Some of you may be aware that my employment situation recently changed (again) and my family and I are once again facing a period of uncertainty. I wrote about the beginning of this journey in a March 2015 article titled Facing Change in Christian Courier. Redeemer later rescinded the lay off and asked me to return. At that time my wife and I decided to take some time away to pray and discern our next steps.
During our weekend away we came to the conclusion that we should explore going away for a year before returning back to Redeemer. A day after our time away, there was a message waiting from Dordt College inviting us to explore spending the 2015-2016 academic year there. Needless to say, we followed what we felt was God’s leading and I spent a year as a visiting professor at Dordt College.
My wife, daughter and I moved to Sioux Center in the summer of 2015 where I started a position as a visiting associate professor of Computer Science at Dordt College for the 2015/2016 academic year. I was grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with some of the folks at Dordt and the time there was fruitful. I wrote another column about my impressions from Sioux Center during our time there. During spring 2016, as our year at Dordt drew to a close, I wrote a “Farewell to Dordt College” column in Christian Courier, grateful for our time at Dordt.
Just four weeks after returning to Redeemer in June 2016, I was informed, with regrets, that no new computing program would be launched, and that they were no longer going to reinstate my position as promised. We were a little stunned at the news – the understanding had been to return to Redeemer to help build a new program in computing. Sadly, just over two weeks after I was laid off, Redeemer’s president stepped down.
We remain thankful to God for our time working in Christian higher education and for the many encouraging words and notes we have received throughout this entire journey. In particular, our time at Dordt was very encouraging (we like to say our time in Sioux Center was like getting a big hug). We have felt discombobulated at times, and things have not been easy, but we have experienced much of God’s goodness through it all.
Your prayers would be appreciated as our family begins to navigate our way forward (also for Redeemer).
Update: We are grateful for the thoughts and prayers of many over the past season as we have tried to discern our path forward. We would like to share with you that I have accepted a position as a professor of computer science at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan beginning August 2017.
The late Stephen Monsma, a professor and author who edited the book Responsible Technology (a book that has influenced much of my own writing), was once asked why he left Malibu to return to Grand Rapids for his “retirement.” When asked this question he reportedly responded without a hitch: “Because this is where you go to do good work in the Reformed tradition.” I have firsthand knowledge of good work being done at other places like Redeemer and Dordt, but my hope is that Calvin will be a wonderful home to continue to “do good work in the Reformed tradition.” I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working as a Christian scholar and teacher.
We are grateful for the encouragement from many colleagues we have gotten to know, many of whom have become friends. Over the past three years I have taught at three different Christian colleges, now we are looking forward to some stability and to settling into the academic community at Calvin College.
I reflected on some of our family experiences during the transitions and move to Calvin College in Christian Courier here:
One final note: the Redeemer board has now released a public apology:
As stated in the article, we deeply appreciate this acknowledgement and public gesture of reconciliation, and we remain a strong supporter of Redeemer’s founding mission.
We are also thankful to many folks who have encouraged and prayed for us as we navigated many changes in the past couple of years.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.