Fighting complacency: MU student takes high schoolers on a fieldtrip to view MU’s Torah scroll

No Comments » Written on November 18th, 2015 by
Categories: Programs, Students

Typically, high schoolers step onto MU’s campus for visit events and Spring Thaw. But today, the 53 freshmen from the Old Testament survey course at Westside Christian High School were here for class. Their teacher? Hebrew and educational ministries major Julia Glanz.


As part of her educational ministries senior practicum, Glanz teaches twice a week at Westside. She tests and improves her lesson planning, grading and front-of-the-classroom skills in the freshman survey course and a Christian Leadership class for seniors.

For today’s lesson, though, Glanz thought it’d be helpful to switch things up by instructing in a new environment. “Studying the Bible in the classroom is a huge gift, but there’s a danger that students will become apathetic toward it as a result of the routine schedule,” she explains.

For Glanz, teaching the Word of God is exciting, and she wanted the field trip to transfer that excitement to her students. “Scripture is dynamic — it’s not this dead book sitting in front of us,” she says. “I wanted this to be one more experience that fights complacency.”

During class, Glanz introduced multiple topics of discussion and passed out worksheets. But the icing on the cake was treating her students to a viewing of Multnomah’s ancient Torah scroll.

Glanz hopes the experience created memorable learning. “Now, every time the students hear ‘Hebrew,’ ‘scroll,’ or even an ad for Multnomah on the radio, it will trigger the lessons they learned on this trip,” she says.

At the end of the day, Glanz was encouraged not only by her students’ engagement, enthusiasm and probing questions, but also by their depth of thinking.

“[What I’ve] learned today has inspired me to spend more time reading my Bible and looking into Scripture with a new perspective,” one student told her.

Another referred to the Torah scroll, declaring, “I see God’s power in it.”

Like her students, Glanz also gained some insight. “[The fieldtrip] was a safe place for me to learn and grow and struggle [as a teacher],” she says. The event provided a unique way to hone her skills as an educator while further equipping her for a career in Bible teaching.

The support Glanz received from professors only accelerated her growth as leader. And her classes have been key to her success. “The professors are willing to go the extra mile,” she says. “No class has been a waste.”

Give what you can during our campus food drive!

No Comments » Written on November 13th, 2015 by
Categories: Contests, Events, Feature, Students

We all know about Black Friday. And Cyber Monday. But have you heard of Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday, the first Tuesday of every December, is a globally celebrated day dedicated to giving back. That means charities, businesses, community centers and people around the world will join together to promote generosity.

Multnomah is celebrating by kicking off a campus-wide food drive that will donate all proceeds to the Oregon Food Bank.


About the food drive

Food drive kickoff

Monday, November 16

Last day to drop off donations

Tuesday, December 1, by noon

Where to drop off your contributions

Donation stations will be available in:

  • The Advancement Office
  • The seminary
  • The Student Lounge in the JCA

The Student Lounge will be the primary collection point.

Who can participate?

Everyone! Students, staff and faculty are all invited to participate. Don’t be surprised if you’re challenged by a department or student group to see who can collect more food items!

Join us

Your contributions will make all the difference to hungry families this season. Buy some healthy food choices at a local grocery store (choose items from the list below) and drop them off at one of our Food Bank Buckets. Tell your classmates and get your friends involved. The more the merrier!

What to donate

  • Canned meats (i.e., tuna, chicken, salmon)
  • Canned or dried beans
  • Canned fruits and vegetables (reduced sodium and reduced sugar)
  • Whole-grain foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereal and whole-wheat pasta
  • Soups, chilies and stews (reduced sodium and reduced fat)
  • 100 percent fruit juice (canned, plastic or boxed)
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Unsaturated cooking oils

Giving Tuesday celebration

The food collection will culminate December 1 with a reflection chapel in the JCA, where we’ll stack all the food donations and take a group photo to celebrate God’s provision.

That afternoon, the food will be gathered up from MU and transported to the Oregon Food Bank. We’re looking for students to volunteer for this process. If you’d like to be involved, contact the Advancement Department at

80 ways to give

If you’re looking for even more ways to give, check out our 80 Ways to Give page that we made in honor of Giving Tuesday and our upcoming 80th birthday. Choose from the creative list of ideas, and start giving in new ways today!

Learn more

To learn more about Giving Tuesday, visit

To learn more about the Oregon Food Bank, visit

Student travels to Honduras, volunteers at orphanage

No Comments » Written on November 9th, 2015 by
Categories: Missions, Press Releases, Students

When Wendy Buller was on her way to Honduras this summer, she wasn't quite sure what to expect. The elementary education major had been on a few mission trips before, so she knew there would be hard work involved. But she'd never worked at an orphanage in Honduras before.

Buller first heard about the trip at Multnomah's 2015 annual Global Missions Conference. Hope Teams International, a nonprofit that works with orphans and street children in developing nations, was offering the trip as a raffle prize. "I think God put it on my heart to apply," she says. "I thought, 'Why not?'"

When Hope Teams announced that Buller had been selected for the trip, it was confirmation that she'd done the right thing. Buller and her team left for the 10-day trip in June. As soon as she arrived in Honduras, Buller was taken aback by the poverty she saw all around her. "It felt like walking into national geographic photo," she says.


Her team drove an hour outside the city to the orphanage. It was in the jungle, surrounded by a brick wall and fence; Buller guessed it was about the size of Multnomah's campus. The enclosed area included a school, play areas and dormitories for the 40 children who live there.

During the morning and early afternoon the volunteers painted the orphanage and worked on constructing a new school building. Once school ended later in the afternoon, the children flooded outside to spend times with their new friends.

"One of my favorite things about the trip was playing with the kids after they got out of school," says Buller. "The language barrier was frustrating for me, but they didn’t seem to care that we didn’t know Spanish; they still wanted to play."

And the more Buller played, the more she got to know the brave spirits behind each smiling face. "You wouldn’t have believed where theses kids had come from," she says. "When they shared their testimonies, it was shocking." Some had been abandoned by their parents. Others had been abused over and over. Some had families who simply couldn't taken of them, so they sent them away. Others had lost their parents to death or disease.

"Once kids have someone to love on them, they will shine," says Buller. "These kids grew up learning how to steal, but now they learn to hug and show their true gifts. All of them are very talented. It was amazing to see God working there with them."

When it was time to leave in July, Buller felt like a different person. She thinks about the orphanage often, and she even began sponsoring a young boy she befriended there.


"I love those kids so much!" she says. "I made a lot of good relationships with them. This trip made me want to do even more mission trips with kids. I love that I was able to see God working in another place across the world."

Buller says she wants to work with kids full-time one day, perhaps as a teacher. But for now, the junior is preparing for her career by taking advantage of MU's rigorous courses and supportive professors. "I love the classes here; they make me want to work harder," she says. "And the professors have a way of inspiring you to keep learning more outside of class."

But something very close to her heart is the university mission statement. "I love that it’s about equipping us to be missionaries wherever we are," she says. "MU wants its students to go into the world and be like Christ. Because of Multnomah, I feel prepared for a job — and I feel prepared to stand up for my faith."

Students reflect on blessings, thank MU givers

No Comments » Written on November 6th, 2015 by
Categories: Faculty, Financial Aid, Students

As Thanksgiving approaches, we're taking time to remember all the blessings God has given us over the past year, including his amazing work through Multnomah givers.

At our recent Day of Thanks event, students signed a massive card dedicated to the Multnomah family members who generously donate their resources so men and women from around the world can receive a timeless education that equips them for careers in service to Jesus.

Thank you to all our wonderful givers! Your gifts really do change lives.

MU alumni, missionaries impact students during recent visit

No Comments » Written on November 2nd, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Missions, Students

Dan (’97) and Janell (’00) Hartley have a desire to transform lives. For the past 10 years, they have been sharing the gospel as missionaries in Southern Africa. During a recent trip to their alma mater, the couple brought their passion for the gospel to Dr. Karen Fancher’s Pressing Global Issues class.


“As alumni, our hearts are connected to Multnomah,” says Janell. “We hope that our stories — the chapters we have done well and the chapters we have learned from — will be a blessing and ignite a passion for doing missions.”

Youth ministry major Miguel Ruiz’s attention was undivided during their presentation. Hearing their stories and well-spoken wisdom unexpectedly awakened something in his heart. “My plan was to be a soccer coach, and now…” the freshman trails off, shaking his head and chuckling at his sudden change of heart. “I think God is putting me somewhere else.”

The Hartley’s vision and devotion acted as a catalyst within Ruiz — he now finds himself lying awake at night, thinking about his potential new path. Although he’s unsure of the future, he’s confident in God’s plan for his life. “It’s His will, not mine,” he says.

Making it clear that their work as missionaries isn’t always easy, the Hartleys were honest about past struggles with self-doubt and self-identity. “I needed to understand not just who I am in Christ, but whose I am,” says Dan.

It’s not by chance that past failures often hinder our mission and vision, especially when you’re working for the Lord. “We have a target on our backs, and that doesn’t go away just because we step into ministry,” he says.

But hardship can be overcome by choosing to rely on God for strength, not on ourselves. Janell advised students to come to the Lord with questions as a way to overcome self-reliance.

“When I wake up I pray, ‘Good morning, Lord. What do you want me to accomplish?’” she says. “Learn what his heart is.”

The students attentively soaked up their advice for navigating the ebb and flow of challenges that missionaries often encounter. In closing, the Hartleys offered a way to react to those challenges: “We stopped asking, ‘Why?’ and asked God, ‘What are you doing, and how can we be a part of it?’”


Visit the Hartleys’ website at if you’d like information about their vision to share the gospel with unreached people groups in Sub-Saharan Africa. Contact Janell to request email updates or newsletters at Most importantly, remember to keep them in your prayers.

MAC students launch advocacy project, help transitioning foster children

Students in the MAC program’s Spiritual Integration and Social Concern class are living what they’re learning. The soon-to-be counselors recently completed an advocacy project on behalf of Oregon foster kids.

It began with Professor Chris Cleaver’s desire to create an opportunity for his students to experience real advocacy, an adventure that would take them outside of their lectures and textbooks.

“I’m trying to communicate the role of counselors, the role of advocacy, and then have my students practice those skills,” he says. “Why not actually make someone’s life better while we’re  learning how to make someone’s life better?”

Once the students collaborated on the project, they chose to serve foster kids. With only weeks to make a difference, they quickly identified a need that continuously popped up during their research: Although there are many resources for young adults phasing out of the foster care system into independence, many of these resources are outdated or inaccessible.


“Foster kids can stay in the system up until they’re 23 if they go to college,” says Cleaver. But many have no idea this is an option. “Having current resources and knowing how to take advantage of all those resources can help foster kids avoid pitfalls,” he says.

The students set out to change that by creating multiple brochures with updated information helpful to foster kids moving out of the system. Then they passed them around to various agencies in Multnomah County.

MAC student Sarah Kumm was thrilled to be fulfilling this need with her classmates, and she was encouraged by the feedback they received from social workers. “Everyone I talked to said new resources are huge on their hearts,” she says. “Foster agencies do an amazing job, but they just don’t have time to improve all their resources.”

The project became more than just a grade or a deadline once the students saw how much their effort benefited the kids. “It reminds me of how much is going on in the world and the services that are needed,” says Kumm. “Culturally, we became more sensitive to people we were unfamiliar with. Listening and being there and supporting is what God has called us to do.”

Cleaver agrees. “I very much believe that Jesus is an advocate, and we as Christians are following him in that advocacy.”

Dr. Metzger introduces latest book, announces public reading at Powell’s

Comments Off Written on October 8th, 2015 by
Categories: Books, Press Releases, Seminary, Students, Theology

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger — Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture and Director of New Wine, New Wineskins — has released his latest book, “Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend” (Patheos Press, August 2015). The work features Metzger’s late friend, Zen Buddhist Priest Kyogen Carlson, who wrote the foreword and responded to Metzger’s essays.

A book reading for “Evangelical Zen” is set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at Powell’s City of Books. The event will include readings from Metzger and Sallie (Jiko) Tisdale, who will be reading one or two reflections from Abbot Kyogen Carlson’s contributions in the volume.

Until then, Metzger answers our questions about “Evangelical Zen” and the unique vision behind it.


Can you give us a brief synopsis of the book?

“Evangelical Zen” is part Augustine’s “Confessions” and part Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” As an Evangelical Christian theologian, I reflect on my spiritual journey — an inner pilgrimage of sorts that weaves through a physical 40-day journey with my family in Japan.

The experiences of that journey, the beauties of Japan, its culture, and its religion become for me a lens on a deeper quest: I am searching for and, I believe, finding a global humanity in conversation with my friend and literary traveling companion, Abbot Kyogen Carlson, a Zen Buddhist Priest.

Can you define what you mean by “spiritual travels”?

Our travels through life as Christians are ultimately spiritual, not secular. We should never compartmentalize our faith, even in seemingly secular and pluralistic cultural settings.

Moreover, our faith is not static. While our eternal destination as Christians is secure through personal faith in Jesus Christ, our faith is an ongoing journey. Thus, our encounters with various people, places and things in life can serve as sign posts of faith as we seek to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves.

What compelled you to write this book?

I felt compelled to write this book because my spiritual journey has taken me to Japan over the years through marriage to my wife Mariko, a Japanese national. Our children Christopher and Julianne have joined us on that journey. I have come to deeply love Japanese culture. Through my experiences in Japan, I have come to love Jesus more while also loving people across the globe. My travels there have helped me in my endeavors to become more sensitive to people of various cultures here and abroad.

Such growth here has been enhanced through my friendship over the years with Zen Buddhist Priest, Kyogen Carlson, who founded Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland with his fellow abbot and spouse, Gyokuko. Since we first met in 2003, and until his sudden passing from a massive heart attack in September 2014, Kyogen and I developed a deep, abiding friendship. He agreed to write responses to the various essays, as well as a foreword to the whole book. For all our theological and philosophical differences from one another revealed in the book, Kyogen’s thoughts complete mine in this volume as we seek to understand life and humanity better.

How might reading this book be beneficial for a Christ-follower?

Evangelical Zen will help Christians navigate life and our increasingly diverse and multi-faith culture in such a manner that we can love God through Jesus more without having to love our diverse neighbors less. In fact, I believe our Christian faith, if cultivated well, makes it possible for us to love people of diverse paths better and with more sensitivity here and abroad.

Why is it important to build friendships with people of other religions?

I believe God’s love has been on display over the years with my Buddhist friends here in Portland, as my students and other Christians have joined the Carlsons, Dharma Rain Zen Center parishioners, and me for potluck meals and dialogues where we discuss key aspects of our respective faiths, including what divides us. We don’t sweep our differences under the table, nor do we stop short of engaging one another relationally. Instead, we go through our differences to build bridges of authentic trust that bind us together in the midst of culture wars that could easily divide us.

My students value such opportunities to engage people of diverse faiths. After all, they also live in an increasingly religiously diverse society. Like all of us, they need to learn how to engage their multi-faith society well in grace and truth. Their neighborhoods, the marketplace and ministry contexts (such as in the various spheres of chaplaincy and pastoral visitation) require that they become sensitive and adept at presenting biblical truth in a truly meaningful and gracious way. As our former MU president Dr. Joe Aldrich used to say, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  That is equally true here in the States, Japan, and anywhere else in the world.

Students experience the power of service, prayer

The sky was blue and full of sunshine on September 29 as the busyness of the day unfolded. On Multnomah’s campus, about 30 graduate and seminary students were gathering for Day of Prayer. Off campus, 150 undergraduate students were serving the neighboring community for Day of Outreach.


'A great connector'

Once every fall and spring, undergraduate students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community. A volunteer site can be anywhere: a nonprofit, a community center, a school. Even a MAX station. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

The commuters waiting to ride the nearby MAX Light Rail brightened up as Multnomah students offered them steaming cups of coffee and fresh donuts. Freshman Megan Flikkema loved the opportunity to brush shoulders with people she wouldn’t normally meet.

“It’s a great connector,” she said. “It’s an easy way to pass out breakfast and talk about Jesus.” Flikkema was right: Many students took time to engage in meaningful conversations with people they encountered, listening intently to their life stories.

Summit student Trevor Grant saw Day of Outreach as a way to respond: “In the last three months, I’ve really been convicted about how much we’re called to help out in the community,” said the freshman. “So [Day of Outreach] is good timing.”


'Faith without works is nothing'

Not far down the road from the MAX station, another group of students wandered through the Montavilla neighborhood, praying for their neighbors while they searched for trash littering the yards, gutters and sidewalks. Although a seemingly small act, the residents responded positively. One man even hollered his sincere thanks from his car before turning onto the busy street.

“It’s important, especially at Multnomah, to get out into the community,” said Brittany Bowling, a business and organizational psychology major.

Hebrew major Darren Warren stuffed some litter from the street gutter into a large plastic bag. “Faith without works is nothing,” said the freshman. “Being the hands and feet of God is precisely what God is all about.” You could tell Warren meant every word — he looked eager to support the event’s mission.


'God weaves our stories'

Back on campus, graduate and seminary students were gathered together for a morning of prayer and fellowship. Daytime classes were cancelled so students could step back from studies and set aside time dedicated to seeking God. The quaint and quiet prayer chapel proved to be the perfect setting for the event.

Master of Divinity student Aimee Pahl was the organizer for Day of Prayer. She was deeply encouraged by what took place during the prayer time, and was especially impressed by students’ vulnerability as they lifted each other’s requests to the Lord. “[God] weaves our stories so that we understand each other, especially when we’re praying for one another,” she said.

The three-hour prayer session brought Kā‘ili Wells some much needed peace. “I just needed to reconnect with God,” said the seminary student. “I needed worshipful, prayerful rest.” Wells also mentioned the importance of creating a time and a place for seminary and graduate students to come together; with their schedules, it can be easy for them to become exclusive.

Although there has been a lot going on in Wells' life, he left Day of Prayer feeling refreshed. “It’s funny, because I’m tired,” he said, chuckling. “But I also feel rejuvenated.” The power of prayer does some amazing things.

Watch the 2015 All College Retreat video

Comments Off Written on September 15th, 2015 by
Categories: Events, Students

Every fall, MU students kick off the semester with a weekend getaway at Washington Family Ranch. The retreat is a perfect opportunity to glean wisdom from a medley of speakers, make new friends, and jump start the school year with a whole lot of fun. A big thanks to our Student Life team, who were instrumental in making this retreat a wonderful experience for everyone involved!

Different dreams, one purpose: Students from all over the world join MU

Students with different dreams and goals arrived on campus last week. Some had included MU in their plans for years, while others made last-minute decisions to attend. But regardless of their backgrounds, all of our new students desire a higher purpose in their careers. They look to their faith to infuse meaning in all they do.

Student2015aMiguel Ruiz traveled all the way from his hometown in Mexico to experience MU. “I basically came to follow my dream,” he says. “I want to have a sports ministry. I have played soccer my whole life, and I want to go back to Mexico and share the gospel there through soccer.” The youth ministry major is convinced MU is the perfect place to pursue his ambitions. He says he wants to learn everything he can while he’s here.

Student2015cAzaria Coakley is eager to interact with people on campus and learn their stories. “I think we have a small enough school where I can learn about everyone I graduate with,” she says.  The business major from Vancouver, Wash., wasn’t sold on MU at first, but she quickly changed her mind when she took a second look. “I love Multnomah already, and I’ve only been here two days,” she says. “I want to learn what my place is, and I feel this is the best place to do that.”

Student2015bIn terms of the campus environment, Monica Paterson found exactly what she was looking for at Multnomah. “I wanted to be submerged in a Christian atmosphere,” she says. “No matter where I am on campus, I want to be able to talk to someone about Jesus or ask, ‘Do you mind praying for me?’ I wanted to be in a place where these conversations were common.” The global studies major from Vinton City, Ohio, visited several other Christian colleges, but they weren’t quite right. “I loved the opportunities they offered, but I knew they weren’t my blessing – Multnomah was,” she says.

We welcome you, new students. Our prayerful desire is that you will become equipped to engage our culture with courage and compassion while committing yourself to serving Jesus with your career. Have a great school year!