Ever since I was in junior high school, I wanted to be a teacher. My desire grew through senior high and college, as I recognized the impact my teachers were having on my life. They became my heroes – not baseball or football players, but teachers who invested their lives in the well-being of young people.

After I completed my doctorate in European and Russian history, I worked at the U. S. Department of State for four years, but knew after a few years that this was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with young people, rather than be employed in the Foreign Service despite the prestige of this career. My professional life subsequently involved surprising changes and I wound up with some exciting jobs, which I never anticipated.

After twenty years with the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, which involved working with the American Studies Program on Capitol Hill and other international student programs, I was asked to give leadership to the “Russia initiative” which eventually resulted in serving as President of the Russian-American Christian University in Moscow, Russia, for fifteen years. Imaginge how I felt when I stood in Red Square for the first time in 1990, and thought to myself: “What is this kid from the west side of Chicago doing in the capital city of America’s Cold War Rival?”

For the story of my experiences in the Soviet Union/Russia for twenty-five years, see my book Opening the Red Door (InterVarsity Academic Press, 2019).

When the Kremlin closed down the Russian-American Christian University in 2012 and the Board of Trustees sold the campus in 2014, the Trustees decided to continue its support for Christian higher education in Russia and Ukraine.  BEAM (Business and Education as Mission), Inc., was established as a private foundation dedicated to develop and support educational programs that equip Christians in Russia, Ukraine, and other former republics of the USSR for leadership roles in their communities, churches, and workplaces.  BEAM, Inc., is also committed to building cooperative relationships between Christians in the United States and in post-Communist countries of Eurasia.  I was asked to serve as BEAM’s President and CEO and I continued in this role since 2014.  Beginning in August 2022, I accepted an invitation to be a Senior Fellow at the Paul Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics, while staying fully involved in BEAM’s work, especially in Ukraine.  In addition to writing and distributing a weekly update on the Russian-Ukrainian war, and working on two books, I also frequently give public lectures on this topic of the war and its significance.

My Writings

As a teacher and educational leader for more than 45 years, I learned to describe myself as a “generalist” and a “popularizer” – someone who had interest in many different subjects and chose not to specialize in anything, but explored numerous topics and tried to share what I learned from the experts with others. This website is motivated by my continuing desire to share what I have learned with those who might be interested. I have organized the content by subject matter/interest area. Readers can navigate the website by clicking on the section titles below, or using the menu at the top of the page.

Christian Higher Education: Thoughts on how our Christian faith can help us be constructive citizens of our nation, but more importantly of God’s Kingdom on earth.

International Insights: Insights I gained from my work and travel to thirty countries, particularly Russia and other post-Communist states.

Biblical Studies: Insights I learned from my study of the Old & New Testaments, and especially the life and times of Jesus. I have taught adult Sunday School for years and also used these materials in my college courses, challenging my students and friends to live faithful lives as disciples of Jesus.

My essays on the context for Ukraine’s struggle against the Russian invasion are now available on Substack. Use the subscribe form above to receive these updates directly to your inbox, or visit the webpage to see current and past Reflections.