Dr. Ron Kirkemo
Soulcraft: Dr. Ron Kirkemo
Written by Kelli Gillespie
Spiritual growth like political statecraft needs a purpose and strategy and tactics. Thus, Soulcraft was developed for bringing God’s call for “First Love” into the realities of the world. Risen talked with Ron Kirkemo, Ph.D about his devotional, change, and a vision of purpose that take us beyond ourselves.
Risen Magazine: Going deeper with one’s faith is such an important part of developing as a Christian, how does your devotional book help people grow?
Ron Kirkemo: My own personal core goal has been to walk “worthy of the Lord” in all aspects of my life. Beyond the normal disciplines I have crafted several new personal ones. Every three months I select three core scriptures to read often, each week I develop a new prayer of thanks, and from twenty-two prayer words of Paul, I choose three each day for prayer-building.
This is a daily devotional, but organized by topics related to spiritual growth ranging from dreams and failures to love, leadership, citizenship, facing workplace dishonesty and breaking the “boxes” that limit us. These also include the beatitudes, parables and central questions of Jesus.
Risen Magazine: Change is inevitable… what have you found to be the best way to deal with change?
Ron Kirkemo: I did not recognize change until I was blindsided. I had my dream teaching job, a nice home for my family and a great church. Then the president [of the school] said he was going to move the college. Big changes ahead! I was mad the whole year and considered choosing a different future. I knew the Lord cared about me so I seriously sought his guidance. He asked me, “If you had to choose between working at a secular university and working for the kingdom, which would you choose?” Coming from him [the Lord] the answer was obvious. I made the choice and he went before me and made the way smooth. My critical attitude persisted like muck in my soul. I asked the Lord to dredge it, and he did. I write that God cares, so he gives guidance, and then at our request, will make our souls whole.
Heart trouble forced my early retirement, leaving two major projects unachieved. The following year I saw some spiritual metaphors and real-life issues that I could write about and that became an opportunity to reinvent myself, my way to walk worthy of the Lord in changed circumstances. I write about forks in the road, passages, tides and updrafts. You want to choose the right road and catch the right tide so I write about marrying hope and imagination to wisdom and prayer, about discernment and discretion, and about high-risk decisions and sacred decisions. When change is negative you may have time to start over, or you can re-engineer your stymied goals, or reinvent yourself.
Risen Magazine: How are your experiences with God and trust reflected in your writings?
Ron Kirkemo: In a miracle and mystery, I was unexplainably saved from drowning while swimming alone one night in a mountain river. I write about encountering God and hearing his voice in storms, choices and mysteries.
There is no conspiratorial group manipulating American elections and I do not believe God is the master manipulator of cancer or car wrecks or theft. We have freedom and possibilities in Christ. This book deals with using that freedom to develop goals and dreams. I write about imagination, initiative, engaging the future, and crafting a life that will be remembered well, wide and long.
Risen Magazine: When did your faith become real? Was there a defining moment?
Ron Kirkemo: During college I feared my personal ambitions would be lost if I committed my life to Christ. I picked up, The Practice of the Presence of God, and read “That we ought…to put our whole trust in God, and make a total surrender of ourselves to him, secure that he will not deceive us.” I suddenly saw that God would not waste my life; I can trust my life to God.
Risen Magazine: What are a couple of scriptures that are most encouraging to you and your daily walk with the Lord?
Ron Kirkemo: “Fear not for I have redeemed you, I know you by name. You are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1) “The Lord protects the simple hearted; when I was in great need he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” (Psalm 116:6-7) “Remain in me and I will remain in you.” (John 15:4) “If any of you lack wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)
Interview originally published in Risen Magazine, Summer 2012
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