Advanced Christian Leadership Training for International and American Students
Customized Personal and Peer Mentoring
After discovering both the felt and underlying needs of potential mentees, we teach and demonstrate how to apply biblical and Christian thoughts to those needs so that they can effectively a Christian worldview to social and workplace challenges. We provide peer mentoring as well, through monthly meetings and activities with our Wilberforce Academy Fellows.
We also serve as a networking organization, with networking events for Wilberforce Academy Fellows, with community members, academics, professionals, and political leaders who can help them achieve their goals as redemptive change agents.
Cutting Edge Program Events
We offer retreats and conferences that attempt to answer the question of how Christians can impact various social spheres by skillfully, creatively, courageously, and intelligently applying a Christian perspective to pressing needs in society and the workplace. We also provide training and support in planning a redemptive project where Fellows gain project development and management skills.
Note the new article by Dr. Osburn Good News for the Naked Public University posted on the First Things website on October 21, 2014
Since an angel’s flaming sword barred Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24), humanity has lived in a state of brokenness, beset by sin. Jesus Christ, whose death upon a Cross offers relief from sin’s powers in this life, promises to return one day with a sword that will destroy sin forever (Revelation 1:16, 19:21) when He makes all things new. Until that day comes, God has established government, bearing the sword of coercive power, to mitigate the effects of evil in a fallen world (Romans13: 1-7). What are the implications for government regulation?
The remarkable Christian historian Philip Jenkins, a distinguished professor at Baylor University, ends his latest book The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade (2014) by suggesting that culture seems to change in jerky movements: sudden changes followed by long periods of stability. He suggests that this is somewhat akin to the punctuated equilibrium that the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould claimed to find in the fossil record: long periods of slow evolution, followed by sudden explosions of species.
At Christmas, at least in the West, we are swollen with pleasant sentiment: gifts, lights, and music. We might, therefore, miss one of the most important questions that humans should consider in a world blasted and bewildered by terrorism, mistrust, and inequality: “Is the Incarnation the key to human flourishing?”
I am often stumped by a paradox of academic life: Individually, most academics are very pleasant, engaging, thoughtful people that I’d want for neighbors. However, when academics act institutionally, that is, on behalf of some academic entity—say a whole school, department, or faculty committee—then something, or someone else, seems to emerge from some ideological, disciplinary, or personality-driven underworld.
Of the dozens of books I have read the past several years, four deserve special mention because you likely have friends or family that will treasure these books as much as I do. And, besides, these “sleepers” deserve a much wider audience than they are receiving. These recommended Christmas gifts are sure to not only spark conversations in 2015, but to perhaps change minds and hearts in the process.
I suggest that many highly educated Westerners practice a heroic kind of morality, search for truth, and love for beauty that has unworthy metaphysical roots. Many are agnostics, but their default is scientific naturalism, or materialism, and they must make a decision sooner or later to either align their metaphysic with their heroic ideals, or risk living in such contradiction that they will resemble Christians rendered vulnerable by the charge of not practicing what they preach.
The opposition between evangelism and social action started in early 20th century conflicts between Christ-preaching evangelicals who treasured the Bible and social gospel advocates that believed real Christianity had to make a difference in society first of all. Now, in the early decades of the 21st century, the old conflict has largely subsided and is alien to current university students. But, should evangelism and social action be linked, and, if so, why?
The latest issue of World magazine carries an article whose subtitle could be: “The political leadership of the Balkans are corrupt thieves!” When he toured this region that figured so prominently in the launch of World War I, World’s editor Dr. Marvin Olasky discovered that virtually everyone in the Balkans has rendered this verdict on their leaders. What he didn’t say as clearly is a subtext in many of the complaints of international students with whom I work: Corrupt leaders corrode pride in their nations.
According to Dr. Mitch Pearlstein, author of the new book Broken Bonds: What Family Fragmentation Means for America’s Future (2014), our prospects aren’t all that sweet unless we do something about our miserable family fragmentation rates. By the term family fragmentation Pearlstein includes everything from divorce to co-habitation to out-of-wedlock childbirth to single parenting to other forms of family disorganization associated with dysfunction. Pearlstein interviewed 40 thought leaders from America’s Left and Right coasts, as well as in between, to ask for their take on America’s future in light of this reality.
With the US Supreme Court’s October 6, 2014 decision not to challenge lower courts’ legitimization of gay marriage, it is easy to forget that the gay marriage tidal wave was started by a cultural earthquake many years in the making. That is to say, cultural forces, institutions, and conversations---most of them nurtured by those almost completely outside the orbit of orthodox Christianity--- laid the groundwork for a vast social experiment deeply at odds with historic Christian thought. What follows is the report of an event at the University of Minnesota in October 2012 that occurred just before the tidal wave began its tumultuous sweep across the American social landscape.
As I often point out in these blogs, human beings around the age of college students (18 to 25 years old, roughly) have an intense need to make sense of reality. That’s one reason why campus ministries flourish. Given the kinds of answers on offer (as exemplified, I think, by this issue of Intelligent Life), it’s no wonder that students drift into soft or hard forms of nihilism, including drug use, hooking up for sexual one night stands, or various versions of aimless drifting.
Most aid programs in Africa are moderate to spectacular failures. By contrast, all indications are that well-designed efforts built around income generation are the only way forward for those who want to escape poverty’s miry slough of despair. But, how, in fact, did Africans end up in this terrible predicament in the first place? Animism (the traditional worldview), endemic corruption, and terrible leadership are part of the answer, but…
You would think that a strategic planning document with this emphasis on big challenges would identify issues like “Finding solutions to religious-based terrorism” (anyone watched the news lately?). Unfortunately, the reader will search the 85-page strategic plan without ever reading a single reference to religion.
Why have so many of us passively abandoned what God has established (Matthew 19:6) in favor of what he hates (Malachi 2:16)? My concern is not so much with the party wanting the divorce as with his/her friends and associates who “cave” rather than aggressively advocate for the couple’s marriage. One of the reasons we have caved is that we have bought into a faulty vision of marriage as a purely romantic relationship sustained by love, and only now are active Christians rejecting that faulty vision for a vision of covenant marriage with profound public consequences that include the parenting of children who will sustain the society and the possibility of human flourishing.
Today, I want to explore how pervasive nihilism, which is a product of education that insists all we can discuss are material causes and realities, is linked to the rise of foreign fighters like ISIS (also know as ISIL) in Iraq and Syria (a subject I also hinted at in my first blog post on January 3, 2014).
Marxism 9:30 am, November 30, 2014 Topic for class on Comparative Worldviews taught by Dr. Bob Osburn at Stadium Village Church
Politics After the Fall: Christianity and Public Life in the Nations 14-week political theory course on a Christian vision for seeking public justice and shaping political life in our nations. Primarily discussion-based, and includes extensive references to current political realities in nations around the world, including the USA. 6:45 to 9:15 pm every Tuesday evening beginning January 27, 2014 at the MacLaurinCSF Center, 1337 N. Cleveland Ave (across from the University of Minnesota-St Paul campus). Generally follows the University of Minnesota academic calendar. Tuition is free, but textbooks will need to be purchased. Contact Dr. Bob Osburn to enroll: firstname.lastname@example.org. Co-sponsored with MacLaurinCSF, the Christian study center serving the University of Minnesota.