The Official Website of Kendel Christensen

Welcome to the section of my website dedicated to my heroes!
As someone who wants to make a difference, I think one of the most effective ways to do so is to get to know others who have and are making a difference. Here are a few of the people from whom I try to glean lessons. I apply what suits my style and vision, and the rest I discard. I invite you to do the same.

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer is currently my favorite hero. As a child, he was always asking questions that others could not easily answer. At age 18, he went to the University of Strasbourg to study philosophy for six years.  The university loved him so much, that they offered him a teaching position (uncommon for someone so recently graduated). He accepted, but after awhile, Schweitzer realized that he wanted to do more than just think and talk about deep questions—he wanted to help others actually live better lives. He went back to school to study theology so he could become a pastor. 

He was a preacher at St. Nicholas Church in Strasbourg until 1905 when he decided that just talking about helping others wasn’t enough–he wanted to make a more meaningful difference.  

What did he do? He went back to school again and studied ANOTHER six years (1905-1911) to be a Physician! His vision was to dedicate his life to helping the poor and sick in Africa.

Schweitzer then set himself to raising money to build a hospital. To that end, he published essays, gave speeches, put on frequent organ concerts, and solicited donations from anyone that he knew. In 1913, the first phase of his dream was realized when the Albert Schweitzer hospital in Gabon, Africa opened for service. He spent the rest of his life helping people recover from dysentery, sores, boils, heart disease, malaria, and many other ailments.  He helped so many thousands of patients that he won the Nobel Peace prize in 1952.  What did he do with the prize money? Schweitzer donated all of it to expand the services of his hospital. Schweitzer, for me, is the embodiment of living for a cause higher than yourself.


© Wikimedia
“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.” -Albert Schweitzer

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” -Albert Schweitzer

“My life is my argument.” -Albert Schweitzer

Yûsuf Salâh al-Dîn

Yûsuf Salâh al-Dîn, or simply “Saladin” was a military leader who saw beyond the “fog of war” to exemplify transcendent principles such as lasting peace and individual human worth. His leadership united the Muslims and led to the recapture of Jerusalem in 1187. The reason I choose to highlight Saladin comes from the book, The Anatomy of Peace:

“Militarily, politically, and in every other way, Saladin was the most successful leader of the period. His successes were so surprising and total that historians sometimes invoke luck and good fortune to explain them. However, as I have studied Saladin, I am convinced he succeeded in war for a much deeper reason; a reason that won’t seem at first to be related to war at all….
“To understand it, we need to get a better feel for the man. Let me tell you a story. On one occasion, an army scout came to Saladin with a sobbing woman from the enemy camp. She had requested, hysterically, that the scout take her to Saladin. She threw herself before Saladin, and said, ‘Yesterday some Muslim thieves entered my tent and stole my little girl. I cried all through the night, believing I would never see her again. But our commanders told me that you, the king of the Muslims, are merciful.’ She begged for his help.

“Saladin was moved to tears. He immediately sent one of his men to the slave market to look for the girl. They located her within the hour and returned her to her mother, whom they then escorted back to the enemy camp.
“If you were to research Saladin, you would discover that this story is characteristic. He is renowned for his kindness toward allies and enemies alike.”
                                                          . . .
“[When the siege of Jerusalem was successful,] Saladin put his men under strict order not to harm a single Christian person or plunder any of their possessions. He reinforced the guards at Christian places of worship and announced that the defeated peoples would be welcome to come to Jerusalem on pilgrimage whenever they liked.

“As a way to restock the treasury, Saladin worked out a ransom structure with Balian [the crusader leader] for each of the city’s inhabitants. His men protested that the amounts were absurdly low. But Saladin was concerned for the poor among them. So much so, in fact, that he let many leave without any ransom whatsoever. He sent widows and children away with gifts. His leaders objected, saying that if they were going to let so many leave without any compensation, they should at least increase the ransom for the wealthy. But Saladin refused. ” (Arbinger
Institute, Anatomy of Peace,
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Fransisco, CA [2006]) 

Though I personally renounce war and proclaim peace, and am disgusted with the realities war brings, I think it unfair to dismiss a man because of the times and circumstances in which he is found. Saladin, to me, exemplifies the principle of treating people as people–which means that they are to be regarded as as valuable, as worthwhile, as important, and as mercifully as you treat yourself.

Steven P. Jobs


© Wikimedia
“The ability to inspire rather than enforce loyalty is a critical quality of leadership.” 
― Geoffrey HindleySaladin: Hero Of Islam

“Do not let the hatred of a people for having obstructed you… lead you to transgress.” -Qur’an 5:2

Steve Jobs

I look up to Steve for several reasons. He had vision and held relentlessly to it (he routinely disregarded the opinions of critics and ‘experts’ and went with what he felt was best. He worked hard, endured incredible difficulty, and expected the best out of people. No one can argue that he changed our world and thought outside the box.

Coming Soon…

Alan Wilkins, Clayton Christensen, Nelson Mandella, Raoul Wallenberg, Nicola Tesla, Joan of Arc, Florence Nightengale, Baron Von Steuben, Smedley Butler, Abraham Lincoln, Viktor Frankl, Muhammad Yunus