EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
Oklahoma Baptist University (2 items)
WORLD on Campus
OBU graduate school students gain global perspective in China
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) — In a world where information is immediate and technology changes at a supersonic speed, a global mindset is mandatory for successful business ventures. At the Oklahoma Baptist University Graduate School, an international business practicum in East Asia was an integral part of the curriculum for current MBA candidates.
Eighteen students working toward masters of business administration degrees through the OBU Graduate School traveled to Shanghai, Hangzhou and Beijing, China, July 7-15, to expand their business worldviews through the practicum. Led by adjunct professor Trish Zylstra, the group interacted with executives from international companies in China to learn how to conduct business on the international stage.
“Being that now just about every company and organization has some form of international makeup, this trip forced us to consider the international aspects of our industries and our world,” said Scott Timmons, an MBA student from Shawnee, Okla. “China is especially unique due to its size, presence on the world stage, and a thought process that is very much foreign to Western thought.”
Rubbing shoulders with executives and learning the cultural customs of the country offered the students an opportunity to discover what it would be like to conduct business transactions in a foreign country. They experienced firsthand both the benefits and drawbacks of international business.
“The purpose of the trip was to help students apply their book knowledge in the international business arena by visiting companies in China and exploring the possible ways to do business with China in their industry,” Zylstra said. “On the trip, students learn business by doing business. They exchange business cards, meet prospective clients and begin forming relationships with Chinese executives.”
Students visited several companies – including Siemens Medical Equipment, Inventronics, Taomee Entertainment Network and the ELS Language Center – and met with multiple executives while in China. The students also were introduced to local culture, food, transportation methods, markets and business etiquette during the practicum. They traveled on a high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing and climbed the Great Wall.
During the trip, the students met with OBU President David W. Whitlock, who was traveling with executives from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma to lead business workshops and meet with executives and entrepreneurs in China. The OBU students participated in a one-day business conference in Beijing and heard a business lecture from Whitlock. After the conference, they sampled Beijing’s famous Peking duck. The menu included tofu, jellyfish, duck, vegetables and fried scorpions.
“One of the highlights of my trip was connecting with our MBA students in Beijing,” Dr. Whitlock said. “Engaging directly with students is among my favorite activities, and spending time with them was a great opportunity.”
Zylstra created an “Amazing Race” style exercise in Beijing in which the students utilized all modes of available transportation and visited business highlights in a contest involving speed and budgetary constraints. For MBA student Jonna Raney, from Shawnee, Okla., the exercise proved to be the most interesting and most culturally educational part of the trip.
“We had several places that we had to find as teams, and we had to use all modes of public transportation and communicate with locals for directions and information,” Raney said. “It gave us a good understanding of what it would be like to live in Beijing as part of the minority population.”
Zylstra, who owns an international business and education company called The Harvest Abroad, said the international business practicum is a unique component of the OBU Graduate School’s MBA program.
“Very few programs assist students in traveling internationally to get a hands-on understanding of the global economy,” Zylstra said. “The Oklahoma Baptist University Graduate School offers a distinctive (aspect) by providing students the opportunity to travel internationally to understand international business.”
Timmons said from a professional standpoint, the trip forced him to think bigger than he has thought before.
“One restaurant in which we ate appeared to have approximately 4,000 people eating at a time,” he said, noting there is a difference in understanding the concept of large numbers and the reality of seeing such economic growth firsthand. “In Shanghai, it felt as though there were a thousand skyscrapers, and in one place I counted 20 cranes building new skyscrapers.”
He said the magnitude of the surroundings was matched by the willing spirit of the Chinese people to work with businesses in the United States. While the two countries’ governments might not see eye-to-eye at a macro level, Timmons said on a personal level, the Chinese businesspeople offered a welcoming spirit open to collaboration with Americans in the business world.
As the owner of Extreme Inflatables in Shawnee, Timmons said the experience provided him with multiple business ideas and granted him the confidence that he is capable of making international business transactions happen as a result of the trip. The journey was an invaluable asset from his MBA studies at OBU, he said, as the global marketplace does not appear to be shrinking anytime soon.
“This business trip sets our MBA program apart,” said Dr. Scott Harris, director of the OBU Graduate School. “It truly allows students to learn about international business up close and personal rather than from a cold textbook. Whether our MBA students engage in international business directly after graduation or not, their perspective on business is never the same, and that makes them a valuable asset to their companies.”
The cohort of MBA students will graduate with their degrees during OBU’s December Commencement ceremony, with completion of all coursework slated for next Spring.
With campuses in Shawnee, Okla., and Oklahoma City, OBU offers 10 bachelor’s degrees with 84 fields of study and two master’s degree programs. The Christian liberal arts university has an overall enrollment of 1,871, with students from 37 states and 27 other countries. OBU has been rated as one of the top 10 comprehensive colleges in the West by U.S. News and World Report for 20 consecutive years and has been Oklahoma’s highest rated comprehensive college in the U.S. News rankings for 18 consecutive years. For 2011-12, Forbes.com ranked OBU as the top university in Oklahoma.
NOTE: Two tributes to the late Calvin Miller follow.
“Mostly Edges: A Tribute to Calvin Miller”
By Christian George
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) — It is said that God is not tethered to any one place, but some places are tethered to God. The Celts called these places “thin” where the edges of heaven blur into the edges of earth. To those who knew him best and loved him most, Calvin Miller was a man who found his forte in the thin places. Places like Iona, Scotland, where turquoise-bathed hills echo millennia of island prayers and hymns. And Santa Fe, New Mexico, where cracking clay steeples pierce blood-orange sunsets above. Calvin loved these places, he painted these places, and for one who believed that “life is mostly edges,” his pilgrimage through this world proved to be one of curiosity and unrestrained creativity.
At least that’s how I’ve come to know him. As the end of his journey coincided with the beginning of mine, I’ll never forget his warning to resist the temptation of disentangling theology from art, for “God is an artist,” he reminded me. I always admired how, in the tradition of C.S. Lewis, Calvin could with one hand deliver a lecture on the fundamentals of homiletics, while with the other incarnate his thoughts into a book that children could easily digest. How well he did the incarnation thing! As a friend he was never without an encouraging word; as a critic his honesty was matched only by his insight and experience. The kaleidoscope of memories with him abound: painting until 3 o’clock in the morning, playing Gershwin side by side at the piano, watching Jackie Chan movies until we almost “got into trouble” by doing kung fu moves like spider-monkeys in his living room.
But perhaps the most enduring memories I possesses with Calvin occurred in those quiet moments — those garden moments — when, between the pregnant doldrums of our conversations, he taught me how to think of things that really mattered. Things like the brevity of this world and the eternality of the world to come. That the way up is the way down – for decrease is more precious to God than increase. And that God doesn’t just want part of me – he wants all of me, for it’s in the little things that the secrets of the kingdom can be found.
And so I can’t help but wonder, during this, his first full week in paradise, just how Calvin Miller is spending his time. I’d like to think he’s painting with colors he’s never used, dancing to songs he’s never heard, joking with people he never thought would make it there, and, most importantly, praising the God who, in his graciousness, shared with us for a little while a man of whom this world was unworthy. Calvin, as you venture from this edge to the next, may your thin place be ever thick with blessings, love, and worship!
I once scorned every fearful thought of death,
When it was but the end of pulse and breath.
But now my eyes have seen that past the pain
There is a world that’s waiting to be claimed.
Earthmaker, Holy, let me now depart,
For living’s such a temporary art.
And dying is but getting dressed for God,
Our graces are merely doorways in sod.
— Calvin Miller, The Divine Symphony
Christian George is assistant professor of Biblical and theological studies and the Jewell and Joe Huitt Professor of Religious Education at Oklahoma Baptist University.
Thank You Calvin Miller
By Michael Duduit
ANDERSON, S.C. (Anderson University) — Even though we rejoice when a beloved friend passes from this life into the presence of the Lord, from our human perspective we sorrow at their loss. That is the way I feel at the loss of our dear brother Calvin Miller.
Calvin passed away unexpectedly Aug. 19 after complications from heart surgery. I was shocked –- I had only recently been corresponding with him about upcoming articles for his regular column in Preaching, and he was scheduled this fall to speak for my Master of Ministry preaching class and then to preach in chapel for us at Anderson University. But all of our plans are dependent on the greater plan of the Father, and in His knowledge and providence He had other plans for Calvin Miller.
Calvin was pastor of the Westside Baptist Church in Omaha when I first wrote to him in 1984, asking him to become one of the original contributing editors of Preaching. He was the best-selling author of “The Singer,” one of the monumental Christian literary works of the 20th century, and had led that Omaha church from 10 members to more than 3,000 during a 25-year pastorate. Yet over the years, whenever we had a chance to visit, he would thank me for allowing him to be part of that group, as if we were honoring him rather than the reality, which was that his presence blessed us and our ministry.
We became good friends over the years, though separated by many miles. He loved pastors — speaking to them and writing for them — and that shared mission linked our hearts. I recall being in his home years ago and seeing his great loves: his love of art and literature, his love for the American Southwest, and most of all his love for his wonderful wife Barbara and for his children.
Once I was invited to provide an endorsement for one of his books, and in that brief text I referred to him as the “poet laureate of the evangelical world.” He loved that phrase – he didn’t think he warranted it but he was tickled by it nonetheless, and I noticed it showed up on the backs of several of his books after that! He kidded me about it several times, noting that I had given him one of his favorite endorsements. I’m glad he enjoyed it, but he was wrong about one thing: Calvin Miller was the poet laureate of the evangelical world, a pastor-poet whose love for Jesus and His Word and for the art of preaching made him one of the most captivating preachers of his day.
Calvin Miller’s newest book is called “Letters to Heaven,” and if you visit his website (www.calvinmillerauthor.com) you can watch a brief DVD in which he talks about the book. If I could write a “letter to heaven” today, I’d like to write Calvin to thank him for his friendship, his encouragement, and his faithfulness to God’s call on his life. Of course, he won’t have time to read it for awhile; he’s going to be busy sharing stories with a whole new audience.
Michael Duduit is dean of Anderson University’s College of Christian Studies in Anderson, S.C., and editor of Preaching magazine.
Addicted to success
Former addicts say the drug improved their performance but stole their ability to enjoy life
By Laura Murphy
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WORLD on Campus) — No one would have described Mike Wyland as an exceptional student in high school. Although clearly intelligent, he had a hard time focusing on his homework assignments and studies. He did the bare minimum to maintain a B average. When a friend offered him a little pill that would help him concentrate, Wyland thought it couldn’t hurt. He didn’t want to get high. He just wanted to get better grades.
After taking the “study drug” for the first time as a 17-year-old junior, Wyland’s grades quickly improved. He found he could focus on even the most tedious tasks. He liked the results. He took it a few more times, getting the pills from friends, before he went to a doctor and got a prescription of his own.
But Wyland’s study helper soon became an addiction that estranged him from the things he loved and from the person he wanted to be.
“If there weren’t so many good things about the drug you couldn’t rationalize taking it,” said Wyland. “Adderall has the strongest honeymoon period of any drug in the world.”
Like Wyland, high school and college students are increasingly turning to Adderall to help them get better grades. The prescription medication is designed to help patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) focus on one thing at a time. But it also works for people without ADHD, enhancing mental function and enabling users to stay awake for long periods of time. Researchers estimate 30 percent of college students have tried the drug at least once to help them prepare for a test or write a paper.
Unlike other prescription drugs popular among teens and young adults, Adderall doesn’t produce a euphoric high and doesn’t hold as much appeal for the party crowd. Known as the “study drug” or the “smart pill,” Adderall might seem harmless, or even beneficial. But as Wyland discovered, the drug fosters an insatiable drive for success and can obliterate a user’s ability to enjoy anything not associated with achievement.
After he started taking Adderall regularly, Wyland’s grades improved and he excelled in his work. Adderall put him on top of the world but destroyed the balance in his life–physically, socially, and emotionally. His focus became school work, and money. His need for success prompted him to spend more time in front of the computer, or stuck in the office than hanging out with friends and family.
In college, Wyland continued to excel, with help from the drug. But he soon dropped out to take a full-time job as a programmer for a startup software company. Although he once thought he would be a writer, Wyland set that dream aside in favor of a career that could earn him more money. Once Adderall became his support, he lost his enjoyment for writing, but he still hoped to take it up again after he retired, early and rich.
Wyland relished the praise that came with his work. He had a hard time seeing Adderall as a negative influence when everyone praised his performance and applauded his success. He didn’t like his job, but steeped in approval, Wyland brushed aside concerns over his happiness.
“But I didn’t have a passion for what I was doing,” Wyland said “It’s like I wasn’t living a genuine life, and it started weighing on me.”
Like Wyland, Thomas Sherk also watched Adderall take over his life and obscure his personality.
Sherk started taking Adderall as an upperclassman in high school to help him with his honors and advanced placement course load. He excelled in everything he did, but he felt like he was losing the things that made him exceptional. He felt he could no longer take pride in his hard work because he depended on Adderall to stay focused. The drug took away his ability to connect emotionally with those around him. Sherk buried himself in his schoolwork instead. His friends moved on with life without him, and his social relationships started to wane.
After reading the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey’s novel about life inside a mental hospital, Sherk realized the drug was turning him into someone he didn’t want to be.
“I saw Adderall as a way for society to ‘normalize’ me, which made me feel bad about myself internally,” Sherk said. “Adderall inhibited my emotional self. I felt like a robot a lot of the time, which also validated my thoughts formed from Ken Kesey’s novel. As time passed, I felt like I was slipping away from my social relationships and that my friends were moving on without me.”
Sherk also started losing weight, a common side effect for Adderall addicts. The drug suppresses appetite, and users often are so focused on other tasks that they forget to eat. Sherk eventually started to miss feeling hungry.
During his senior year of high school, Sherk stopped taking Adderall. It didn’t take long for him to reconnect with friends and family and rebuild his self confidence. He worked hard and managed to keep his grades up on his own. But during his sophomore year in college, Sherk started taking Adderall again.
Using Adderall as an adult has been far less damaging to him socially, Sherk said. He now only uses the drug occasionally, relying instead on his natural ability and turning to Adderall as a last resort. He claims he has better control of balancing his need for it at work and in his personal life.
Like Sherk, Wyland quit the drug cold turkey but has not returned to using it.
Although he still works at the software company, Wyland is back in school, working toward his degree in psychology. And he’s returned to writing, the passion he now says Adderall stole from him. In hopes that his experience will help others who want to quit, Wyland blogs about his life and his addiction at Quittingadderall.com. He’s been clean for four years. He hopes to encourage others who want to quit, but he also isn’t adamant that everyone make the same choice.
“Quitting was a horrible, horrible process,” he said, “I sold my life to buy back my soul. I lost everything, my ego died, and I had to rebuild the ability to do work. The first year was difficult. But I’m doing better now, my priorities are reversed.”
Laura Murphy was a WORLD on Campus summer intern. This story is part of a series on Adderall abuse at www.worldoncampus.com.