Monday, September 22, 2014

President Clark, Stewardships, and Variety



by Shawn Tucker:


There is some buzz about something President Clark of BYU-Idaho posted recently. You can read about that buzz here and here. My intention is not to refute anything in particular but simply to add one more point-of-view.

It is helpful for me to work under the assumptions that President Clark is a wise, thoughtful person who genuinely loves those he serves. I assume that he takes his particular stewardship very seriously. I also assume that he sees sides and has experiences with that stewardship that I could never know. Given these assumptions, it seems reasonable for me to also assume that his best judgment and his sincere affection are behind what he wrote.

What helps me think about what President Clark does in his stewardship is how others have responded to what I do in mine. I teach Institute in North Carolina, and on more than one occasion members who do not attend my class have expressed concerns about what we do. I pray every day for my Institute students by name, and I try to use all of my faculties to connect them with blessings God has for them via our time together. I find tremendous joy and satisfaction in this work. But I sometimes do things that do not fit what outsiders might expect of Institute.

While I think all of us should be very, very critical, bravely and humbly asking the most pressing and difficult questions about how we are doing what God has asked us to do, I wonder about how much we should question what others do in their stewardships. How much can I reasonably expect the Lord might tell me about how someone else is meeting the needs of those that she or he serves? What really is my role making such judgments? I will add that, on the surface, the letter President Clark wrote does not seem to line up with what I expect I might write, but perhaps Zion is better off for that. Perhaps variety and difference add to a richness that should neither be judged off-handedly nor dismissed by those who do not have that specific stewardship.

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Shawn Tucker grew up with amazing parents and five younger, wonderful siblings. He served as a missionary in Chile during the Plebiscite and the first post-dictatorship election. After his mission, he attended BYU, where he married ... you guessed it ... his wife. They both graduated, with Shawn earning a BA in Humanities. Fearing that his BA in Humanities, which is essentially a degree in Jeopardy, would not be sufficient, Shawn completed graduate work in the same ... stuff ... at Florida State University. He currently teaches at Elon University in North Carolina. He and ... you guessed it ... his wife have four great children. Twitter: @MoTabEnquirer. Website: motabenquirer.blogspot.com.
 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gifImage credit: Ken Lund (used with permission) (image has been cropped).

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