Musings From Kazakhstan

My amazing trip is coming to an end. It is Tuesday and each day seems to go a little faster. Teaching business to college students, with a language barrier, can be a little tough. Each day I go back to my hotel tired but fulfilled. Tonight was no exception.

Dr. Lou Foltz has arrived, and we are having a dinner at the hotel to celebrate. There are three of us at KAFU from the Pacific Northwest, and Marshall Christianson arrives on Saturday. There is definitely a Northwest Connection with Eastern Kazakhstan.

Teaching business to students that speak English as a second language, when I speak absolutely no Russian, is very difficult. I am trying to make sure that my point is clear, but even Maks, my interpreter, has a problem every once in a while with a word I use. Sometimes there just isn’t a good translation from English to Russian. But we are trying our best. Before I go to sleep tonight I am going to look at my classes for tomorrow and figure out what to do.

While I am here I am reading a lot. I have two books I have brought with me and have done well moving through them. I also have an electronic version of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. It helps me keep up on the crazy world of United States Politics.

Last week there was an opinion piece in the WSJ that I really wanted to look at in this blog. The title of the opinion piece was “Mere Christianity still gets a global Amen!” It was a very interesting article that was able to demonstrate the reason this book is still popular, even in a day of diminishing faith.
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The article begins by describing a previous competition held by Intervarsity Press. The Intervarsity Fellowship’s Emerging Scholars Network “ran the best Christian book of all time tournament. “ There were 64 entries at the beginning, much like the NCAA Tournament. Using the same format as the tournament, the books went through a process of elimination via voting. “C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity made it to the Elite Eight, where it handily defeated St. Augustine’s City of God.” Lewis’ book went to the final four, defeating Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship,” but lost in the finals to Augustine’s “Confessions.”

All of the NCAA madness was fun to read, but why did this article stand out to me? What was it that caught my attention? First, Mere Christianity is a popular book. It has sold over 3.5 million books in English. It has been translated into 36 languages. “Next to the Bible, educated Chinese Christians are most likely to have read” this book. It is still read by “thoughtful evangelicals,” and by thousands of Catholics, Orthodox, and mainline Protestants.” I have read it a couple of times and am always encouraged by its thoughtful reasoning about faith.

However, I agree with the author of this article when he states, “Lewis writes that when God enters your life, he begins to turn the tin soldier into a live man. . . Lewis explains that becoming a Christian isn’t an improvement but a transformation, like a horse becoming a Pegasus.” And finally our author describes “the final strength of Lewis’ book as its ability to stand aside and point toward his subject – rather than himself.”

Lewis wanted all of us to see “the time tested beauty God’s love in Jesus Christ.” During this Easter season I hope all of you can see His love through all the hate, bitterness, and craziness of our current age.

And that is my thought for the day!

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