FOCUS ON LEADERS AND LEARNING Murray
Continued from page 8
After seminary, Murray worked as a church con- sultant, itinerant
preacher, writer and Bible college teacher, until 1997, when he became full-time pastor of a church in Orillia, Ontario. During the decade that followed, he worked in pastoral ministry, and also stepped into a leadership role with SGM Lifewords, where he recognized a need for research into the status of cultural engage- ment with the Bible.
“I’ve been deeply concerned that I was observing what appeared to be an ongoing decline in Bible engagement in our nation, and Bible literacy within the Church,” Murray explains.
So from 2005 to 2010, while completing a doctor of ministry degree with Northern Baptist Seminary, he wrote his thesis, An Exploratory Project to Assist Canadians to Connect with the Bible.
Maxine Hancock and her husband Campbell. Hancock Continued from page 9
Yet when Hancock—whom Zinck describes in such terms as “wonderfully viva- cious,” “exquisitely organized” and “ach- ingly brilliant”—began teaching in 1993 at Vancouver’s international graduate school of Christian studies, Regent College, she did so with modest ambitions.
“I’d come thinking that if I could ignite a dozen scholars, that would be a wonderful multiplication of my short academic candle,” Maxine says. “I always thought of myself as a little candle that had started fairly small. But if I could light 12 tall tapers for a lifetime of schol- arship and teaching, that would be good work.” It was years later, while mulling over the possibility of retirement, that she started to number the scholars she’d helped kindle and realized—to her joy—that she’d done the work she’d been called to do. “There was a lovely sense of completion and relief,” she says. “I came to a point where I could say what Jesus said in John 17, ‘Father, I’ve done the work you gave me to do.’”
New chapter begins
And so began a fresh chapter in the scholar’s life, a chapter she describes on her web site. “After more than 30 years of farming in Alberta and a dozen years in Vancouver,
we have moved to the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia,” she writes, “to establish a ‘Grandparent Farm,’ where all our grandchil- dren can touch the earth, watch the tides and feel the breeze.”
At Windhover Place (the name she and her husband have given their new home) Hancock, 68, is still learning. But the lessons aren’t found in any textbook. She speaks of learning how to practice the disciplines of her writing craft with “a gentle joyfulness.”
“I’m still just finding my feet,” she says, one year into official retirement. “I think the dear companionship of a lifelong marriage is a huge part of my life now and a treasured thing I don’t want to hurry past. “If there’s anything that I’m trying to learn now—it’s how to be stiller and not so urgent.” Ask her to comment on the value of formal study to our culture today, and she recalls a conversation she once had with Canadian poet Margaret Avison. “She told me that scholars are the earthworms who toil away out of sight, underground, to silently till and aerate the soil out of which all ideas grow.”
The Church, Maxine says, needs to see the work of the scholar as “underground work,” aerating the roots of culture.
“I would say to people, seek all the education you can, that your giftedness calls you into, and that your opportunities can afford.”
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“The goal of education is so that I might know God and live for Him,” says Murray. “I
place myself in a position of learning so that God can inform, direct, mold and craft my life to be used by Him, for His ends.” You might imagine that all this academic study has made Murray a serious sort. But nothing could be further from the truth. He is a man who works hard, but also plays hard. “He danced with a tie around his head at our wedding,” Christie laughs.
He seems a man determined to prove his “guiding text” John 10:10, that Christ has come to give us life and to give us life to the full. “We have been given the greatest story
ever,” he says, “God’s story—which is truth. Should we not—with all our might and energy—commit ourselves, and discipline ourselves to study the Word, until we go home to be with Him? That’s an essential for me. I can’t picture being Christian without being a student and a teacher.” ***
And just in case you’re still wondering what “supralapsarianism” means, go look it up. Lawson would want you to.
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