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Short does not get short with students

(Daily Staff Writer)

"Is God alive in your life?"

That was one of many questions posed to students by traveling minister Tom Short, who was on campus Wednesday and Thursday.

Short has visited Iowa State each fall and spring for the last three years.

His ultimate goal, he said, "is to reconcile people to God through Jesus Christ."

That process, he said, has many steps and roadblocks.

Whether reconciling people with the bad things that have been done in the name of Christianity or showing that science has not disproved the existence of God, Short said, "I'll offer another side of the story."

He said he wants to help students know God personally and feel confident in their faith.

"When I start, I'm rarely aware of what I'm going to start with," he said. A lot depends on the questions he gets from the audience.

He said he tries to address most of the questions of people that are mocking him because "they're voicing concerns that others may have."

Short said it's easy to get the impression that most people disagree with him because those who do are more vocal.

However, he said, that is the minority, and many people have come up to him on campus, at Quick Trip and in the residence halls and talked more one-on-one with him. He said one man told him Wednesday in the residence halls that "it was just what he needed" to cope with a difficult time in his life.

With each visit to campus, there is a larger number of students he knows and students who come back to listen to him, Short said.

"I know most of the hecklers on campus now," he said. Then he greeted a self-proclaimed atheist by name, who sat down to chat.

A few minutes later, another young man approached Short.

Tim Borseth, who graduated from ISU in geology, now works for the same group Short belongs to, Great Commission Ministries.

Borseth is part of the group responsible for bringing Short to campus every semester.

"A lot of people write him off and don't like him," Borseth said, "but a lot ask when he's coming back."

Borseth said many people enjoy having intellectual debates with Short.

"I think he does a real good job for the difficult setting he's in," Borseth said.

Kubilay Gursel, a graduate student in economics, said Short seems like an actor due to his public speaking ability. "I have seen other preachers here and I feel more comfortable talking to him," he said.

Gursel said he has stopped to listen to Short a couple times before, and has heard other ministers speaking on campus, too. He said Short is the best he's seen.

"I've never doubted the existence of God," he said.

During his early teenage years, however, he said he "didn't find church really satisfying and didn't think it had answers to what [he] was looking for."

The turning point in his life, he said, came when he picked up a Bible and started reading on his own and found that Jesus offered many of the answers he hadn't found in church.

Short said he started his ministry work in 1980 at the University of Maryland.

"I just felt that Jesus Christ was not much of an issue on campuses and he ought to be," Short said.

He started to preach publicly like people in the New Testament of the Bible did, he said.

At the University of Maryland, he said crowds would reach more than 500 people and "people would stand and listen all afternoon."

For a while, he stopped his campus work and served as a pastor of a church.

Iowa State Daily, September 19th, 1997