. I am one of many who can give voice for CTS. As part of my new role, I have been asked to blog about my experiences, learnings and musings. Since Richard Mouw of Fuller Seminary has already taken Mouw’s Musings, we sought a new name rather than Medenblik’s Musings.

After a round of discernment, we settled on Medenblog. (You should have seen some of the other suggestions! Who said CTS Professors and Staff are serious folk?)

Maybe you are a little like me. You are a digital immigrant in a world that is increasingly filled with digital natives. What I do know is that I have been called to help CTS move from here to there. We may not know all that is there – “there,” but I do know that part of the “there” is communicating via social media.

There are dangers in any journey and we can address some of those another time, but let me illustrate the danger of staying in safe harbors and not stepping out into this digital world.

I recently finished reading The Great A & P and the Struggle for Small Business in America by Marc Levinson. In that book, Mr. Levinson notes the largest U.S. retailers in 1951. They were:

  1. Great Atlantic & Pacific (A & P)
  2. Sears, Roebuck
  3. Safeway
  4. Montgomery Ward
  5. J.C. Penney
  6. Kroger Grocery and Baking
  7. F.W. Woolworth
  8. American Stores
  9. Federated Department Stores
  10. First National Stores

Over sixty years, the world changed and some on this top ten list were not able to adapt and are no longer serving a new generation.

CTS is 135 years old. In the fall of 2012, we will enroll our first on-line Master of Divinity cohort who over five years will live where they live and learn at CTS. We will seek to deepen our roots, while reaching out to a new generation.

Welcome to Medenblog! Thanks for reading and reflecting with me!


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