On Being a Performer (part 1 of 3)

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First Post: Are you a performer? A sharp student at Macalester College where I worked for many years said to me one day, “I’m a performer.” I could see it in him. He was (and is) talented academically and musically, and when he was “on” he was really on. The idea of being a performer stuck with me from that …

One Being a Performer (part 2 of 3)

Rick Mattson Devotion, Leadership Leave a Comment

Second Post: Liabilities In my prior post I shared how performers tend to have an altar-ego that kicks in when things need to get done and done well. In my own case, when funds need to be raised for the ministry, or I’m literally on-stage with Muslim or atheist dialogue partners, or I’m bouncing around a college campus meeting students …

On Being a Performer (part 3 of 3)

Rick Mattson Devotion, Leadership 2 Comments

Post #3: A theology of performing In my prior post I tried to affirm the legitimacy of a “performer” profile, while also pointing out certain side-effects that often plague performers, such as loss of identity and performance fatigue. In Be Different: Finding the Resilience to Lead, authors Christopher Howard and Andrew Gross insist that leaders in general — and for …

On Coping, Part 3: Neglected Resources

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In my prior post I mentioned that today’s university students are not known for their resilience, mainly due to mental health concerns. In fact, mental health is a runaway train on campus these days, with experts using terms such as “epidemic” and “crisis” to describe the situation. Two massive surveys of college students showed, for example, that depression, anxiety, and …

On Coping, Part 2 of 3: Resilience

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In my prior post I told the story of being left on my own as a college student in Minnesota, while my parents moved to Florida. These days, things are different. Students struggle with “overwhelming anxiety,” loneliness and suicidal behavior. Counseling centers on campus are jammed. Two out of five students are too depressed to function, and many take a …

On Coping, Part 1 of 3: How It Was

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I grew up on the prairies of Marshall, Minnesota and attended a local college, living at home to save money. But half-way through school my parents sold the house and moved to Florida, leaving me in the cold, literally. Don’t feel sorry for me. I never did. They invited me along to Florida but I declined. I stayed in Marshall …

Riseaboveability: Do You Have It?

Rick Mattson Devotion 2 Comments

I don’t often write devotional blogs. But the topic of elevating ourselves above the fray of life’s troubles seems important enough to make an exception. I call it riseaboveability. College students don’t have it, much. And I’m afraid I don’t model it for them very well. They rise and fall according to the latest fortunes of class assignments, GPA volatility, …

Endorsements (and two full reviews) for Faith Unexpected

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Rick Mattson has written a book about struggling people who have an authentic and sometimes messy encounter with a delightful and disturbing and wooing God.  Whatever your faith background or orientation, you will be inspired and encouraged by these real life and powerful stories! – Dr. Rick Richardson Director of Academic Programs, Church Outreach Initiative and Research Wheaton College and …

Faith Unexpected: Full Description

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Faith Unexpected: Real Stories of People Who Found What They Never Imagined How did Pentagon military strategist Donald Wellington find faith in God? Not the way you’d expect – not through attending church or reading the Bible. In fact, Donald discovered faith in ways that he never expected. Or Deedra Reyes, Hopi Native American girl – how did she find …

A Prayer Life, Part 5: Prayerless

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On occasion I realize with dismay that a day or two has passed, prayerless. For me prayer is a hard habit to keep, an easy habit to break; and hard to restore when I’ve lapsed. Sometimes I fret about my relative (un)worthiness to re-enter the throne room. The Lord is probably less picky about this than me. I picture him observing my internal civil …