This past summer, I was asked to serve as Chapter Director of an organization called Ratio Christi ("The Reason of Christ") at the University of Washington in Seattle. After getting to know one another, and a wad of paperwork, I have now begun to act in that capacity. (And may help this organization in other ways, we'll see.)
The University of Washington is one of the world's leading research schools . With 48,000 students and 5,800 academic staff, it is by far the largest university in the Northwest. Among those who have studied or taught there:
* Pappy Boyington, World War II ace who led the Black Sheep Squadron. ("Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" -- highly fictionalized TV series.)
* Ted Bundy, infamous serial killer.
* Bruce Lee, who could have ended Bundy's career quickly.
* Bill Gates learned how to program as a high school student on UW computers.
* Robin DiAngelo wrote White Fragility, making her one of the most influential opinion molders in America.
* Rodney Stark, the great sociologist of religion, from whom I and other Christian thinkers have learned much, taught at the UW for 32 years.
* Tom Foley served as Speaker of the House.
I am a Husky, too. I earned my BA and MA at Washington, largely at the Jackson School of International Studies.
Hundreds of thousands who will shape the world for good or evil come to the UW to have their minds shaped. Who will do the shaping? It would be unfair to describe the UW a "woke madrassa." A student can still get an excellent, not overly-ideological, education in STEM, medicine, or business. But many departments, and even the otherwise wonderful library system, render uncritical fealty to the holy trinity of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on their home pages. Even unbelieving or left-wing professors have told me stories that reveal the indoctrination and even Cancel Culture at work in some fields: Quillette has even run articles about such phenomena at Washington.
Like all major universities, many Christian organizations serve the Husky study body. But none, besides Ratio Christi, seem to offer in-depth training in Christian thought and apologetics.
What is Ratio Chrisi?
Jesus told us to "Love the Lord your God with all your mind." Ratio Christi helps college students and professors gain sound reasons to believe the Christian faith. It is a fairly new ministry, which has taken off mostly in the United States but also overseas. RC works with churches and other ministries.
The UW chapter of RC was set up a few years ago: after some bureaucratic opposition, it is now a recognized club that meets once a week at the Husky Union Building (HUB) to discuss truth from a Christian perspective. About ten students come at present. The student president is a smart and enthusiastic young woman, supported by other students. I have been participating since the beginning of the school year, on a small scale, which I plan to ramp up, now.
My Background and Duties
This sort of ministry is, you may see, up my alley. I have been in teaching for some 20 years. Most of my fourteen or so books are in apologetics. While my PhD is in "Theology of Religions," especially in the Chinese context, my arguments for the Christian faith have covered a wide range: faith and reason, historical evidences for Jesus, Critical Race Theory, the history of missions, how Christianity has improved society, and of course, World Religions.
My writing has been described as "careful scholarship, (a) depth of insight and logical analysis matched only by his illustrative genius" (Ivan Satyavrata); "Spectacularly argued, spectacularly written, and even more spectacularly timely;" (Ralph Winter); "cultural analysis several levels deeper, and in prose that is several levels higher, than we've come to expect;" (Frederica Matthewes-Green); and "deep, original . . . Stimulating and provocative" (Tony Lambert), to give a few quotes.
What will my concrete responsibilities be, besides teaching some of this stuff?
* Network with other ministries for mutual support and to present the Gospel to Husky students and staff.
* Give support, encouragement, and guidance to students.
* Two or so public outreach events each year.
* Get to know and support professors, and to give them an opportunity to support students.
In addition, I also hope to:
* Support RC and other local ministries in other ways.
* Continue writing and speaking. My new book, The Case for Aslan: Evidence for Jesus in the Land of Narnia, is due out early next year. That is essentially an overall apologetic for the Christian faith, in light of C. S. Lewis' seemingly lightest works. A more cutting-edge volume, "How Jesus Liberates Women" is also nearing completion. I also continue to write regular articles for The Stream. Presently I am doing a series on the growing conflict between China and America.
I welcome invitations to speak, almost anywhere in the world, or online.
How can you help?
If you would like to be involved, I'd love to tell you more! "The fields are purple and gold to the harvest!" Chapter directors raise support for themselves, and their chapters, along with some administrative costs. There may be volunteer opportunities as well, and your prayers would be appreciated. Please contact me for more information.