THE MAGAZINE OF GORDON COLLEGE
Why Liberal Arts? 12 The answers may surprise you.
College in Four Dimensions Arts, Liberated The Promise of Religious Liberal Arts Colleges Rich Soil for New and Noble Ventures Leadership and the Liberal Arts
Also in This Issue 32 What Is Beauty? 34 Between Concrete and Abstract 35 Hope for the Underdogs
12 WHY LIBERAL ARTS? Increasingly, this question is top-of-mind for prospective students and their parents: Is a liberal arts education worth it? Five Gordon College colleagues articulate their responses. Their answers may surprise you.
12 Introduction by Stan Gaede Gordon’s scholar-in-residence sets the stage for an important discussion.
Liberated 14 Arts, by Rini Cobbey What the liberal arts have to do with newness and tradition, collaboration and connection.
The Promise of Religious Liberal Arts Colleges by Thomas A. (Tal) Howard Faith-based colleges and the meaning of vocation.
Soil for New and 19 Rich Noble Ventures by Carter Crockett
Broad experience, deep convictions: how the liberal arts help students become agents of change.
and the 22 Leadership Liberal Arts by D. Michael Lindsay
Research reveals that many top leaders are liberal arts graduates. Gordon’s president reflects on just how the liberal arts cultivate leadership talent.
ON THE COVER It’s not their parents’ library: Jenks is a “workshop, not a warehouse,” according to Dr. Myron Shirer-Suter, director of library services. Here, students enjoy the recently renovated lobby area, funded by Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler. Artifacts suggesting the range of the liberal arts form the large question mark on the floor. Cover Photo Mark Spooner ‘14
“I wanted to learn how to think, which went hand-in-hand with how I wanted to be in the world.”
IN EACH ISSUE
Never Go Out the Way 26 You You Came In
Concrete 34 Between and Abstract
2 Up Front
by Stephanie Turpin
and Leisure— 28 Recreation and Deep Faith by Ann Smith
Bright” in 29 “Burning Jenks 108 by Bryan Parys ’04
First Ten Years: 30 The The Jerusalem and Athens Forum
Is Beauty? 32 What by Matthew Reese ’15, Jaimie DiBernardo ’14 and Ian Isaac ’15
The brothers Mull—Charley ’07, Tom ’13, Steve ’15 and Dave—take skateboarding to the movies.
and Hope for 35 Help the Underdogs Scott Egan ’94 leaves his comfort zone behind.
36 What We Keep
Cora Hurlburt ’62B Barnes on rich reunion memories.
with President Lindsay
3 Inspiration 4 Gordon Life 5 SPORKS
Notes of a young alum
6 On the Grapevine
Student, Faculty and Staff News
38 Class Notes
UP FRONT with President Lindsay
Internships for Life “Pull quote goes here. Num veleseq uismodignim zzriuscil doluptat. Cum nos duis nulput digna con volenim ent augait wis nit aut aliqui blan.”
There is no substitute for this kind of up-close-and-personal immersion in actual workplaces. When Peter Kang ’14, Jessica Rabe ’14, Allana Notaro ’15 and Nathan Calandra ’14 arrived in Rio de Janeiro for a summer internship with a technology firm, their first challenge was to figure out what they could do in six weeks that would be genuinely useful to their temporary colleagues—a savvy group of managers ranging from computer scientists to financial specialists. After an initial brainstorming meeting with their managers, the team of interns got to work on their first project: an evaluation of the company’s website, and recommendations for the most effective use of social media. After two weeks of research, they presented their findings. “It was very interactive,” Peter says. “They asked a lot of questions.” In the weeks that followed, they coordinated a TEDx talk, worked with a finance official to help present the office’s budget, and, for their final project, worked up a presentation on the very timely subject of “Big Data”—
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that is, data sets so large and complex that they are difficult to process using traditional applications. During a trip to Brazil this summer, I visited with the team. I was struck by how far they had come in just a few short weeks—there is no substitute for this kind of up-close-and-personal immersion in actual workplaces. Students gain a sense of the big picture, and also of the gritty day-to-day realities of colleagues and deadlines. Around 260 Gordon students participated in internships over the last year. In order to advance our students’ professional development across the liberal arts, we’re looking to increase not just the number but the range of fields of these internships. In fact, we’d love to have more of you partner with the College in providing our students with internships (academic, co-ops, or practicums; domestic or international). So if you know of any such opportunities, please email email@example.com.
We are pleased to have just welcomed our largest and most talented class of incoming students ever. Who knows how they will be changed by their time here, and what contributions they will make to the world? Our best recruiters are people like you, with close personal ties to the College. So I’m going to make another request: If you know a student who might be a good fit here, please refer him or her to the College. We’d love to be in touch about the ever-expanding opportunities at Gordon.
President’s Page www.gordon.edu/presidentspage
IN EACH ISSUE
VOLUME 29 NUMBER 1
“At the still point of the turning world.” T. S. Eliot, from “Burnt Norton,” Four Quartets EDITORIAL
Patricia C. Hanlon Editor
Tim Ferguson Sauder Creative Director
Cyndi McMahon Staff Writer
Amy Harrell ’07 Publication Design
John Dixon Mirisola ’11 Staff Writer and News Section Editor Ann Sierks Smith Copyeditor and Staff Writer
ADMINISTRATION D. Michael Lindsay President Rick Sweeney ’85 Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communications
Adrianne Cook ’92 Director of Alumni and Parent Relations
ADDRESS CHANGES Development Office firstname.lastname@example.org
OTHER CORRESPONDENCE Editor, STILLPOINT | Gordon College 255 Grapevine Road, Wenham MA 01984 email@example.com
Tom Haugen Introducing Gordon’s New Chaplain Tom Haugen joined the campus community in November as Gordon College’s seventh chaplain (a position formerly known as Dean of Chapel). The chaplain’s office develops and implements the studentfocused Chapel program, short-term mission trips, and spiritual formation. Greg Carmer, who was Dean of Chapel for the past 11 years, is now Dean of Christian Life and Theologian-in-Residence. ‘It will be a privilege to help students discover for themselves God’s purpose for their lives as they navigate the joys and challenges of the college journey,” Tom says. “I get excited thinking about the impact 1,600 students could have in New England and to the ends of the earth when they embrace God’s love and forgiveness, grow in wisdom and Christ-likeness, commit to lives of service, and in all things give God the honor and glory he deserves.” Tom has served churches in Switzerland and Atlanta, working with youth and young adults. He and his wife, Lauri, both earned divinity degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he is now a Ph.D. candidate at (in GCTS’s program in conjunction with the London School of Theology). So they already live in Hamilton, where with their three young daughters they are involved in the First Congregational Church and in the community. They spend free time exploring New England’s mountains and coastline, and get to Montana when they can to go fly-fishing with family. “More than 450 people from around the world applied to be Gordon’s chaplain, and Tom was the clear standout,” President Michael Lindsay said in announcing the appointent on Nove. 11. “I am so excited to see how God will use Tom’s gifts and leadership to make an impact on the Gordon community in the days ahead.”
PRINTING Flagship Press | North Andover, MA Photo Lauri Haugen Opinions expressed in STILLPOINT are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gordon College administration, or of all members of the alumni community. The College reserves the right to edit for clarity, conciseness and appropriateness. Gordon College is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, or national or ethnic origin. Reproduction of STILLPOINT articles is permitted, but please attribute to STILLPOINT: The Magazine of Gordon College, and include author’s name, if applicable.
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GORDON LIFE: Ways to stay in touch The latest news about Gordon can often be found on social media sites. Take part in happenings on campus, read faculty and student reflections, tour the residence halls, and join the lively dialogue that has always been a part of the College’s identity. (Opinions expressed in these venues do not necessarily reflect the College’s institutional positions and beliefs.)
Gordon Website GORDON.EDU
Online College Publications ISSUU.COM/GORDONCOLLEGE
A Community of Scholars
President Lindsay’s web page has been updated, and includes a new video featuring aerial footage of campus, and some of his reflections on the liberal arts at Gordon.
Browse A Community of Scholars, a new publication spotlightling some of Gordon’s faculty, their scholarship, faculty-student research collaborations, and more.
View page: www.gordon.edu/president
View “page-turning” PDF: www.gordon.edu/scholars
Gordon College Kids Club ATHLETICS.GORDON.EDU/KIDSCLUB
Of (P)interest at Gordon
Calling All Kids
With 900+ pins (most submitted by students) and 23 boards (including “Dorm Rooms” and “Study Spaces”), Gordon’s Pinterest site provides many windows on life at Gordon.
Sponsored by Gordon Athletics, the Gordon College Kids Club is free and open to all kids who enjoy games and other special events.
View pins: Pinterest.com/gordoncollege
Learn more: athletics.gordon.edu/kidsclub
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IN EACH ISSUE
Story bryan parys ’04
N OT E S F R O M A YO U N G A L U M
INSTALLATION 17: THE MEMOIRIST IS LYING TO YOU
After hour five of wearing the wetsuit, I would like very much to take a dip. The pool is inches away, and I can’t tell you how hot I am. Inside this borrowed wetsuit the sweat is constant and trapped, and I don’t think I’ve ever been this damp outside the water.
and spiritual torpor. In fact, it’s hardly the easy way out. At a recent poetry reading, the former U.S. poet laureate Charles Simic introduced one poem as something that was 10 years in the making. “The information came quickly,” he said, “but the poem took much, much longer.”
But, taking the plunge is not in the script, and so I’m having to keep up a few lies to stay focused. The main ruse is that I am Cam, a mid-20s mustachioed poolboy—a character dreamed up for one of Professor Toddy Burton’s new films. I’m expected to pretend that I am not the person that my birth certificate advertises.
Prior to shooting the climactic scene of the movie, I stand off camera waiting for my cue. The hood of the wetsuit cuts my hearing ability in half, and through my fogged-up goggles the floor tiles blur indiscernibly into the edges of the water. I hardly know where I am, let alone where Cam is supposed to be, and what he is supposed to say in order to achieve the results that our director is aiming for.
I imagine most actors don’t have this struggle to suspend their identity, but given that I received a terminal degree in the art of writing nonfiction/memoir, the leap is taking more for me than just growing a mustache and donning a wetsuit. My struggle is not that I lack imagination, but that during grad school, I lost my faith in fiction. The way I saw it, the world was growing exponentially larger and yet more connected at almost the same speed, and we were at risk of losing the opportunities to catch and interpret the experiences. Human stories were happening with the gushing power of a wrenched fire hydrant, and therefore making up a story seemed akin to standing in the midst of the tunneling flow and claiming to be thirsty. But it wasn’t long before issues arose within my own nonfiction camp, challenging the concept of the “actually true” story. To a journalist, the best nonfiction stories are 100 percent fact-checked and scouts-honor true.
MY STRUGGLE IS NOT THAT I LACK IMAGINATION, BUT THAT DURING GRAD SCHOOL, I LOST MY FAITH IN FICTION. I don’t know why I am doing any of this, but I give myself to the temporary lie so that Professor Burton can use it to craft a permanent truth. At times I struggle with being asked what I was thinking when I selected the box that registered me an English major. I have even fewer concrete answers when someone asks me to defend the liberal arts. Because here’s the truth: The liberal arts do not offer the truth. They do, however, teach you to discover it.
But other nonfiction writers say that memory is fallible, and therefore the basic assumptions about our own histories may be dubious, and at times, completely fabricated. “I don’t write about what I know,” the memoirist (and novelist) Patricia Hampl writes. “I write to discover what I know.” A break from the tyranny of fact is freeing to many. In order to write truthfully about his life, the essayist Philip Lopate tells himself that he is not a nice guy. This way, he does not worry about ruffling feathers, and can instead focus on what needs to be said. He “lies” to himself, and somehow arrives at a truer distillation of his experience. Essayist Kyoko Mori puts it this way: “Once I discovered you could arrive at the truth obliquely, I was never the same.” Meaning, taking the side door to truth is not a sign of moral
bryan parys is the senior writer for the Admissions office and teaches writing at Gordon College. He misses the mustache nearly as much as the mustache misses him. firstname.lastname@example.org
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NEWS: ON THE GRAPEVINE
STUDENT, FACULTY AND STAFF NEWS
Photo Michela Tedesco ’13
Trials, Temptations, Betrayals: Cry Innocent Turns 21
Seasoned Cry Innocent actors (standing, left to right) Sarah Mann, Carl Schultz ’13, Diana Dunlap, Arielle Kaplan, Jasmine Myers ’11 and (seated) Max Sklar appear in the historical play summer and fall in Old Town Hall in Salem (and in the rowdy outdoor arrest that begins the play!).
Three Stevick Plays Find New Homes Since it debuted in 1992, Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop has taken thousands of Salem visitors on an interactive journey through the minds and morals of the Witch Trials of 1692. Soon the show, produced by History Alive! at Gordon and written by Associate Professor of English Mark Stevick ’87 (based on an early version of the story by David Goss ’74), will reach communities across the country through a new film. After the play’s cast and crew wrapped its twenty-first season this spring, Stevick and his wife, Kristina Wacome-Stevick ’98, History Alive!’s artistic director, began work with local filmmaker Paul Van Ness ’73 to bring the production to life on screen. Shot at Salem’s Pioneer Village with a cast of 52—including more than
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30 Cry Innocent veterans and 8 of the 9 original players—the film aims to capture all the intrigue and suspicion of the staged performance, and will be offered in interactive and standard versions. Meanwhile, two of Stevick’s other plays have seen reprises as well: The Screwtape Letters, an adaptation of the C. S. Lewis classic; and Goodnight, Captain White, a murder mystery dinner theater piece based on an oft-hidden dark blotch in Salem’s history. The Screwtape Letters, written by Stevick in 1990 and directed by Norm Jones in Gordon’s Margaret Jensen Theatre this October, celebrates Lewis’s life and works through an 80-minute cosmic—and often comic—tour of the battlefields where the
struggle for souls is waged. Its production at Gordon this year marked the 50th anniversary of his death. For Goodnight, Captain White, which was first staged in the mid-’90s, Stevick took a different approach to dramatizing a historical tale. The Cry Innocent script is stringently accurate, but Goodnight, Captain White takes poetic license with the details of the 1830 murder of a Salem sea captain. “In this case I was guided more by what I think will please an audience, what I want to explore as a playwright, and what I can mine from history, rather than an obligation to historical accuracy,” Stevick says. The result: daringly playful, intricate farce informed by soberingly real history.
ON THE GRAPEVINE
Religion and Other Curiosities: Conversations with Peter Berger
Studying Swords and Plowshares
Photo Michela Tedesco ’13
As part of a two-day discussion of religion and the contemporary world, Gordon’s Center for Faith and Inquiry welcomed sociologist Peter Berger, professor emeritus of religion, sociology and theology at Boston University and also director of BU’s Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs. Berger, a native of Austria, holds a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research and is the author of many books pertaining to sociology, religion, and economic development. One of his early books, co-authored with Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (1966), is a seminal text in the sociology of knowledge. Berger was interviewed by Associate Professor Gregor Thuswaldner (German and linguistics; and Center for Faith and Inquiry Fellow). Like Berger, Thuswaldner is Austrian, and they share a scholarly interest in the tensions at the intersection of culture and Christianity. Thuswaldner asked Berger to explain how he changed his views on secularization theory—that is, the view that modernity inevitably produces secularism. Berger noted a thorough answer could take 10 hours, but offered a “four-minute version.” As a young sociologist in the ’60s, Berger explained, he and nearly everyone in his field accepted this theory. But over the next two decades of his research, he concluded that data indicates that “the world today is not, in fact, heavily secularized.”
Gordon’s newest global education offering, the Balkans Semester, is an interdisciplinary, humanities-based program exploring war and peace. An estimated 14 students will form the first cohort in the spring of 2014, along with Gordon College sociology and philosophy faculty. Guest lectures will be given by faculty from the Universities of Zagreb, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Pristina and other institutions, and by notable political, religious and literary figures. For the first two months, students will live in Zagreb (the capital of Croatia) and take day and weekend trips to areas that were ravaged by war in the 1990s—and are still recovering. In early April the students will leave Zagreb for a 10-day sojourn through the Balkans. They will spend the final three weeks on the Croatian coast in Dubrovnik, a medieval walled city with rich history, which was shelled in the 1990s by Montenegrin-Serbian forces.
“Berger is one of the most preeminent scholars of religion in the world today,” says Professor Thomas A. (Tal) Howard (history), who has employed Berger’s works in a number of classes. “He’s a sociologist by training but very interdisciplinary, and especially insightful in thinking about the relationship between religion and modernity.” Berger was a mentor to 1977 Gordon graduate James Davison Hunter, author of books on the sociology of religion including the highly influential Culture Wars: The Struggle To Define America (1992).
Students will ponder questions such as: What is the essence of peace? What events and attitudes lead to war? How can a society recovering from war hope to establish lasting peace? What is a Christian response to war? And how might we formulate a distinctively Christian understanding of reconciliation? They will gain a broad foundation and range of tools for understanding and dealing with conflict and for promoting peace, whether in their daily lives or through more specialized fieldwork.
A second conversation between Berger and Thuswaldner is scheduled for spring 2014.
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ELEVATE 2013: A Summer Well Spent
New Presidential Fellows: A Window on Leadership
This August marked the inaugural session of ELEVATE—a week-long “leadership lab” for outstanding high school students, hosted at Gordon College. The result of months of planning and dedicated work across campus, the program was designed to engage a selective cohort of promising teens in real-world, Christ-centered leadership training, focused on putting their skills to work for the common good. The program’s 31 global participants came to ELEVATE from the U.S.A., Brazil, South Korea and China. Over the course of the week, these students worked together in small groups to prepare and present community enrichment project proposals to ELEVATE staff. Five proposals were granted seed funding to make the proposal a reality, including an initiative to use theatre to teach communication skills to adults with disabilities in Tyler, Texas, and a poverty education and social inclusion effort in São Paulo, Brazil. Students also participated daily in seminars with top leaders in the government, business and nonprofit worlds, including Ewan Copeland (vice chairman of Citibank Global Asia), film producer Mike Flaherty (founder of Walden Media), and Cindy S. Moelis (director of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships). Rachel Ashley ’13, director of ELEVATE, was astonished by the caliber of ELEVATE’s first cohort. “The ELEVATE 2013 students blew me out of the water. They were high energy and up for anything that we threw at them.”
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Photo Chan Mi Kim ’16
Modeled after the highly selective White House Fellowship, the Gordon Presidential Fellows program offers exceptionally talented students the opportunity to develop their leadership potential through unique exposure to Gordon College’s senior leadership, substantive work assignments, and horizon-broadening educational opportunities. The program aims to catalyze the leadership potential of a select group of students, equipping them to assume positions of major responsibility within 10 to 15 years of graduation. This year’s group, larger in year two than in the pilot year: left to right in the photo above, Dawn Cianci ’14 (Office of the Vice President for Student Life), David Hicks ’14 (Office of the President), John Buckley ’15 (Office of the Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communications), Owen Williams ’14 (Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration), Kristen Gandek ’15 (Office of the Executive Vice President), Sam Stockwell ’14 (Office of the President), Lauren Oliver ’14 (Office of the Senior Vice President for External Relations) and Jorge Rodriguez ’14 (Office of the Provost).
Addressing the “Big Questions” Dr. Owen Gingerich, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and History of Science at Harvard University, visited Gordon in October to deliver the 2013 Herrmann Lectures on Faith and Science. The lectures are supported by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, and are named in honor of Dr. Robert Herrmann, who throughout his distinguished teaching career at Gordon addressed “Big Questions” around the theme of science and religion.
Gingerich’s lectures considered the work of three giants of science—Nicolaus Copernicus, Charles Darwin, and Fred Hoyle—and concluded that science “is far more tangled with a humanistic or theological vision than we might expect.” Paul Wason of the Templeton Foundation noted that Gingerich “neither simplifies nor weighs you down with all the facts at his command, but uses these facts to answer questions you might really have asked.”
ON THE GRAPEVINE
Craig Weatherup of PepsiCo Speaks at Business Leaders Breakfast
IN THEIR WORDS
“The liberal arts are so crucial, and it’s a dying reality in modern education. I think it’s one of the important things I got at Gordon: the idea that I’m not being educated to get a first job, or some narrow or technical position. I’m being broadly educated as a person.” —Christian Smith ’83, Ph.D.
Honorary Alumni Inducted at Homecoming Awards
Photo Dan Nysted ’06
“Servant leadership has allowed me to find personal fulfillment in everything I do, and the ability to treat every person with the human dignity they deserve.” —Craig Weatherup, retired Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
At Gordon’s latest Business Leaders Breakfast in late September, President D. Michael Lindsay hosted Craig Weatherup, founding chairman and CEO of the Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG), in a candid conversation about his journey to the top of one of America’s most well-known companies. To a crowd of several hundred invited guests, the seasoned businessman described his first job for PepsiCo and the networking connections he developed while working in New York City. “When the marketing director asked me what I wanted to do with my career, as any future business person says, I wanted a future in marketing,” he recalled. His response led to a new career abroad. Weatherup and his family boarded a plane for Tokyo, where at age 28 he began his work as PepsiCo’s marketing director for the Far East. Despite the rigorous travel schedule throughout his corporate career—he often went around the world in a week—Weatherup shared how he remained devoted to balancing his work with commitments to his family and faith. When asked about his most spectacular failure, Weatherup had a ready response: “That’s easy . . . It was Crystal Pepsi.” A $20 million venture released in the early ’90s during the Super Bowl, it was Pepsi’s clear cola beverage—and it struggled immediately. “We were able to get a lot of people to try Crystal Pepsi,” Weatherup joked with the executives in attendance, “but after that no one ever wanted to try it again.” He also shared his greatest achievements, saying that he considers the most influential moments in his career to be those in which he was able to mentor someone else. “There is nothing better than getting that call or email, sometimes even years later, where someone thanks me for how I handled something or weathered a storm on a public platform and they admired the way we approached it. Those are the best moments, and the ones I’m most happy to have had as a CEO.”
Photo Dan Nysted ’06
On the first evening of this year’s Homecoming events, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends gathered for the annual Homecoming Awards Celebration, which this year included a new program bestowing Honorary Alumnus/Alumna status upon a select group of distinguished members of the Gordon community who did not graduate from the College. President Lindsay (center) and the trustees granted alumni status to this inaugural “Class of ’13 HON”: left to right above, Richard MacDonald, a devoted Gordon College parent and benefactor with a special passion for Gordon athletics; Alice Lam Kong, who has shown immense hospitality to the College’s ministry and internship outreaches in Asia; Joani Schultz, a valued supporter of Gordon’s mission who has worked with the College to connect church leaders with preeminent Christian minds; and Director of Facilities and Grounds Mark Stowell, whose middle name might as well be “Gordon,” given his deep multifaceted 34-year legacy at the College.
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New Faculty Books Every year, in addition to their teaching, mentoring and institutional responsibilities, Gordon faculty make substantial contributions to their scholarly fields in the form of articles, conference presentations, and books for both popular and academic audiences. Here is the latest crop of books. Stephen Alter (history) contributed the chapter “Darwin and Language” to the definitive work on Darwin, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought. His chapter is one of more than 60 essays written by an international group representing the leading scholars of Charles Darwin. Alter is also the author of Darwinism and the Linguistic Image: Language, Race, and Natural Theology in the Nineteenth Century (Johns Hopkins, 1999). Mark Cannister (Christian ministries) published Teenagers Matter: Making Student Ministry a Priority in the Church (Baker, 2013), which brings together the latest ideas and research on adolescence to champion student ministry as integral to the life of the church. He explores how connecting teenagers with other generations enriches an entire congregation, and he casts a prophetic vision for what the church can become when it truly values its young people. Roger J. Green (biblical studies) co-edited Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth (Peter Lang, 2013). Green, a leading scholar of the Salvation Army, showcases Booth’s writings in relation to the Methodist theology and transatlantic revivalism that inspired and guided him.
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Bruce Herman (art) co-authored, with G. Walter Hansen, Through Your Eyes: Dialogues on the Paintings of Bruce Herman (Eerdmans, 2013). In a series of brief meditations and essays in accessible language, accompanied by full-color reproductions of Herman’s artworks, the authors explore major themes relevant to Herman’s pilgrimage in the often-confusing current art culture. Thomas (Tal) Howard (history) edited Imago Dei: Human Dignity in Ecumenical Perspective (Catholic University Press, 2013). What does “human dignity” mean? What challenges does human dignity confront in modern culture? How do contemporary understandings of human dignity relate to the ancient Christian doctrine of imago Dei, the view that human beings are created in “the image and likeness of God”? This book, edited and with an introduction by Howard, pursues these and related questions. Steven A. Hunt (biblical studies) co-edited Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel: Narrative Approaches to Seventy Figures in John (Mohr Siebeck, 2013), and wrote or co-authored eight of its chapters. The book offers 62 essays related to characters and characterization in the Gospel of John, building on several different narrative approaches.
Two Distinguished Faculty Members Honored
Professor Valerie Gin (recreation and leisure studies) and Associate Professor Brian Glenney (philosophy) received this year’s Senior and Junior Distinguished Faculty Awards. As chair of the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department, Gin pushes the boundaries of sport, recreation, leisure and stewardship, and is a creative and challenging teacher. She wrote the sport ethics curriculum for the International Sport Coalition, co-edits the Journal of The Christian Society of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies, served as a Research Fellow at Northeastern University’s Sport in Society, and contributes to the website www.wired4sport.com, which she describes as “a community of people who love and respect sport so much we can’t help but tell our stories, play fairly and honor the spirit of competition.” Gin and Jo Kadlecek, Gordon’s senior writer and journalist-in-residence, recently co-authored the novel When Girls Became Lions, which explores the challenges of being an athlete before Title IX. Of Glenney, Provost Janel Curry said, “My conversations with Brian this year have ranged from perception of place, to the sovereignty of God and cultural landscapes, to randomness in nature, to graffiti art, and finally, to the construction of shelves in my house—from the abstract to the concrete and everything in between. Often I forget what department he actually belongs to because his work is so creatively cross-cutting.”
ON THE GRAPEVINE
New and Improved: Updates to the Gordon College Campus in 2013 Since the beginning of summer, an estimated 238 improvements have been made to the Gordon campus. New Campus Signs
New coordinated signs guide visitors to campus. Drivers see the first sign as they leave Route 128 at exit 17; other signs guide them to the main entrance, and then around campus to the visitor lot at the Ken Olsen Science Center. A new sign displaying the College’s mission statement is one of the first signs visitors see. Stonework and a new granite sign at the main entrance evoke a distinct New England collegiate feel, and these updates help the main entrance—and Gordon College—stand out in a way that grabs people’s attention, but is tastefully presented. Lane Student Center
Lane Student Center, one of the first buildings visible beyond the entrance, now sports Gordon-blue banners and awnings.
Significant improvements to residence halls this past summer included renovation of nearly all the common spaces, including new flooring and area rugs in the Gordon tartan. Many patios now have benches and planters. Bromley received several new bathrooms. Sprinklers have been installed in several halls, along with other upgrades to residential spaces, such as improved accessibility options.
Students, faculty and staff are enjoying Bistro 255 (in Jenks), the newest of four student-dining options across campus that also include the Lane Dining Commons, Gillies Cafe in lower Lane, and Chester’s Place—a cafe built to replicate an traditional 18th-century English tavern.
Phillips Music Center Landscaping
New landscaping behind Phillips Music Center highlights the beauty of the building’s architecture, particularly the soaring window of the recital hall.
Framed photography by director of residence life Michael Curtis has been hung in each residence hall. The imagery ranges from campus shots to popular offcampus destinations. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my photography with the Gordon community,” said Curtis.
Bistro 255’s grab-and-go menu includes upscale salads, wraps and sandwiches. Its Starbucks-quality barista station is equipped with fair-trade coffee, a high-pressure steam purge for frothy cappuccinos and lattes, hot chocolate and herbal teas. Muffins, scones, croissants and other confections are available all day. The Bistro’s name comes from Gordon’s street address on Grapevine Road.
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WHY LIBERAL ARTS? Some surprising answers, from five Gordon College colleagues.
College in Four Dimensions Introduction by Stan Gaede
Why liberal arts, you ask? I’ll be bold and suggest that a good liberal arts education includes four different dimensions, which we tend to encounter chronologically as we travel through life. The first is what we might call “education as necessary.” If you don’t get a good education, you certainly won’t make anything of yourself. Don’t disgrace the family. Behave yourself. Do what you’re told. This isn’t particularly inspiring, but it is effective. I suspect many of us start out here. I certainly did. The second dimension is a refinement of the first: “education as helpful.” Education provides knowledge that will lead to a better life, as well as skills that make us more adept at living with others and accomplishing a host of other objectives.
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I discovered the third dimension of education in my junior year of high school, when I read Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, and became a reader for the first time in my life—not because I had to, but because it was utterly fascinating. I quickly discovered that the same acute pleasure and wonder was possible in history, and physics, and music. I call this “education as passion.” And then there is “education as transformation.” This assumes that one can be improved through education: made more whole, more fully human, more like what the Creator intended. These last two dimensions—the passionate and the transformative—get at what’s especially valuable about the liberal arts: higher-level skills like thinking critically and communicating effectively; the pure joy of learning and the delight of opening up a new universe.
WHY LIBERAL ARTS?
Transformative education asks: what is it that you want someone to become? At Gordon we’re all about enabling people not only to gain helpful skills, and not only to enjoy fully the world that they’ve been given, but also to flourish. To become better than they had ever imagined they could be. That’s why the liberal arts are at the heart of American education. We are sometimes called a Christian liberal arts college, though that isn’t my favorite way of putting it. We are, rather, a liberal arts college with the particular frame of a Christian world and life view. The framework enables us to explain not only why one should acquire skills and knowledge, but to what end. Learning is enjoyable because that’s how we were created. Becoming a certain kind of person is good, because it improves one’s own life and the lives of others. Fully exercising one’s gifts is delightful because it delights the Giver.
Our faculty are here not only because they find this framework palatable, but deeply, deeply rewarding. It is something we share with our students—and one another—not out of obligation, but gratitude. What are we doing here at Gordon? It’s precisely that useful, helpful, passionate, and life-changing experience that I think ought to characterize a liberal arts education. Read on for four of my colleagues’ thoughts about this wonderful enterprise.
Stan D. Gaede, Ph.D., is a sociologist, author, scholar-in-residence at Gordon, current president of the Christian College Consortium, and past president of Westmont College. email@example.com
FALL 2013 | STILLPOINT 13
Arts, Liberated By Rini Cobbey ’96
My best friend in my first year of college was an art major who went on to excel in medical school. One of my best friends at my job today is a biology professor who writes beautiful poetry. Some of the best students I’ve taught and mentored through the Communication Arts major at Gordon recall as fondly (and effectively) their sociology and philosophy courses as they do our film and public relations curriculum. These are creative, intelligent, curious, professionally successful, culturally influential, and liberalarts-educated people. Creativity is collaboration and connection. It’s always some kind of newness in tension with some measure of familiarity: reshaping existing materials, affecting emotion and understanding through perspective. A liberal arts education
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nurtures lifelong creativity because it emphasizes learning and interacting across categories, building bridges that elevate participants above the limitations of too close or tight a view of the world. Ask successful, professional—most importantly, creative— filmmakers what to do to be like them, and they will say “read, read, read” as often as they say “write, shoot, edit.” A liberal arts education, in its dual emphases on classical knowledge and skills and on interdisciplinary learning, enables artists to make better art because they have an understanding of the art that has come before, the anatomy that is below the skin of the subject, and the culture in which their creative work participates. That culture is economics, chemistry, mythology, language . . .
No one in the “real world” after college is just a chemist or economist or filmmaker or journalist or teacher. We are these professions in intertwining, relational, mutually influential ways.
A tactile, visual artist will sculpt or draw the human form with more truth and insight if he is familiar with how muscle, bone, and sinew that we don’t see directly provide shape and movement for what we do see, and for what the artist’s work helps us to see in creative ways. A CEO will provide more effective and redemptive leadership in the economy if she is familiar with the psychology of how humans make decisions as well as the history of how the society who make up her customers has been shaped by technology, biologic environment, and popular and religious stories. No one in the “real world” after college is just a chemist or economist or filmmaker or journalist or teacher. We are these professions in intertwining, relational, mutually influential ways. We are also storytelling and story-consuming creatures, and our work, no matter the discipline, thrives in these overlapping realms that connect and distinguish and challenge us. In Communication Arts at Gordon, our curriculum emphasizes visual storytelling. There’s plenty of need for in-depth technique, technology, and other discipline-specific study and practice, but ultimately the most stimulating, entertaining, persuasive, or informational narrative artifact—in fiction film, advertising, or documentary—depends on acuity in navigating cultural context as well as trade-specific tricks. Imagine a journalist who knows all about inverted pyramids and AP style and little to nothing about our political system or environmental science (or how to find and interpret and apply knowledge about these topics) writing a series about the EPA. Or a filmmaker who knows the latest digital camera and editing suite inside and out but nothing about astronomy or computer science (or how to find and collaborate with people who do know about these topics) making a film about gravity and space travel. Our liberal arts approach is designed not just to expose students to information across disciplines, but also to foster in them an appreciation and skills for continuing to learn throughout their lives, for asking questions, making connections, discovering information.
My academic field arguably has changed more dramatically than many other realms of knowledge, theory, and practice in the past 100 years—even just in my 12 years of teaching “media studies” at Gordon. Among other courses, I teach media criticism and visual storytelling as applied to a variety of media and genres. Colleagues across campus in every major adjust pedagogy in response to 2001’s Wikipedia, 2005’s YouTube, 2006’s Twitter, and 2007’s iPhone. But these truly revolutionary modes of communicating and being human in community transform my very subject, vocabulary, theory, and practice. But I, and so many of my colleagues, were educated in the liberal arts and so approach an ever-dynamic world and our individual content specialties with knowledge of what remains the same and fundamental even as we creatively and critically engage the classics alongside what is new. There is nothing new under the sun, of the making of books there is no end, and yet somehow also there is creativity and entropy. We are prepared to ask, “How does this fit in the flow of ways that humans understand who and why we are?” and “What are the costs and benefits of these choices?” and “What is beautiful and true in this story?” These questions, and the complicated, productive conversations that ensue, thrive in the light of the liberal arts, the knowledge and enjoyment of context, and interdisciplinary and classic education.
Rini Cobbey, Ph.D., is an associate professor of communication arts, and department chair. She reports that prospective students and their parents often ask her about the value of a liberal arts education. firstname.lastname@example.org
FALL 2013 | STILLPOINT 15
The Promise of Religious Liberal Arts Colleges By Thomas Albert Howard
Doomsayers are proclaiming that the writing is on the wall for liberal arts education and higher education in general. It is portrayed as lurching toward a cliff, like many other sectors of the economy in recent decades. Mention of “the University of Phoenix” or “MOOCs” or “the Minerva Project” strikes fear in the hearts of the tweedy set, just as handloom weavers once trembled at the sight of textile mills.
This offers religious college and universities a propitious opportunity. Many have been quietly keeping aloof from the very things that have soured so many on the state of higher education. The patchwork of faith-based schools in this country is a vital legacy of the American experiment in religious liberty. In the 19th century, when many European nations were centralizing
Education about things that matter, Aristotle tells us in his Ethics, is more about emulating a person than about mastering a precept. Developing lasting mentors and true friends over the course of four years is barely a blip in college rankings. But it may be the factor that matters most.
education as a function of the modern state, the United States became a virtual hatchery of private, small, church-related liberal arts colleges. Today those range from large institutions such as Notre Dame and Baylor to smaller ones like Gordon College. These schools have defied the odds and weathered many crises and continue to compete in the predatory ecosystem of higher education. It is time for them to look within and boldly and creatively articulate what sets them apart. It begins with people, and not virtual ones. Personal mentoring and leisurely interaction between faculty and students have long been the heart of faith-based education. The soulless PowerPoint-driven lecture cannot substitute, and neither can any amount of MOOCs. Education about things that matter, Aristotle tells us in his Ethics, is more about emulating a person than about mastering a precept. Developing lasting mentors and true friends over the course of four years is barely a blip in college rankings. But it may be the factor that matters most. Gordon helps young people discern a vocation, not just a career. The vision is this: 18- and 19-year olds should think of the arc of their lives not primarily in terms of credentials, prestige, or power, but in terms of a calling to a higher good—an orientation
of the whole person away from vices such as sloth, pride, and avarice and toward virtues such as justice, courage, prudence, and charitable service to others. It is not enough to lead an interesting, distinguished or successful life; we should also lead a good one. Institutions of higher learning should double down on the liberal arts ideal, on what Plato and Platonists ever since have regarded as the exhilarating eros of truth-seeking—something lost on rightist utilitarian approaches to learning and sneered at by guardians of leftist orthodoxy on elite campuses. Great books courses, common core programs, and capstone seminars flourish at Gordon and at many religious colleges. Young people still converse with Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Maimonides, Erasmus, Locke, Adam Smith, Tocqueville, Jane Austen and many more. And such figures are not treated simply as benighted foils to our enlightened present nor as fodder for sophisticated deconstruction, but rather in a manner, to quote Donald Kagan, “to keep alive the possibility that the past may contain wisdom useful to the present.”
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It is not enough to lead an interesting, distinguished or successful life; we should also lead a good one.
In the early Middle Ages, monasteries preserved the highest in the classical world for posterity. St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians provided a clear theological rationale for this: “whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Schools like Gordon earnestly desire to carry forward this ancient dialogue between Athens and Jerusalem, between intellect and piety. To be sure, many liberal arts colleges that are not explicitly religious share some of these values. And religious school themselves are far from perfect: their rhetoric can exceed their reality, their budgets show much red. They often fail to fully practice what they preach, and some persist in fighting the confessional polemics of a bygone era. But there are valuable qualities that are distinct to Gordon and other religious liberal arts colleges. They recognize that a life given to Mammon alone is hollow. They acknowledge the claims of community and tradition, and cherish the eros of learning. Their faculty tend to be more politically diverse than those at elite colleges. They are repositories of moral seriousness in a culture of ironic incredulity. Most importantly, Gordon and
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colleges like it recognize that the dignity of our humanity, particularly in the realm of learning, longs for a transcendent horizon, a supreme wisdom and highest good—what Dante called “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.” This essay is adapted from an earlier one that appeared in Inside Higher Ed (Sept. 19, 2013).
Thomas Albert Howard, Ph.D., is a professor of history and directs the Center for Faith and Inquiry at Gordon College. He is the author of two-award-winning books, God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide (Oxford, 2011) and Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University (Oxford, 2006), and the editor of The Future of Christian Learning and Imago Dei: Human Dignity in Ecumenical Perspective. email@example.com
WHY LIBERAL ARTS?
Rich Soil for New and Noble Ventures By Carter Crockett
Entrepreneurship, simply put, is the pursuit of an opportunity—despite few resources and many risks. It used to be deemed an activity for a select few, but now it has “gone mainstream.” Today, entrepreneurship is trumpeted as an ideal that unifies many of the things that organizations value highly: grassroots passion, creativity, uncommon vision, courage and resourcefulness. Today, it seems everyone wants to be more entrepreneurial: businesses, schools, missionaries, hospitals, government agencies—and yes, Christian liberal arts colleges like Gordon.
Gordon is the first of the leading Christian liberal arts schools to create a Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. As a former Westmont College faculty member, I never thought I’d see this day come. As an entrepreneur myself, both in the high-tech sector and in the social enterprise sector, I’m thrilled to be a part of this bold new step at Gordon. I hope to see future STILLPOINT editions celebrating organizations launched by students inspired and equipped by this new Center.
The rich soil of the liberal arts context is ideal for grounding one’s faith and developing deep convictions. The Center seeks to animate those convictions.
At MIT, entrepreneurship often focuses on commercial applications: for instance, nanoparticle vaccines. Entrepreneurs at a vocational school may establish an auto repair shop. At Gordon, entrepreneurship should be different. The liberal arts tradition develops broadly-educated people, not narrowlydefined skills. Gordon nurtures deep conviction, and the Center seeks to animate those convictions. Gordon students dig deep. The liberal arts experience introduces them to many disciplines. This helps them avoid a common pitfall: oversimplifying complex issues by viewing them through a single lens. The College encourages students to think creatively about how to address the challenges of a broken world. The rich soil of the liberal arts context is ideal for grounding one’s faith and developing deep convictions. Our students are firmly planted and richly nurtured in ways no longer common in higher education. Gordon students reach out. Deep convictions should not remain underground. Rich soil should lead to growth; it should bear fruit. Gordon engages students in real-world challenges through coursework, leadership initiatives, service projects, Chapel, international missions, and experiential learning opportunities. People who are firmly planted and deeply rooted
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can reach further to care for others. A tree with deep roots can support more and bigger branches. Nurtured in this context, it is not surprising that Gordon students want to be agents of transformation, redemption and change. Students should start something. Creative endeavor complements and extends the core of the liberal arts in important and relevant ways. Entrepreneurship offers one path for living out deep convictions; it is inherently practical, personal and cross-disciplinary. Clearly, not every liberal arts student is an entrepreneur, yet more can be done to encourage students to put ideas to flight and create their own opportunities. This is one reason the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership is creating a new cross-department minor and will host a campus-wide Social Venture Challenge this April. Entrepreneurship is alive and well at Gordon, even if it hasn’t been celebrated as such to date. The La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership is a venture Rich Obenschain (director of Outdoor Education) began bootstrapping over 35 years ago. David Lee (physics) used his sabbatical last year to serve as president and chief technology officer for a bulk metallic glass start-up in California. Museum studies specialist David Goss ’74 (history faculty) partnered with Kristina
Entrepreneurship offers one path for living out deep convictions; it is inherently practical, personal, cross-disciplinary and relevant.
Wacome-Stevick ’98 to launch Gordon’s historical theater troupe “History Alive!” which regularly performs at the Old Town Hall on a vibrant pedestrian mall in downtown Salem, Massachusetts. Anita Coco (Center for Technology Services) invented and sells Fire Drops throat lozenges—and keeps a file of other ideas near her desk. Return Design—which created Fire Drops’ retail packaging—is the in-house design agency at Gordon started by Tim Ferguson Sauder (Creative Director) that regularly assists non-profits and worthy causes. Warren Shumate (Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach) has launched Origin Lacrosse, a website assisting young lacrosse athletes with skills training (and soon gear) in the off-season. A. J. Gordon Scholars have generated a whole shelf-full of project plans over the years; one led to the 2011 creation of the student-run Scot Radio station. Notable entrepreneurs among recent graduates include Dan Castelline ’11, who founded Concord Button Downs, a boutique fashion startup specializing in fine shirts for men. Sam Winslow ’13 started a shoe company in Gloucester that aims to fund clean water sources in Africa. The list goes on: Gordon IN Lynn, Gordon IN Orvieto, and a host of other once-tentative, once-new initiatives that have become distinctive components of what we love about Gordon College today.
For any liberal arts community that seeks to elevate its contribution to the world, entrepreneurship has an important role to play. That Gordon is already a fairly innovative place is a tribute to Gordon’s long-standing ethos of open-mindedness, and its commitment to empowering students, faculty and staff to make things happen. Gordon’s liberal arts community provides the optimal context for students seeking to dig deep, reach out, and start up.
Carter Crockett, Ph.D., has taught entrepreneurs on three continents. A practitioner who prefers to lead by example, he has had a varied career ranging from high-tech marketing in Seattle to socially-motivated management consulting in Rwanda. He is an alumnus of Westmont College, where he later taught economics and business. Dr. Crockett moved with his family from Rwanda to Wenham this summer to become the founding director of Gordon College’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL). firstname.lastname@example.org
FALL 2013 | STILLPOINT 21
Leadership and the Liberal Arts By D. Michael Lindsay
Recently we rolled out a new institutional tagline: Lives Worth Leading. Of the many possibilities that came up in brainstorming sessions, this one resonated most deeply with many of us. As taglines often do, it has several meanings. It refers to our faculty, who provide strong and caring leadership for the students entrusted to them. It points to those same students as they become alumni and go into the world and do remarkable things. It also highlights something distinctive about Gordon itself: We are fertile ground for growing leaders and innovators.
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It’s this third meaning that I would like to address here. As a social scientist I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to develop leaders. In fact, I spent the past 10 years of my sociological research studying the lives of 550 senior leaders—top CEOs, people in senior positions in government—the Who’s Who of our society. The book I am currently working on, View from the Top, extrapolates from that research to explore the actual territory—the “matrix,” if you will—within which top leaders are formed and launched.
WHY LIBERAL ARTS?
Students at liberal arts colleges develop the ability to think widely about their work, drawing connections from seemingly disparate ideas.
I was intrigued to discover that a majority of those 550 top leaders majored in the liberal arts as undergraduates. And no wonder. Students at liberal arts colleges develop the ability to draw connections among seemingly disparate ideas. They develop a liberal-arts approach to life that serves them well after they graduate. They are conversant with subjects far beyond their particular line of work. They have keen interest in current affairs and in people from other walks of life, and they are able to identify areas of agreement across divides. They bring all that to bear as challenges arise and opportunities emerge. They are equipped to forge creative solutions. There is, in other words, a strong link between senior leadership potential and a broad liberal arts education. I believe leadership and the liberal arts fit together naturally in the matrix of Gordon College. Intentional focus on how best to equip and encourage young people to lead is a logical extension of the great work the College has been doing for nearly 125 years. We are “rich soil for noble ventures,” as Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Director Carter Crockett has put it. In researching, I saw that young leaders not only need to be in rich soil; they also need a push to begin their ascent. The highly selective White House Fellowship places emerging leaders in their 20s and 30s (73 percent of whom, by the way,
earned a liberal arts degree) in the office of a U.S. Cabinet officer. The Fellows observe the demands of senior leadership, and have the opportunity to practice exercising power. They build connections with leaders in their field, and develop ties to similarly stationed emerging leaders in other arenas. Thirtytwo percent of White House Fellows later become the CEO of a Fortune 1000 firm or hold an equivalent leadership position in another field. Clearly, there is something about that one year that sharpens the angle of their professional trajectories, and there is something about a liberal arts education that builds out the geometry around that angle. At Gordon, we witness the catalytic effect of close personal mentoring by accomplished faculty, and of perspectivebroadening study-abroad programs, and of network-building professional internships. These all give our graduates an edge in today’s highly competitive job market. The Gordon Presidential Fellows program, modeled on the White House Fellows program, adds a leadership-focused option to an already excellent, time-tested array of honors and service opportunities at Gordon. And there is more to the story still—an even deeper resonance of our new tagline. Many students at other institutions are tempted to seek powerful positions and impressive credentials
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For us, leadership is fundamentally about excellence and service. We prepare leaders so those individuals can lead with creativity and wisdom.
to bolster their own personal profiles. We teach a different path: we believe a Gordon education affords talented students a chance to hone their God-given leadership aptitudes in order to serve. For us, leadership is fundamentally about excellence and service. We prepare leaders so that those individuals can lead with creativity and wisdom.
1000 company. But some of our students may. Others will plant a new church or launch a new enterprise. And many more may be surprised to find themselves in leadership roles in their vocations, their churches, their families, their communities— roles that their liberal arts training is preparing them for every day at Gordon.
Christians are often uncomfortable with being part of powerful institutions. Too often evangelical Christians have adopted defensive or isolationist stances—what H. Richard Niebuhr, in Christ and Culture, termed the “Christ-against-culture” position. Too many uncritically adopt a triumphalist “culture wars” mindset, a term popularized by noted sociologist (and 1977 Gordon graduate) James Davison Hunter, whose scholarly work chronicles the fraught relationship between Christians and the cultures that surround them. In his landmark book, To Change the World, Hunter argues that culture rarely changes from the bottom up; cultural elites and powerful institutions enact enduring social change. Hunter proposes “faithful presence’’ in the world’s power structures as the realistic alternative to both isolationism and triumphalism.
This is my vision for Gordon College: that we will be fertile ground for young people who have an expansive view of their world, and its problems and possibilities—young people who possess that paradoxical combination of humility and confidence that ought to be the mark of every Christian.
This does not mean, of course, that every student who matriculates at Gordon should someday be the CEO of a Fortune
At Gordon, we honor Kuyper’s sentiment. We do not compartmentalize faith or service, and we encourage students
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Our new tagline is a trust mark, a warrant, and a promise. It expresses the present reality and also a healthy measure of aspiration. I love these words of theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper, in his Sphere Sovereignty: Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: “Mine!”
WHY LIBERAL ARTS?
Our new tagline is a trust mark, a warrant, and a promise. It expresses the present reality and also a healthy measure of aspiration.
to explore connections that cross boundaries and link diverse disciplines. We strive to imbue the lives of our graduates with meaning, purpose, and concern for the common good. On the journey ahead, may each and every one of them discover lives worth leading.
NEW BOOK President Lindsay’s second book, View from the Top: An Inside Look at How People in Power See and Shape Their World, will be published in June 2014 by John Wiley & Sons Inc. It is based on ten years of research that included in-depth interviews with 550 high-profile leaders in the United States, including heads of 20 percent of the Fortune 100, former Presidents Jimmy Carter
D. Michael Lindsay, Ph.D., is the president of Gordon College and professor of sociology. His first book, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in the category
and George H. W. Bush, and dozens of Cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, and heads of federal bureaus and agencies, representing nine White House administrations from Johnson to Obama. The research also included interviews with over 100 leaders of the world’s largest nonprofit organizations.
of nonfiction, and was also listed in Publisher’s
President Lindsay comments: “After spending thousands of
Weekly’s “Best Books of 2007.”
hours analyzing the lives and institutions of these leaders,
As a professor of sociology at Rice University, he received the Nicolas Salgo Distinguished Teacher Award. In spring 2014 Dr. Lindsay will teach his first course at Gordon College, Leading for the Common Good. email@example.com
I determined that many of our basic assumptions about power and influence are simply not true. The paradox of power in our culture is that although power may rest in institutions, it is individual leaders who leverage it to effect change. Talented leaders think institutionally, but act personally. That is the promise and the peril—the glimmer and the glare— of influence at the top.”
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You Never Go Out the Way You Came In What started in 2003 as a cluster of connections with community agencies in the vibrantly multicultural City of Lynn has grown into a multifaceted array of programs that involve over 500 students each year.
During her first-year orientation Kyleen Burke ’12 walked through Lynn, Massachusetts with Gordon IN Lynn director Val Buchanan to learn about service opportunities in the city. Kyleen shared her burgeoning interest in law and Buchanan encouraged her to come learn about the criminal justice system in Lynn. Six years later, Kyleen works at the Lynn juvenile justice organization Straight Ahead Ministries and has been accepted to several law schools to study public interest law. “I was a Gordon student ‘in Lynn,’ but Val modeled for me that I didn’t have to be a visitor always,” says Kyleen. “I could become part of the community. I don’t make sense here, but I can bring something, and I can learn a lot. A lot.”
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Vision and Growth
“Lynn, Lynn, city of sin, you never go out the way you came in”—the well-known jingle mocks Lynn’s historic reputation as a high-crime area. But for Kyleen and others, the rhyme has a different meaning. Gordon IN Lynn has enabled them to explore their vocations in an urban context and discover new visions for their lives, going out profoundly differently than how they came in. Gordon’s Office of Community Engagement (OCE) brings 500 Gordon students each year into relationships of service and learning across the North Shore, in Boston, and especially in Lynn, where 10 years ago Buchanan moved into the neighborhood and launched a Gordon program initially called the Lynn
Initiative. What started as a cluster of connections with community agencies has grown into a multi-faceted set of programs, including academically-based service learning through The Great Conversation and other Gordon courses, a tutoring and mentoring program called College Bound, more than a dozen volunteer Outreach Teams, and a growing focus on bringing to campus social justice conversations on topics like race and immigration. Over 10 years, the OCE has facilitated over 85,000 hours of service to the community. Trajectories
Experiences in Lynn have deeply influenced many Gordon students’ academic and career choices. As a student, Stephanie Acker Housman ’07 went
Story Stephanie Marienau Turpin Photos Danny Ebersole ‘11
door-to-door in a Lynn neighborhood to invite youngsters into the College Bound program, inspiring her love of neighborhood development, which she now does full-time in Cambridge. Jon Nystedt ’09 was a College Bound tutor while at Gordon and now works for the Lynn Housing Authority—continuing relationships with the same kids he has helped with homework for the past seven years. Jen Rosenbaum ’08 volunteered with the International Rescue Committee in Lynn throughout college and as a senior conducted qualitative research into Somali-Bantu women’s experiences of pregnancy and birth. An intern now in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago, she cites her experience with Somali-Bantu women in Lynn as the one that most affected the type of physician she wants to be. As a student, Becky Jones ’09 (on facing page) volunteered at the New American Center, a consortium of organizations serving refugee and immigrant populations of Lynn. Now she works for the organization full time. Becky explains the intention of many students during their time in Lynn: “I wanted to learn how to think, which went hand-in-hand with how I wanted to be in the world.”
Instead, the OCE puts Gordon students in the position of learners within the Lynn community and allows Lynners to invite them into relationship. As a “Lynntern,” Landon Ranck ’12 visited the House of Hope church, which includes professionals, people experiencing homelessness, and some who just walk in off the street. He recalls telling himself one Sunday as the congregation gathered for the Eucharist, “Look around—this is pretty similar to what communion with Jesus would look like.” Looking Ahead
Gordon students participate in the work of more than 30 community partners in the City of Lynn, Boston, and across the North Shore. The OCE’s
This type of redeemed community is at the center of the OCE’s vision. Its tenth anniversary feels less like a celebration of what has been accomplished so far and more like a time to look ahead: to visions students are developing for their lives, to the future of Lynn that its local leaders are building, and to what lies ahead for the OCE in the next 10 years of service and learning.
community partners include:
To view more photos of students’ 10 years of relationships of serving and learning through the Office of Community Engagement, visit www.gordon.edu/oce/anniversary
kids come to campus every other
Apple Street Farm A weekly Outreach Team assists with planting and harvest at this Essex farm, while learning about food justice and sustainable and organic farming.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay This year, Gordon launched a mentoring program through which 17 Gloucester Saturday for one-on-one mentoring with Gordon students.
Harrington Elementary School Gordon students partner with this Lynn elementary school by leading discussions with students over lunch, serving as student teachers, and
Learning and Mutuality
As part of the academic community, the OCE seeks to inculcate a posture of learning. Service helps students take beyond the classroom what they are learning in their courses, to question it in the light of new experiences, and to live out their theology. The OCE fosters mutual relationships that subvert the traditional paradigm of those who serve and those who receive. Stephanie Housman recalls the clear message that students should not regard Lynn as a “project city that we’re trying to save.”
hosting the 5th grade class on campus for a “college access day.”
Operation Bootstrap Operation Bootstrap provides adult education for Lynn residents who hail Stephanie Marienau Turpin is the associate director of the Gordon College Office of Community Engagement. firstname.lastname@example.org
from 38 different countries. Gordon students teach and support English and GED courses twice per week.
Bridgewell Adults with mental and physical disabilities share conversation with students during weekly visits. Pictured: Kyleen Burke ’12 in Lynn
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Recreation and Leisure—and Deep Faith Story Ann Smith Photo Danny Ebersole ‘11
and that work too is enriched by their understanding of leisure. “They know why they’re doing what they’re doing,” Dr. Hothem says. “Anyone can throw a ball on a field; anyone can establish a program. But you need to know why. How is it going to benefit the individuals? How is it going to benefit the community?”
“It takes courage to study leisure,” Peggy Hothem has always told her students. “People think you’re majoring in being lazy.” Not so. In the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies that she pioneered at Gordon in the late 1980s, students have explored the psychological, sociological and philosophical dimensions of leisure and a theological perspective on the role of labor, and of rest. Like education majors in the same academic division, they also gain the practical skill set needed for careers in their field. When Dr. Hothem retired in May, roughly 40 leisure studies majors—a good fourth of the majors who have studied with her over the years—returned to campus for a College retirement reception to celebrate her career. They gathered with her afterward for a standing-room-only party, and at her invitation many of them spoke about the role leisure plays in their personal or professional lives, or both— and about their understanding, developed here at Gordon, that God delights in our living life to its fullest. Relational to her core, Dr. Hothem is known for her work to help her students 28 STILLPOINT | FALL 2013
discern an appropriate vocation. Her colleague Rich Obenschain speaks of her “desire to see students grow in their whole person.” She also helped them integrate into everyday life the balance that she models: hard work and deliberate leisure, social engagement and time for reflection, and faithfulness to the Sabbath. She went the extra mile to help as students looked for work, too: she has a professional network and she’s not afraid to use it. Under her leadership, Recreation and Leisure Studies was one of the first Gordon departments to invite professionals to speak to classes about their fields, and how students could become incorporated into those fields. She estimates that two thirds of her graduates work in the field of recreation and leisure—programming recreational activities in YMCAs, community recreation programs, and agencies serving the elderly—or directing camping, youth work, corporate recreation, outdoor education, or therapeutic recreation for those with physical or cognitive special needs. Some are in sport leadership,
She began her career teaching physical education, at three other colleges and then at Gordon. Taking a course at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in the late ’70s, she encountered an article about leisure—not phys ed, leisure—that led her to read and study more on the theology of leisure. It radically shifted her vocational vision. Her orientation shifted from teaching and coaching athletes, to recreation for everyone. Her understanding of leisure broadened: it means community connections, it means active recreation, it means exploration, it means appreciation of local and global resources. And amid all that, it means contemplation, and rest. “Within our Christian culture, we put so much emphasis on what we’re doing that we sometimes neglect our ‘being,’” Dr. Hothem says. “We need to reflect, and listen to God.”
Ann Smith is the copy editor in the Office of College Communications. email@example.com
“Burning Bright” in Jenks 108 Story Bryan Parys ’04 Photo Danny Ebersole ’11
She ended up choosing it as the topic for her three-year review paper, and even came back and interviewed Dr. Sargent. “It was a pleasure to watch her build trust with colleagues from other departments,” he says, “and to see how eagerly she explored new ideas about pedagogy.” She went on to chair the Education Department’s middle school and secondary education programs, serve as moderator for the Division of Education, and take a leading role in countless committees—not to mention teaching hundreds of students, many of whom make a point of keeping in touch.
In Jenks 108, a rustle of papers and a cup of tea surround Dr. Donna Robinson. “I’m burning bright—I’ve never been more excited about education,” she says. Even though she’s talking specifically about entering retirement after 14 years at Gordon, it’s not hard to imagine this same scenario playing out in her first year teaching here—even down to the same office. While she’s moved a few times, it begins and culminates in Jenks 108. It would be tempting to call this “coming full circle.” In fact, Dr. Robinson has been drawing and connecting circles at Gordon her whole life. “I was born to Gordon,” she says. Her father was a student when Gordon was on the Fens in Boston. She graduated in 1970, and her children, uncles, nephews, aunts and cousins have all passed through these hallways. “It wasn’t intentional,” she says. “There was just a natural gravitation to this place.” Her road to teaching at Gordon was far from circular— more a series of humble and abrupt turns that Dr. Robinson rarely saw coming. She’d pray for open doors, and then simply walk through them. Sure, she cut her teeth for 15 years teaching at
North Shore Christian School (NSCS)— but it wasn’t a job she went looking for. She got her start by enrolling her children at the school. Much of the maintenance at NSCS was done through a volunteer program designed for parents, so she stepped up; her first task in a school was to clean the bathrooms. She continued to rise to whatever need arose—developing a customized, firstof-its-kind special education program, going for her master’s in reading, and then pursuing her advanced licensure with future Gordon colleague Susan Wood. When she joined the Gordon faculty in 1999, Dr. Robinson defined herself as a “connector”—which describes a learning style that she had researched during her time at NSCS. During her job interview, then-Provost Mark Sargent asked her how she planned to help bridge the gulf between professional teacher preparation and the intellectual inquiry indicative of a traditional liberal arts institution. This became a career goal for Donna. “No one,” Dr. Sargent says, “responded more enthusiastically to that challenge than Donna Robinson.”
Now, as she looks back, she says with confidence that the liberal arts do help prepare teachers, particularly by imparting an open-minded and collaborative mindset. And again, she points out circles. “Who taught these liberal arts professors about the liberal arts?” she asks. “Their teachers!” That’s the kind of feedback loop that keeps Dr. Robinson pushing forward—that if you teach well, you connect new ideas to old. It’s not a circle, but a recursive action of connecting to God, to people, and to ideas.
Bryan Parys works and teaches writing at Gordon College. He counts himself lucky to have had Donna Robinson as his supervisor for two years during his role as program coordinator for the Division of Education. firstname.lastname@example.org
FALL 2013 | STILLPOINT 29
The First Ten Years: The Jerusalem and Athens Forum “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What has the Academy to do with the Church?” These questions have resonated over Christian learning for centuries. Each year, students in the JAF program ponder them anew.
The Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF) honors program marks its tenth anniversary this year. Since its inception as part of a major grant from the Lilly Endowment in 2004, its mission has remained the same: “Through a greatbooks course in the history of Christian thought and literature, and a variety of other program components, JAF helps students reflect on the relationship between faith and intellect, deepen their own sense of vocation, and awaken their capacities for intellectual and moral leadership.” Great Books—and Beyond
But it is more than a great books program. “Since its earliest days, the program has intentionally sought to be more than a
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program that sequesters the best away from the rest,” says Thomas (Tal) Howard (history), the founding director. JAF holds an annual public debate (pictured above), requires participants to submit essays to The Tartan and poems to The Idiom, and each semester it holds public facultystudent discussions on topics of pressing or perennial importance (or both). The debate, in particular, has become an annual campus “event,” drawing in hundreds of students along with parents, faculty, and guests from the community. The open faculty-student discussions pack a punch as well. Past discussions run the gamut from the timely to the controversial to the imponderable, including topics such as the nature of economic growth, physician-assisted suicide, the nature of
evil, tradition and the Bible, secularism, bioengineering, public and private debt, and more. Time Travelers
“Two convictions lie at the heart of the program,” says Howard. “That for all its strengths, evangelicalism needs to 1) do a much better job of drawing from and participating in the breadth of the Christian intellectual tradition and, accordingly, 2) take the life of the mind more seriously—for God has created our minds, not just our hearts.” Toward these ends, a cohort of 14 students every year since 2004 has encountered in a small-group format the writings of Athanasius, Augustine, Benedict, Aquinas, John Milson, Pascal, Teresa
Photo Danny Ebersole ‘11
of Avila, Luther, Calvin, Dostoyevsky, Martin Luther King, C. S. Lewis, Flannery O’Connor, and others. Location, Location, and Location
The program also serves as a bridge between Gordon and the cultural opportunities afforded by Gordon’s location. Over the years, JAF participants have visited a Shaker village, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Peabody-Essex Museum, Harvard’s Fogg Museums, Hellenic College, Boston College, the Museum of Science, and more. What is more, alumni trips have taken students to farflung destinations including Orvieto, Rome, Florence, Wittenberg, Berlin, Washington, D.C., and San Antonio, Texas. Word of the program has spread far and wide. “Gordon College’s Jerusalem and Athens Forum is a model of Christian undergraduate excellence. The graduate fellows that we have accepted from this program have been invariably of a high caliber,” says Joe Creech, Program Director at the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program at Valparaiso University. The Jerusalem and Athens Forum been singled out by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Choosing the Right College. Along with Gordon’s Elijah Project, JAF is even the subject of a chapter in a forthcoming book by William Sullivan, a former senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Where They Go
JAF has helped launch students into some of the most prestigious and competitive graduate programs, at universities including Yale, Princeton, Notre Dame, Boston College, Boston University, Duke, the University of Edinburgh, Oxford, Rutgers, the University of Pennsylvania, and Brandeis. Program alumni have
interned or worked at the White House, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wall Street Journal, and the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities. “The Jerusalem and Athens Forum was one of the most meaningful and important experiences of my undergraduate career. I received rigorous academic training and participated in a meaningful community of students and professors,” says Elizabeth Baker, ’12, who participated in JAF during her sophomore year at Gordon. She is now pursuing a Ph.D. in history at the University of Notre Dame, where she is a Presidential Fellow and a member of the sixth cohort of the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program.
benchmark anniversary approaches,
JAF celebrates its tenth anniversary with two events. The first, a panel of JAF alumni, took place during Gordon’s 2013 Homecoming and Family Weekend in late September. After the discussion, panelist Amy Gentile ’08 emphasized that JAF “remains the most memorable educational experience of my life thus far. I tell people that all the time, and I’m so thankful for how that course shaped me as a student, as a thinker, and as a teacher.” She currently teaches math and writing for an innovative new online high school program in New Hampshire. The second event marking the anniversary will be a banquet celebration around the time of the tenth annual JAF debate in April 2014. Since 2004, the JAF program has accepted 140 participants. “Many species live for 10 years or less,” says Tal Howard, “but I’d like to think that the JAF program has just emerged from infancy to adolescence. The road ahead is now paved with more than good intentions; we can draw on the wisdom of what we’ve learned.”
JAF is part of the Center for Faith and Inquiry (CFI), which recently co-hosted the conference “Protestantism? Reflections in Advance of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.” To bone up on Reformation studies as that CFI recommends these “top 10” works on the Reformation. Mark A. Noll, Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction Louis Boyer, The Word, Church and Sacraments in Protestantism and Catholicism Steven Ozment, Protestantism: The Birth of a Revolution Alister McGrath, Introduction to Protestant Thought Timothy George, Reading Scripture with the Reformers Robert Jensen and Carl Braaten (editors), The Catholicity of the Reformation Heiko Oberman, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil Bradley S. Gregory, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society Euan Cameron, The European Reformation Mark Noll, Carolyn Nystrom, Is the Reformation Over? An Evangelical Assessment of Roman Catholicism www.gordon.edu/protestantism/ understanding
FALL 2013 | STILLPOINT 31
Jerusalem and Athens Forum Essay Contest As the 14 students in Gordon’s Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF) read “great books,” other great things follow. Contemplation. Response. Discussion. Writing. Vision.
Detail, Betrothed (from the series Woman) ©2006 Bruce Herman; oil and alkyd resin with 23kt gold leaf on wood, 65 x 48”; collection of Walter and Darlene Hansen
Each year STILLPOINT and the Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF) sponsor an essay contest open to all students in the program. This year’s theme, “What is beauty?”, was also explored in this year’s student Symposium. JAF writers drew on their own experiences as well as authors as varied as Aristotle, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, De Toqueville, Tolstoy, T. S. Eliot, and Josef Pieper. Matthew Reese ’14 wrote the winning entry, “For This We Have Been Made.” Jaime DiBernardo ’14 and Ian Isaac ’15 received honorable mention; excerpts from their essays appear on the facing page.
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For This We Have Been Made If you know me, you might have heard me say that I go to church for the Eucharist, and go dancing to worship. Few other things synthesize the individual’s glorious expression of heart, soul, mind, and strength with the relationships of community, as you dance from partner to partner, delighting God with the way your body moves in holy grace, the way your spirit soars, the way that the room disappears and you marvel at the movement of others indiscriminate of appearance, intelligence, age, or gender. To casually say that Christianity is beautiful demeans both the religion and the word beautiful. The narrative in the Bible reads like a love story, but we have lost clarity of the word beauty, and
consequently should not use it carelessly. Too easily we fall into patterns of joyless duty: duty that is a good thing, but a lesser one than beauty. God made us in His image, and His image is that of a dancer. We were made to dance through life. This past April, I found myself in a Contra dance with a woman in a wheelchair. As we approached one another, I frantically wondered how on earth I was supposed to swing a partner in a wheelchair. Deciding to just attempt the action as I normally would, we started to swing. It was one of the smoothest motions I have ever experienced, for her mobility surpassed that of most people on any dance floor I have known. Once my incredulity at her prowess subsided, I mused on the various forms dancing can take.
Story Matthew Reese ’15, Jaimie DiBernardo ’14 and Ian Isaac ’15
To dance means to worship, and vice versa. Dancing encompasses every facet of the human experience. We love and hate, weep and rejoice, struggle and flourish, all on the dance floor. Anyone can dance. Some possess greater technical ability than others, but anyone who lives can emit life. Yet we should not confine “life” to only include joy. So many of the Psalms express lamentations or imprecations. Life includes these things even as worship includes more than just singing on Sunday morning. Worship lacks wholeness if it does not include the many areas of life. The word shalom that Christians fling about so much connotes a wholesome peace. Surpassing a mere lack of conflict, shalom means a rightness that we hope for, but that should also be sought by the individual. Josef Pieper’s book, Leisure, the Basis of Culture, describes an inner peace he defines as “leisure,” a present state of the soul in which we do daily activities for the value of doing them. Worship ought to be danced in this manner. We worship in the slightest daily occurrence. I try to dance when I make coffee each morning just as I dance when I shout “Alleluia” during Easter. Christianity encompasses vast, wonderful theological truths about God and His love for humanity, but it primarily is a dance within the Trinity and between its person(s)hood and us. We are made to be dancers in worshipful, manifested beauty.
Beauty Transcends Logic excerpt
Beauty as Experience excerpt
It’s something I can’t quite understand in the velvet sky, the dish of blackberries and the silent wood. Neither fully spiritual nor fully physical, we’re born with a thin memory of being both. Beauty is mythical to mankind, and art is its sacrifice. I may paint beautifully, but I will never paint Beauty. Humankind will never stop the pursuit, though it has long known the task to be in vain.
This past summer I stood in St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine. I snapped photos of the murals, annoying several of the older female custodians. As they scolded me in Russian, I found an ideal corner where I could better see the iconostasis. I stood positioned beneath a large column . . . and then I looked up. Above was a gold mosaic of Christ Pantokrator, the Archangel Gabriel, and the disciples, their eyes bearing down upon me. All I could do was gaze in awe and bewilderment of the persons depicted, the skill of the craftsmen who painted them, and the vibrant interplay of colors.
Augustine once wondered how he could comprehend beauty at all. To what high, unchangeable standard could his changeable mind refer? As Plato supposed, imperfect, physical circles must denote a perfect theoretical circle. Likewise, humanity sees its imperfection and contrasts it to an ideal. Comparison is embedded in the very core of the mind and with it, a sense of proportion. To refer to beauty is to refer to harmonious proportion. The shimmer between the tangerine and sky. The mother and child. The double helix. The Golden Ratio. The aim of the artist is not to achieve this perfection in his own nature, but to participate in a more perfect essence. Man will always embrace the creative process, even simply in speaking and moving. Creative humans mirror a creative God. Read the full essay at www.gordon.edu/jafessay
Beauty can be intricate, expressive, attractive, sublime and bewildering. It can disrupt as well as comfort, it can make you feel infinitely insignificant as well as immeasurably alive. Beauty can be ravishing. It can also be mundane, orderly and predictable. We don’t have to visit Ukraine to experience beauty (although I’d highly recommend it). It’s not an esoteric “form” only discovered in historic cathedrals, but in day-to-day routine. It is evident on quiet streets, in empty rooms, and in time spent alone. Read the full essay at www.gordon.edu/jafessay
Matthew Reese is a Pike major
Jaimie DiBernardo is a visual arts and
Ian Isaac is a political science major
in political philosophy from
communication arts double major
from Wenham, Massachusetts. He will
from Pearl River, New York.
study in Kiev in fall 2014.
FALL 2013 | STILLPOINT 33
Between Concrete and Abstract Story John Dixon Mirisola ’11 Photo Tom Mull ’13
stiflingly rigid “concrete jungle”—never resonated. Vermont has more cows than people, and more wilderness than cities. The kind of skateboarding that grew out of this landscape was, instead, deeply nonviolent and ecologically conscious.
“We live amid surfaces, and the true art of life is to skate well on them.” It’s hard to keep from laughing when Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words fade into focus at the beginning of the From the Borders, a film about skateboarding. The connection between the 1884 quotation and the subject of this alumni film seems paper-thin, an absurd reinterpretation of a New England giant. But it doesn’t take long for that shallow reading to earn a deeper meaning. Shots of this brotherhood of skateboarders rattling down rural roads and overgrown mountain paths make it clear that these Vermont boys had more on their minds when they invited us to consider surfaces. Surfaces imply borders—those separating skateboarder and landscape, urban and rural. And borders imply relationship. Director Tom Mull ’13, a communication arts graduate, splices together scenes of pristine green hillsides, beat-up city ledges, lumbering black bears, rusty backwoods drainage ditches: Here are nature and society, and at the crux, a small machine of wood, metal and urethane.
34 STILLPOINT | FALL 2013
The joke of the Emerson quote becomes profound and uncanny, a truth hidden in plain sight. Indeed, Tom and his brothers Charley ’07, Dave, and Steve ’15—along with fellow riders Alex Fararra and Nate Benner— demonstrate a studied eye for the uncanny throughout the film. That’s why I catch myself laughing. It’s funny to watch young men on wheeled machines spinning and sliding over cracked New England stairways and rootsplit sidewalks precisely because that’s not how we do it. It’s easy to forget that the order we’ve imposed upon ourselves can still be subjected to our imagination—to that part of us that has remained wild. And it’s refreshing to spend some time observing six individuals who have carried an untamed spark across the border into our towns and cities. The Mull brothers grew up skateboarding together in rural Vermont. For these boys, the “skate and destroy” mantra popularized through the ’80s and ’90s by West Coast skateboarders—a reaction against what those riders saw as the
At Gordon, philosophy professor (and dedicated skateboarder) Brian Glenney encouraged the Mull brothers to think deeply about what they could communicate on their boards. He encouraged them to consider skateboarding as an art-form, a sort of dance with the landscape. At the same time, Tom delved deeper into his study of filmmaking, honing his technique working on independent films with Toddy Burton, associate professor of communication arts. The result was From the Borders, a profound yet broadly accessible effort. “He’s so poetic with the juxtaposition of his images,” Burton commented on the film, “and he navigates so well between the concrete and the abstract.” It’s hard not to laugh at this use of “concrete” in conversation about a skateboarding film. But that’s what makes it so true. To view a trailer or purchase the film, visit www.theworble.com/from-the-borderstrailer
John Dixon Mirisola is a communications specialist in the Office of College Communications at Gordon. email@example.com
Help and Hope for the Underdogs Story and photo Scott Egan ’94
and leading Vacation Bible School in the park. Through our bike ministry/feeding program, we deliver over 2,100 meals to hungry children every day during the summer—over a year, 150,000 meals.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve rooted for the underdog. David fells Goliath (1 Samuel 17). The 2001 New England Patriots stun the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. I love an upset; it makes for a much better story. I was undersized and under-coordinated as a boy, a lethal combination in the unforgiving world of elementary school and middle school, where the stronger and more athletic thrive and guys like me are pushed aside. It cultivated in me, even as a kid, a soft spot for those who are marginalized. Those kids who stood on the sidelines waiting for a chance to play. Those who hung out in the background so they would not have to play—trying to avoid another opportunity to be rejected and made fun of. Those who never quite found their place, never felt like they really fit in anywhere. In July I moved my family halfway across the country to serve underdogs. For 12 years my wife, Dawn, and I had lived in southeastern Massachusetts, raising our family of four children and serving part-time as youth directors at Church
in the Pines, a growing church in West Wareham. At the time we couldn’t think of a place better to raise our children, to serve and build youth and families to follow Jesus, and to grow in community. So, at the end of February, when the call came from Pastor Donnie Lane Jr. of Citychurch Outreach in Amarillo, Texas, we began a long process of praying and searching out what the Lord was calling our family to next. We could remain in our comfortable and beautiful New England church family where we felt secure, or we could respond to the call of God and begin a new and dangerous adventure at Citychurch, a ministry reaching out to the poorest and most disadvantaged children on the urban streets of the west Texas panhandle. In the end we responded to God’s call to a very different kind of youth work. When we arrived in July, we landed right in the thick of the busiest time at Citychurch. Every week during the summer, church youth groups from all over come to serve, delivering meals on bicycles to children in the neighborhoods
For 17 years Citychurch Outreach has been loving the young underdogs of the poorest neighborhoods of North Amarillo. Many of these children wake up every day to conditions we can barely imagine: poverty, hunger, drug and alcohol abuse, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Many have been abandoned by their families, the very ones who are intended to nurture them, protect them and strengthen them into the men and women that God intends them to be. Citychurch brings “Help and Hope” to these marginalized children every day. We deliver help in order that we might convey hope—the hope that can be found only in a real and personal encounter with the living Christ. Everything we do at Citychurch is designed to bring children and their families into an encounter with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. Only He can redeem the devastating effects these neighborhoods have had on their lives.
A youth ministries major while at Gordon, Scott Egan has worked in various campus ministries and local churches for the past 23 years. www.citychurchamarillo.com
FALL 2013 | STILLPOINT 35
What We Keep: Reflections on a 50-Year Reunion Suitcase . . . check. Garment bag . . . check. Camera . . . check. Reunion materials folder and trivia prizes . . . check. Where’s my yearbook? Back into the house one more time.
The Class of 1962 (Barrington) at their 50-year reunion in 2012: Row 1: Cora Hurlburt Barnes, Priscilla Clark Terwilleger, Marge Stickel, Rosemarie Buote Boschen, Shirley Warren Smith. Row 2: Carol Washburn Burbank, Joe DeCosta, June Jacoby Willis, Joan Guadliana Burchell, Frank Burchell, Carole Fiscus Bird. Row 3: Herb Merrick, David Lilly, Priscilla Ferrin Leavitt, Doug Kane, John Erickson.
As I start the Jeep and head east on Route 2 across northern Massachusetts, I push Play on the CD changer. The Boston Pops’ rendition of The Way We Were makes me smile, and the years begin to slip away. By the time I throttle past the Gardner exit in central Massachusetts in the company of the Beatles’ “Yesterday,” this semiretired teacher has been replaced by her doppelganger of 55 years ago. I had packed up and headed to Providence, Rhode Island, at 17. Four memorable years later, Barrington College granted me a B.A. in English and added my name to its alumni rolls. Following commencement, we embarked on complicated life journeys we could in no way predict. In that 36 STILLPOINT | FALL 2013
moment, the passage of 25 or 50 years would have been an exceedingly difficult concept to absorb. So why do some of us feel compelled to journey back—driving or flying across state and country to spend a weekend with aging former classmates who aren’t acquainted with who we are now? Perhaps the lure of reunions is the opportunity to rewrite history, to allow others to see us as we wanted to be back then, before we came into our own. Looking back on our virginal selves sends us spiraling through time, forward and back, moving, changing, remembering with respect to both ourselves and others. As we remember, we may begin to see
ourselves as others saw us—possibly as an “insider” because of campus involvement, instead of “on the fringe” as we saw ourselves for lack of the clever, easy tongue or disposable income. (In my case, perhaps “elfin” at five feet and 95 pounds, rather than the quintessential runt of the litter. Looking like everyone’s kid sister made it considerably more difficult to be taken seriously or viewed as dating material.) To that extent, time travel may be possible. Then there are the “confessions” that will be offered up. They bubble to the surface after dinner on a Friday evening when former roommates may begin by reminiscing about various escapades,
Story Cora Hurlburt Barnes ’62B Photo Antony Ohman ’16
and suddenly two matrons are admitting responsibility for the entire dorm being evacuated because they roasted marshmallows in their room over a trashcan fire. Not to be outdone, a onetime member of the basketball team marvels that he and the dean’s son didn’t get suspended for kidnapping a freshman during Frosh Week and locking him in the boiler room overnight. A voice protests, “I have no current recollection of that,” amid the laughter.
waitressing at a resort inn, staffing camps in Rumney or Schroon Lake to earn the next semesters’ tuition. Thus it was possible to have spent four years and three summers with the same crew, even to find oneself teaching in the same New York State school district as a dorm mate, or attending the same grad school in the midwest during the first years after graduation. And whenever such serendipity occurred, the bonds were further strengthened.
Separate journeys converge at reunions. Along the way we have come to see that what binds us together is much more important than those small differences that separated us in the past. In hindsight, attending a small, insular college gave us the advantage of knowing everyone in our class—not just those in our dorm or major—plus a significant number of others. Unlike high school classmates who chose UMass, for example (current student population 27,000+ in Amherst), because of its proximity and lower publicschool tuition, who express no interest in attending reunions because they feel no connection, we have many ties that bind.
Our 25th reunion was the first one held at Gordon. The merger, announced in 1985, had been greeted with mixed emotions. We had, after all, been Barrington alums for 23 years. Some of us even had sons and daughters at our alma mater by then and not all would choose to transfer to the United College of Gordon and Barrington 70 miles due north. Those who chose to converge on Gordon for Homecoming Weekend in 1987 remembered the campus through the lens of athletic rivalries. Now we needed to see it as ours, not just the new location of the Barrington rock. Over the next several years, as Ferrin Hall was erected and the Barrington Center for the Arts was dedicated, it became easier to identify our sister school as home.
One compelling tie was our common core of spiritual beliefs. We arrived as conservative Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists, Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed and Mennonites, with a few Roman Catholics—given special dispensations to attend “the Bible college”—for good measure. Anyone who had come to college expecting an ivory tower of heavenly accord quickly learned we would instead be challenged to examine our assumptions, to consider alternate points of view. In philosophy and theology classes—for everyone had a required number of credit hours to complete no matter one’s chosen major—we argued our differences and acknowledged more commonalities. Some of us also shared summers together painting houses on the Cape,
Since our 45th, we have perhaps become more aware of our own mortality. Every class has someone who keeps in touch with a broad cross-section, arranging to have lunch with one or two others whenever visiting in their area. But we’ve experienced the phenomenon of small groups of old friends deciding to vacation together annually in locales as distant as the Pacific coast or Arizona’s red rock country, as exotic as the Mayan Riviera. Euphemistically referred to as “road trips,” each one seems to get better, even though we’ve been made keenly aware of how quickly things can change—a group member collapses two days before the scheduled flight to Mexico and is subsequently diagnosed with lymphoma;
another classmate delays knee surgery in order to make a trip and experiences San Francisco’s King Tut exhibit from a wheelchair. In the final analysis, reunions allow us to come face-to-face with the tangible reminders of our youth. At our 50th there is less certainty that we will all be together for the next one, so we carry away the gift of knowing we are inextricably connected to one another, bound by invisible threads of shared history, fellowship, and laughter. Be well, we say in parting. Go with God. The yearbook I returned to the house to get didn’t save me from embarrassing myself. (Does anyone ever resemble his or her senior photo half a century later?) It can once again be consigned to the attic. And that song of Streisand’s that was my traveling music? Scattered pictures/ Of the smiles we left behind/ Smiles we gave to one another/ For the way we were/ If we had the chance to do it all again/ Tell me, would we? Could we? A few bars, a fragment of lyric, will continue to have the power to transport us. No matter what has changed in us or the world, the music stays the same, like those moments frozen in time and memory. These are what we keep.
Cora Jane Hurlburt Barnes recently retired from a 35-year career as an English and humanities teacher, department chair, and drama director at Mohawk Trial Regional High School, Shelburne Falls, MA. She also taught in New York state and worked in public television. firstname.lastname@example.org
FALL 2013 | STILLPOINT 37
One makes a difference. Many make an impact.
Gordon was my time to experience as many fields as possible, to confirm that science is where God wants me. At Gordon I received the education to do research anywhere. KEN HALLENBECK ’12
An Expansive View of the Common Good During an internship with the top-tier pharmaceutical company Epizyme, Ken Hallenbeck ’12 tested models for one of the firm’s cancer drugs, commuting back and forth to Cambridge twice a week. He was also juggling schoolwork, his duties as an aide to President Michael Lindsay, working in Dining Services, running cross country and track, tutoring for five different departments, double majoring, conducting small groups, and serving as president of the Gordon College Student Association (GCSA). The recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship—the country’s top scientific honor for graduate students—Ken is now pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of California, San Francisco, and following his dream of mapping elusive proteins in order to combat pathogens. The novelty of his work drives him: “When I make a new protein construct and test to see if something binds to it, I don’t know the answer, and nobody who has ever lived does either. The fact that there is an answer, but that we don’t know it yet, is too cool for me to resist.” “Ken has an unusual ability to grasp the big picture, coupled with a stunning work ethic,” says President Lindsay. “One of the best parts of my job is watching students like Ken channel their natural curiosity into meeting the world’s great needs.”
Aide to President Lindsay 2012-13
PARTNERS MAKE AN IMPACT Gordon’s impact would not be possible without the help of our Partners—alumni, parents, and friends who support students like Ken with financial contributions at a level of $1,000 or more annually. (Recent graduates can become Associate Partners at lower contribution levels.) Partners advance Gordon’s mission of personal transformation and worldwide service through crucial funding that supports student scholarship aid, the Gordon Fund, faculty and facilities. We invite you to help students like Ken fulfill their vocations. Please contact: Kathy Walker Director of Partners email@example.com 978.867.4265 www.gordon.edu/partners
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MARK YOUR CALENDAR! FEB
Beyond Disabilities Week
DEEP FAITH Week
A student-directed week of conversations about the policy issues and social dynamics around disabilities. Temple Grandin will be the keynote speaker.
Three days of worship and prayer focused on loving God. Christianity Today Executive Editor Andy Crouch will be the keynote speaker.
Alumni Trips to Hong Kong and to Greece Travel with Gordon and Barrington alumni to Hong Kong March 6–16 with Provost Janel Curry, Ambassador for the College Rebecca Lindsay, and Alice Tsang (economics and business)—or to Greece June 12–23 with Dr. David Sparks and Elizabeth Iliadou Sparks ’81. www.gordon.edu/hongkong2014 | www.gordon/edu/greecetrip
125th Anniversary of Gordon College and Homecoming and Family Weekend Homecoming 2014 showcases the 125th anniversary of the founding of Gordon College. Come celebrate with us and add your story to the ongoing story of Gordon.