Nobody likes obnoxious behavior. Sometimes I have these episodes where I just act like I know everything. It doesn't happen too often, but it happens. I feel it coming, which doesn't help me stop it. I'm sure it's just some form of self-centeredness. We want people to know that we thought of the good idea first, or that our way is the right way. It's all about us. Other-centeredness hardly ever leads to obnoxious behavior. I married one of those understated "otherly" types. She never scrambles to make her point or to get her way. At some level, I must have known I take up too much space to marry another me. So I work at being more like Bonnie. I think she likes that. She has never said, "Just be who you are." She's a smart woman.
The reason I thought about the "me" demon is because I noticed in this issue we feature a news story on Roger Mohrlang, a soul in whom we find few traces of self-promotion. Roger represents students, alumni and staff who specialize in faithfulness. They show little need for recognition. They show big need for quiet service. They sacrifice in silence, using the fruits of their sacrifices to help people in need. At the end of this past summer, a few of us got an e-mail from Roger. He told of the sheer joy that he and his great partner in life, Dottie, found on their return to Nigeria. I asked him if we could report his experience more widely. As you will read, Roger's joy bears witness to the inexorable march of God's word and Christ's gospel. But it also symbolizes the lives of so many people in the greater Whitworth family.
Alumni magazines highlight things that show well, things that stand out. In a world preoccupied with brand and image, we think faithfulness qualifies as a standout virtue. Remember the generic brands? Black print on white labels with prosaic information: "Beans," for example. In a strange way, those cans stood out. Painstakingly heroic work, like Bible translation, will not likely serve as the tear-jerking illustration with which we close our sermons. But it stands out as the life-giving product of faithful servants who often labor in obscurity.
A week ago, I was walking across campus after dark and spotted a dim, lamppost-lit encounter and embrace. It was Roger and Dottie, pausing as they moved in opposite directions. They deserve each other. I hope that as you read the account of Roger's return to Nigeria, you will be lifted by the great work he gave to the Kamwe people; and I hope you will think of the folks you know who do what they do out of pure hearts, even when no one is watching. Enjoy this story and all of the others in this issue of Whitworth Today.