SPRING FALL 2016 2012
THE MAGAZINE OF GORDON COLLEGE
A Place for Invention 14 Mark Sargent: On the “Living Ground” of Gordon College 17
AlsoAlso in This in This Issue Issue 7 New 4 A Board SPORKS of Trustees Farewell Chair 24 The 8 Celebrating Tempo of the Roger Game, Green the Tempo 37 16,000 of Life Stories
Do you know a student who would thrive at Gordon? Who better to recommend future Gordon students than our alumni? You know Gordon and the students that will thrive here! Your recommendation helps shape the future of the College and helps equip the next generation of Christian servant leaders.Â
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14 The Body Politic and the Body of Christ:
A Conversation with Gordon’s Political Science Faculty Paul Brink, Ruth Melkonian-Hoover, Mike Jacobs and Tim Sherratt on what Christians need to understand about politics—especially now.
20 The View from Here:
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. More than 500 Gordon alumni have settled in the nation’s capital. Here are four of their stories.
ARTICLES and Athens Forum 22 Jerusalem Essay Contest JAF students tackle this year’s essay challenge: Why study the liberal arts?
Tempo of the Game, 24 The the Tempo of Life by Alexandria Rivera ’16
Alumni athletes apply lessons learned on the playing field to the rest of life.
IN EACH ISSUE Front with 2 Up President Lindsay Gordon College and the Public Square
By Morgan Clayton ’19 The Presence of the Past
Notes from a youngish alum
6 On the Grapevine
Student, Faculty and Staff News
26 Class Notes Alumni news
UP FRONT with President Lindsay
Gordon College and “Pull quote goes here. NumSquare veleseq the Public uismodignim zzriuscil doluptat. Cum nos duis nulput digna con volenim ent augait wis nit aut aliqui blan.”
One of the Gordon community’s great strengths—part of its very DNA—is a passion to glorify God through servant-leadership at all levels of society. For over 125 years, Gordon has been an institution that cares for the public square—the arena of public discourse and action where individuals and communities come together to address matters of common concern. In its earliest sense, the “public square” just meant an open area at the meeting of two or more streets. It was where people coming from different places crossed paths. Sometimes they stopped to talk awhile, sharing news or airing differences and disputes. In that space they could hammer out agreements that transcended a particular situation and became policy or law. You can see where this is going: multiply these local interactions exponentially and you have the 21st century public square—meeting places too numerous to count, layers of complexity too deep for anyone to fully comprehend—and much of it taking place in a media landscape undreamed of even a few years ago (among many
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21st-century “firsts,” count this as the first election season played out, in part, in the Twitterverse). There is much at stake in what happens in the public square. What is spoken and done there reverberates broadly, for better or worse. The Book of Common Prayer contains a number of “prayers for the social order.” One of them, on behalf of “those who influence public opinion,” asks God to “Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord.” As I enter my sixth year of serving as Gordon’s president, I believe more than ever that one of the Gordon community’s great strengths—part of its very DNA—is a passion to glorify God through servant-leadership at all levels of society. In fact, I believe that
Gordon is a kind of incubator for Christfollowing, world-serving vocations. Part of this involves foundational, life-changing conversations about what it means to be both a pilgrim and a citizen. This kind of dialogue is exemplified in Professor Tim Sherratt’s new book, Power Made Perfect: Is There a Christian Politics for the 21st Century? You can drop in on a conversation involving Tim and his three political science colleagues: Ruth MelkonianHoover, Mike Jacobs and Paul Brink (The Body Politic and the Body of Christ,” pages 14–19). In my travels—both actual and virtual— I’ve been encouraged to meet with many Gordon alumni who serve the common good, both in the political realm and in the nonprofit sector. You’ll read about four of them here (“The View from Here: Metropolitan Washington, DC,” pages 20–21). Mark Epley ’89, for example, serves as General Counsel to House Speaker
IN EACH ISSUE
INSPIRATION Paul Ryan, briefing the Speaker on some of the most pressing issues of our day. 2003 alumna Melissa Pratt-Zossoungbo’s work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) involves, in part, translating lab science into materials that can be understood by non-scientists—often, members of Congress. Santiago Sedaca ’94, as vice president of Palladium: Make it Possible, oversees humanitarian projects on four continents. Shapri LoMaglio ’02 advocates for Christian colleges and universities in her work for the Council on Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), as Vice President for Government and External Relations. And there are so many more, in myriad locations and positions. Michael Messenger ’90, for example, is president of World Vision Canada, and involved in humanitarian work in more than 100 countries around the world. The Rev. Ed Brown ’75 is director of the Lausanne Creation Care Network and CEO of Care of Creation. “The environmental crisis is a moral crisis, and demands a response from God’s people,” he says. I could go on—these stories would easily fill many issues of STILLPOINT—but I think I’ve made a case for why we so unabashedly encourage students to prepare themselves for those places of broad impact. May we—and they—continue to do it well, to the greater glory of God.
Story Morgan Clayton ’19
The Presence of the Past
“This plague is caused by noxious air. We’ll survive if we press flowers to our noses.” “This feud would end if your clan would give us five cows.” These are a few sentences you might hear in Dr. Jennifer HeveloneHarper’s history classes, as students perform historical role-play. We take on new worldviews, whether of a young Christian martyred by Roman officials, an Anglo-Saxon monk chronicling dramatic political and spiritual events of his day, or a medieval peasant threatened by the Black Death. In some courses, students engage with medieval culture through art. In Byzantine History, students create icons, a challenging task that holds as much spiritual as historical meaning. In History of the British Isles, we used ink and egg tempera paint to produce an illuminated manuscript page. The process was painstaking. I spilled half a bottle of ink on my second attempt and was frustrated by my inability to keep paint inside the lines of a curving Celtic design. However, learning about the work of a medieval scribe made my struggles seem trivial. A monk who hunched over his paper in a cold, drafty room for hours every day was truly fulfilling his commitment to manual labor—and more importantly, performing a deed for God. Dr. Hevelone-Harper tells her students that history has special significance for Christians. “All Christians are de facto historians because they base their lives on particular events in history,” she says. “They must know something about historical evidence. They can’t say history doesn’t matter.” She has been involved in Syriac studies at Gordon, and this fall she began co-teaching the Jerusalem and Athens Forum. She has also been involved in creating and supervising the minor/concentration in Early Christianity, and helped Katie Gilbert ’16 to create a Pike major in ancient languages. Now a Fulbright scholar (story, page 13), , Katie cites Dr. Hevelone-Harper’s impact as a mentor and teacher as irreplaceable. That appreciation is shared by many of us.
D. Michael Lindsay is the eighth president of Gordon College and professor of sociology. His most recent book is View from the Top: An Inside Look at How People in Power See and Shape the World (Wiley,
Morgan Clayton ’19 is from Beverly, Massachusetts. A history major with an Early Christianity concentration, she enjoys learning languages and walking in the woods.
2014). This summer he was featured in a cover-story interview titled “Principled Pluralism” for Outcomes: The Magazine of Christian Leadership Alliance.
FALL 2016 | STILLPOINT 3
INSTALLATION 23: PILLS IN THE ATTIC: A FAREWELL I was about to turn 23 when I finished college and so it feels appropriate to begin wrapping up these columns on the advent of them reaching the same number. Why sporks? I was often asked (usually after saying “no, not a sports column”). Well, I was young, and the word sounded funny in a linguistic slapstick way revealing that at the time I still thought Adam Sandler was funny. It was also funny because of its purpose— is there really a food that benefits from being simultaneously stabbed and slurped? If your chili has chunks that need to be harpooned than you most likely need to watch a few YouTube videos about the power of the brunois. That is to say—it’s a problem not with the eating implement, but with the preparation. Still, the idea was that the column would be these little composed bites arranged on custom cutlery—an amouse bouche to the entrees in each issue of STILLPOINT. I would do all the work preparing you a slice of life, and you would simply have to open up and chew as much as you’d have to for yogurt or ice cream. But as time moved on, life weighed heavier on the spoon. The thrill of post-college with its menial jobs and frequent cheap dinner parties—more and more of them becoming farewell parties for yet another confidante who’d landed that crucial next professional opportunity—turned ever more to the ourobouros of stressful workdays and the anxiety that came from student loan payments that necessitated stressful workdays. That is to say, things got less easy to digest in one bite, and trying to force the old ease became somewhat of a choking hazard. As Marcel Proust once wrote, “Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.” And so, a tense thought formed around Installation #4—how do I entertain, inspire, provoke, and challenge readers of a magazine dedicated to Christians who attended a particular Christian college—without ignoring the weight of grief—all in 750 words? I was able to complete columns—let’s be honest, after deadline; sorry, Patty—after long hours of wringing my brain like a washcloth, forcing connections, deleting cliché moments, and finally erasing enough text that what was left wasn’t so much of a conclusion, but a mysterious yet intuitively satisfying line—often an image. From the beetstained hearts in #16 (did that ending feel weird to you? I hope so) to fermented vegetables in #18, it became my game to see just how much I could leave open-ended without upsetting anyone (again, sorry, Patty).
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So, what happened? I grew up. I realized a few things I was afraid to admit to my readers. That this is not heaven. That we live in a hurting world. That our Christian response to these statements was to pretend that we could alleviate that hurt in some small way because of the way we interpret our callings. And what I really wanted to say more and more was: We live in a hurting world. But more, you are a hurting person. And harder as it is to admit: I am a hurting person. It is only from that honest realization—one that has made me lose hours of sleep—that it is at all possible to move into that realm of addressing the larger global hurt, to take up, as Marv Wilson taught me in Modern Jewish Culture, the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, to repair the world. For so many years of my childhood spiritual training, I was made to memorize the greatest commandments, the second of which was to love your neighbor as yourself. But those last two words were often overlooked for the perceived greater lesson, the character-building act of deference to someone
I REALIZED A FEW THINGS I WAS AFRAID TO ADMIT TO MY READERS. THAT THIS IS NOT HEAVEN. THAT WE LIVE IN A HURTING WORLD. else. I was told this humbling of self would tighten my connection with my Maker, but over the years I came to the conclusion: I don’t know myself; how can I love my neighbor? It was as if I could enact the golden rule by pretending that what I wanted was for others to get what they wanted. And no one will come right out and correct that seemingly selfless desire because it seems so in line with what I was taught. But we forget that the constant within all of these ideas is a deep knowledge of and love for the self, and without that, these commandments become the lines of a play, where the people most praised are often just the best actors. But before you think I’m relinquishing the spork handle for sad-sack reasons, Proust also said, “Griefs, at the moment when they change into ideas, lose some of their power to injure our heart.” That is, grief is necessarily messy, but when an artist employs it as material, it loses its sting. No, that’s not quite right—the sting is still there. It has to hurt first, and once it’s acknowledged as pain it can transform into an artistic experience from which opportunities for healing and transcendence ultimately emerge. And looking back over these 10 years of columns, even when I thought I was being simple, there were hidden moments of grief. Those beet hearts were a longing to feel deeply
IN EACH ISSUE
Story Bryan Parys ’04
connected in a world of digital acquaintance, that sauerkraut was a fear that others think I care about the wrong things. My first installment, with its cheap laugh of a title, “The Dawmehtory,” was about post-college community, and how a neighbor of mine had called my landlady dozens of times with screaming, exaggerated complaints about her filthy (“they hang clothes in the yard!”), noisy (“they play music in the basement!”) neighbors. And humor was enough to veil the tragedy that my version of community had inadvertently dismantled a portion of someone else’s community. I thought loving your neighbor would mean that they would love me too, and through that transaction, I would trick the Scriptures and reverse engineer self-love. In other words, while I still stand by the conclusions and ideas I came to along the way, I noticed that my process was flawed. It was as if I was making medicine for ailments I currently suffered, but then tried to pretend the medicine was meant for some other, less clearly-defined symptom that I could hold at an ambiguous distance. In that sense, I thought of writing as a delayed release capsule that released medicine over the course of an extended period of time. You take the pill now because it will most likely help you later. And if it kills the impending headache then it improves your life in the longer term. So maybe, instead of a snack, I was placing pills in the bell of the spork. But there’s one major problem with this compelling extended simile: it presumes that I know your pain enough to prescribe, and that, from an impersonal distance through a non-human medium (the page), I have the hubris to ask you (make you?) to open up and swallow, but no need to call me in the morning—this will work that well. I am no longer able to hold the idea of my writing in that way. If anything, these columns are the pills that I’ve created out of my own transformed pain, and so for me to keep and take them does nothing for me except relive the same grievous experiences over and over, in a self-inflicted way. Instead, I dress them up, sweeten them when they hit the tongue. Then, maybe, it’ll still sit there dormant in your system in the hope that, if ever a similar pain comes to afflict you, maybe these words will awaken, fizzing into a release of salve that only works when we both have admitted the pain we’ve experienced. Recently, I’ve been spending time in a windowless closet in the attic with the lights off. I covered the walls and floor with
sundry blankets and throw pillows in an attempt to create a DIY home recording studio. But as I sat there and tested the quality of the silence I began to relax my muscles and let the silence consume me a while longer. Then I turned out the dim light I’d brought in with me. For someone with sleep issues and a lifelong fear of the dark, this was no small thing (I mean, I wrote a book about it for heaven’s sake). It reminded me of when former provost Mark Sargent wrote an essay for the fall 2009 issue STILLPOINT about a term he referred to as “restorative darkness.” The concept was
TO SPEND TIME IN THE DARK WAS NOT A BOTTOM-OF-THE-WELL EXPERIENCE, BUT AN EXERCISE IN MEDITATIVE, RESTORATIVE BALANCE. formative for me in the sense that the binary metaphors of light (good) and dark (bad) that I had been silently distrustful of as a young adult had not only found a voice through Mark’s words, but that he further suggested it wasn’t about redefining the binary, but recasting it as a spectrum in which all gradients were needed. To spend time alone in the dark was not a bottom-of-the-well experience, but an exercise in meditative, healing balance. So I sat there, watching the audio recording session I had open on my computer, watching the tiny, green mic volume level pulse with life. No matter how effectively I had padded out the noise of the world nor how still I sat, the world buzzed with glorious, infinitesimal activity. “The sum of evil,” Aldous Huxley once wrote (paraphrasing Pascal), “would be much diminished if men could only learn to sit quietly in their rooms.” And so, I think I’ll make it a little weird again and just hang out here in this quiet room like a pill in your guts for a while longer, if you don’t mind, mmk? Thanks. Bryan Parys ’04 is the author of the memoir, Wake, Sleeper (Cascade Books), and a writer and editor at Berklee College of Music. And yep, that’s uppercase. All you haters can relax—your illusory faith in grammar has been restored. This column is dedicated to the late Pat Jones, former director of Gordon’s Office of Communications and a great mentor to me who told me that I was bad at keeping office calendars up to date, but that my writing skills were pretty okay and I should consider writing a column. email@example.com
FALL 2016 | STILLPOINT 5
NEWS: ON THE GRAPEVINE
STUDENT, FACULTY AND STAFF NEWS
Photo Mark Spooner ’14
Installing doors isn’t usually on Peter Bayreuther’s workday agenda—but the director of alumni networks (in the Alumni Relations Office) was among 10 Gordon volunteers who helped in March at a Habitat for Humanity worksite in nearby Ipswich, painting, insulating, and tackling carpentry and tiling tasks to help rehab a two-family home. He and 12 others devoted another day to the project in June.
One Gift, One Hour: #Each1Counts Last December the College put a new spin on Giving Tuesday—the annual, nationwide philanthropic day—by committing to give back for Giving Tuesday. For every gift received, Gordon pledged to arrange for members of the Gordon community to complete one hour of service at local nonprofits this past spring and early summer. Thanks to the generosity of donors, a record-breaking 462 gifts unlocked 462 matching service hours in the surrounding community. This wave of service kicked off March 9 as several Gordon employees joined Habitat for Humanity on a residential construction project in nearby
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Ipswich. Another group helped with meal preparation and food pantry organization at the Open Door in Gloucester a few weeks later. An Environmental Economics class cleaned up litter and did maintenance work along the Chebacco Woods trails. Founder’s Week at Gordon is a time set aside each year to honor the life and legacy of A. J. Gordon, a remarkable visionary with a palpable dedication to service. So it was an appropriate time for the second wave of Giving Tuesday service to unfold. Members of the Gordon community made and served meals for the Open Door and Community Servings; helped local farmers at the Food Project and Three Sisters Garden Project; volunteered in other roles with the Essex
Country Greenbelt, Habitat for Humanity, Gordon’s College Bound tutoring program, the Amirah House shelter, and others; and did grounds work and maintenance at Windrush Farm, a nonprofit equestrian center that provides therapy and activities to at-risk youth, veterans, survivors of human trafficking, and people with special needs. At the close of the fiscal year, 198 volunteers had given over 570 hours of service to 13 different community partners and 17 projects—in all, 124 percent of the goal that had been set. “We are presenting this service as a gift to our neighbors—a gift of our talents, our time and our energy,” says Paul Edwards, chief development officer and senior vice president for advancement.
ON THE GRAPEVINE
Gary Schmidt ’79 Returns to Campus
Gordon’s Own Golden Goose
Photo Taunya Walther ’16
An English professor at Calvin College, Gary Schmidt ’79 is a standout in the field of children’s literature—the author of not just one but two Newbery Honor-winning novels, The Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. He’ll be at Gordon for three days in late October, to meet with students and to participate in several events open to the public. An October 27 event, co-sponsored by the College and the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library, will focus on Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, which the Kirkus Review praised for its “gloriously figurative language” and for being “both beautiful and emotionally honest, both funny and piercingly sad.” A Booklist starred review described Lizzie Bright as “a powerful tale of friendship and coming-of-age, a haunting combination of fact and fiction [that] has a powerful and tragic climax.” When asked why his books are often so serious, Schmidt responds: “You think life in middle school isn’t serious? Are you kidding? Funny is good, of course. We all like to laugh. But I want more than that. Much more. Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his first great book, called life ‘a veil of gloom and brightness.’ We all wish it could be brightness all the time. And maybe for some people it is. I doubt it, but maybe. But there is gloom for us all, too.” He lives on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds wild cats that drop by. And he writes all his books on a typewriter. “You can’t believe how hard it is to find ribbons for a 1953 Royal,” he says. Thursday, October 27 Community Read Lecture and Event
6 to 7 p.m. | Reception and book signing in Ken Olsen Science Center 7:30 p.m. | Gary Schmidt will speak in A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel: “What Anthony Wanted More Than Anything on 9/11—and Why Writers Should Pay Attention” Friday, October 28 Convocation address
10:25 a.m | A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel: “The Messy, Messy World of Namaan”
Golden Goose, a mix of live performances and pre-planned media, is a unique Gordon event. Three students from each class are nominated by their peers for their comedic personalities, and each student creates a short film. At the event, the films are screened and each class group performs a skit onstage. This year, two firsts took place. Three women were nominated for the junior class, and a firstyear student, Dana Morgan, co-hosted with her senior brother, Drew Morgan. Three students represented the first-year class with a Star Wars-themed stage act. In the sophomores’ videos, Caleb Bae ’18 spoofed overprotective resident assistants, while Nate Burgett ’18 battled Chan Yoon ’17 for best haircut. Junior Geese was an all-women group, a first for the previously all-male show. Hannah Woodworth ’17 dressed up as a goose for her video. “Running around campus in a goose suit, especially during a busy dinner rush, really threw people off.” The Senior Geese won the main prize. The video created by Chris Jones ’16 featured a surprising guest star—President Michael Lindsay. Jones said, “It’s fantastic that we were able to entertain people with our work and make them happy, which is like the ultimate thing for me.” The show ended the way any good show should—with a Whitney Houston lip sync. Compiled from original material written by Langdon Kessner ’17 and Sierra Flach ’16.
For more information, contact Janel Curry, provost: firstname.lastname@example.org
FALL 2016 | STILLPOINT 7
Distinguished Faculty Awards
Listen. Share. Eat.
Each year the College honors two faculty members—one an assistant or associate professor, and one a full professor—in recognition of their teaching, scholarship and service to the institution. Stephen Smith, winner of the Senior Distinguished Faculty Award, has spent many hours in the Bennett Center, pounding out a mile in the pool. However, in the words of Provost Janel Curry, “in so many of his other life pursuits he is always swimming for others.” Dr. Smith has served in many leadership positions over nearly 30 years at Gordon. He chaired the Economics and Business Department, directed the International Affairs program and was associate director of the East-West Institute for International Studies. He also served on nearly every major faculty committee, chaired two of them and co-edited the academic journal Faith & Economics. He developed robust scholarship in the field of international economics, most recently co-authoring Economic Growth: Unleashing the Power of Human Flourishing. In light of Dr. Smith’s rich contributions over so many years, one colleague describes him as “the consummate teacher-scholar-servant” and “the ideal colleague.” “There are perhaps not enough words in the English language…or the Spanish language…or the Korean language, to describe the winner of this year’s Junior Distinguished Faculty Award,” said Dr. Curry. In recent years Moisés Park has authored multiple publications on Spanish and Latin American film, including Desire and Coming of Age in Contemporary Chilean Narrative and Cinema. Teaching in three Gordon College programs—Spanish, Communication Arts and Theology—Dr. Park has unfailingly earned four-star reviews from students for his pedagogy, no matter the subject material.
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Photo Michael Curtis
In mid-June, Gordon hosted the annual three-day conference of the Association for Christians in Student Development (ACSD), which equips student development professionals to infuse their faith into their practice and scholarship. Nearly 500 guests represented over 100 institutions, organizations and ministries from 33 states and three countries. In addition to taking in conference speakers and workshops, those who attended enjoyed activities including the first ACSD 5K run, excursions to Boston, and a concert by several Gordon-related bands. “Our goal was that participants would be nourished both professionally and spiritually,” said Jennifer Jukanovich, vice president for student life. The conference theme was Come to the Table, with a different focus each day: Whose table is it? What does it mean to welcome others to the table? How do we dine together? What is tomorrow’s table? Speakers included political scientist Dale Kuehne (St. Anselm College), who explored millennials’ longing for relationship in the context of a culture in which the self is often seen as the greatest reference point; and long-time InterVarsity staffer Jeanette Yep, now a pastor at Grace Chapel near Boston, who spoke on the need for hospitality to keep us at the table. Prashan De Visser ’08 spoke on transforming conflict, particularly in individualized Western culture. Pete Menjares, senior fellow for diversity on the staff of the Council on Christian Colleges & Universities, spoke on diversity as “not a problem to be managed, but a gift to be stewarded.” Tali Hairston of Seattle Pacific University’s John Perkins Center walked attendees through practical exercises, showing that reconciliation involves recognizing the lenses that shape our lives, understanding that we don’t have a template for another’s life, and listening well. Christianity Today Executive Editor Andy Crouch provided the connective thread each day. He shared many scriptural stories that involve gathering at the table, from Abraham and the three visitors to Jesus and the strangers he welcomed. Crouch taught that although coming to the table may be awkward, every awkward moment is a teachable moment— and that, most importantly, “God and man at table have sat down.” Story by Morgan Clayton ’19.
ON THE GRAPEVINE
Comedian Jack Hanke ’16 Co-Stars in Netflix Documentary, Asperger’s Are Us
Design Center Enjoys a Rewarding Year
This past year Gordon College’s Design Center received an abundance of awards, including the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts’ Gold Communicator Award— its highest-level award—for the Design Center’s “Each 1 Counts” campaign for Giving Tuesday.
Photo Alex Lehmann
Jack Hanke ’16 (pictured left) accomplished something most people don’t. He acted in a film that premiered in March at one of the most famous cultural festivals, South by Southwest (SXSW)—a film that is now headed for Netflix. Asperger’s Are Us is a documentary about a sketch comedy troupe by the same name. “All of us are diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning type of autism,” Hanke said. “As far as we know, we’re the first comedy troupe ever to be composed entirely of people on the autism spectrum.” Back in 2010, Hanke teamed up with Ethan Finlan, New Michael Ingemi and Noah Britton to form the group. They have performed in Austin, New York City, Philadelphia, Vermont, at MIT and all around Massachusetts—including at Gordon in collaboration with the Sweaty-Toothed Madmen. “Some of the articles that were written about us got a lot of traction, to the point where we were eventually featured in USA Today,” Hanke says. Then, “In 2013, a guy named Alex Lehmann who works in the Hollywood scene was Googling for an interesting thing to do a documentary on and stumbled across those things, and he found us so hilarious and interesting that, after meeting up with us and talking to us, he decided to do a full-length movie about our troupe,” Hanke continues. “We were hoping that Netflix would pick it up, because it’s the kind of movie that has a large potential audience but not a very geographically concentrated one.” Starring in a movie was an unexpected path for Hanke, a double major in political science and English language and literature. His life “went in a completely different direction than I thought it would, but that’s fine, because God is way smarter than I am and is much better at figuring out where I should go. You don’t have to be afraid in the face of uncertainty, because the very unpredictability of life is what makes possible many of the biggest blessings we’ll ever have. This is especially poignant for me because people on the autism spectrum tend to have a particularly strong fear of the unknown, and this is a great reminder that the unknown is a source of blessings as well.” A version of this article, written by Langdon Kessner ’17, was originally published in Gordon’s student newspaper, The Tartan.
“We were ranked with some much larger organizations,” says Neal Ericsson, director of operations at the Design Center, “including Deloitte, Comcast, HP, Avaya and the MBTA. It was a great campaign that we all had fun creating and executing with the Development Office and it’s great to be recognized for it.” The Design Center also received four American InHouse Design Awards from Graphic Design USA—the premier showcase for outstanding work in a wide range of fields. Just 15 percent of this year’s entries received an award. Gordon won awards for the Admissions Viewbook, the Discover brochure, the Fall 2015 issue of STILLPOINT and the “Come to the Table” branding for the Association for Christians in Student Development conference. The Design Center won a Silver Award in the CASE Circle of Excellence competition, and four Silver Telly Awards—top honors in a competition that judges films against a strong standard of excellence rather than against each other. Gordon’s design team includes three alumni: designers Abby Ytzen-Handel ’10 and Jon Misarski ’07 (pictured above), and photographer Mark Spooner ’14. Story by Morgan Clayton ’19.
FALL 2016 | STILLPOINT 9
Dr. Nick Rowe Returns to Gordon in New Role
College Receives Beverly Farms Estate
Dr. Nick Rowe is Gordon College’s new Dean of Student Engagement. His focus will be to cultivate leadership development and integrated student learning experiences for a student body that is increasingly diverse and global. He will explore strategies to improve the intentionality, quality, impact and assessment of student growth beyond the classroom.
From left: Lyn and Tom Shields and Michael and Rebecca Lindsay celebrate the gift of Shields House at a dedication ceremony held in April.
Chris Carlson, formerly the Dean of Student Engagement, is now Dean of Student Success, a new position focused on equipping students to transition toward success in each stage of their college career.
About a mile from the Gordon campus—a bit more than halfway to West Beach—stands a three-story, 19-room, 100-year-old Colonial with a carriage house, pool and tennis court. The five-acre property in Beverly Farms, now known as “Shields House,” was donated by longtime friends of the College Thomas and Lyn Shields. Tom Shields is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former health care industry executive who owns and co-owns several businesses, while Lyn Shields is active in civic affairs.
Dr. Rowe, who from 2002 to 2005 taught history at Gordon and served as special assistant to the president for diversity issues, returned to teach this spring in the sociology and social work department, and will teach one course a semester—this fall, Introduction to African-American History.
The couple wanted to downsize, and rather than sell their home, they decided to give it to Gordon. The Shieldses have been neighbors, friends and supporters of Gordon for over 30 years. “Giving a home we loved to a college we love was an easy choice,” the couple said.
He spent the past ten years in South Africa, where he was Academic Dean (and sometime Interim President) of St. Augustine College. A historian of Atlantic cultural history, his research interests include peace studies, and how communities’ use of the past to form their identities fuels intergroup conflict. He consults with South African and U.S. communities about cross-racial and cross-ethnic reconciliation. Dr. Rowe earned his Ph.D. in history from Boston College, and his B.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT.
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“This is the single most substantial gift that the College has received in recent years,” says Jim Pocock, a philanthropic advisor in Gordon’s Development Office. “It is a remarkable development.” The estate not only provides housing for College guests and a venue for events, but also increases the overall value of the College’s property. An earlier version of this story, written by Corrine Previte ’16, appeared in The Tartan, Gordon’s student newspaper.
Faculty Book Timothy Sherratt (political science) has published Power Made Perfect? Is There a Christian Politics for the Twenty-First Century? (Cascade Books, 2016). In it he surveys major Christian political initiatives and schools of thought, then outlines ways in which Christians can practice faithful political engagement. Gideon Strauss at the Center for Public Justice writes, “How do we follow Jesus in our political lives . . . rather than merely using Jesus’ name as cover for pursuing our own agenda and advantage? Read Power Made Perfect, Sherratt’s accessible, thoughtful introduction to political discipleship in the 21st-century United States.”
ON THE GRAPEVINE
Under the Tent: The Unification of Artistic and Religious Community
Art, nature and culture could be considered the Trinitarian elements of the Gordon IN Orvieto program. Each fall and spring semester, students from Gordon and other Christian colleges gather in this small city on a hill and become immersed in the Italian community through church, schools, festivals, cafés and art. This year, Art Department Chair Bruce Herman and the students of the spring ’16 cohort created a mural that layers bold colors, religious iconography and symbolism, and other themes. It hangs in the Conventi di Servi, where the students live, bringing color to the white walls of the classroom for the humanities courses that the program offers along with its art courses. It reminds those who enter that this former convent, and Orvieto, and Christianity, are communal spaces. The faces of the saints are images of professors and staff, and include Matthew Doll, program director, as St. Francis; John Skillen, program founder, as St. Benedict; and Karen Bergman, teaching assistant, as Mary. Harkening to Orthodox and Catholic iconography and to Protestant traditions, the mural reminds us that we are unified under the broken body of Christ, under the tent of Mary’s mantle. This is visual ecumenism, common ground between different religious traditions. The urgency of finding common ground is clear at the mural’s base, in images of Coptic martyrs beheaded by ISIS and rows of tents for Syrian refugees. The martyrs kneel at the base of Orvieto’s Duomo (cathedral); the tents morph into the city of Orvieto. Mary’s mantle covers worshippers, martyrs and refugees. The Gospel message rings true: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Culture, religion and nature are more intertwined than one might think. “We are sending students to learn about the totality and the universal. Tradition is not ossified, but constantly growing,” says Herman. “The mural is meant to embody the program as well as connecting it to the universal Church.” Story by Alexandria Rivera ’16.
Academic Support Center Honors Dr. Daniel Johnson
Dr. Daniel Johnson (sociology) received the annual Academic Support Center (ASC) Bookmark Award for his willingness to work with students’ unique needs, and his collaboration with staff of the ASC to help students succeed. “Dr. Johnson has been a generous supporter of students with disabilities and of the ASC tutors as well. Students describe him as creative, patient, helpful and willing to meet them where they are,” says ASC Director Ann Seavey.
New Social Work Faculty
Dr. Ines W. Jindra has joined the social work faculty this fall. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and taught at Spring Arbor University for 10 years. She has taught at Bethel College and, more recently, the University of Notre Dame, where she was a Research Scholar in the Center for the Study of Religion and Society. Dr. Jindra’s interests include urban issues, poverty, homelessness, biographical trajectories and the impact community organizations have on the poor and homeless.
FALL 2016 | STILLPOINT 11
Social Venture Challenge Winners Plan Next Steps
Gordon Woods Become Alternative Classroom
The 400 acres of woods and wetlands north and east of the main campus attract walkers, runners, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers and, at Gull Pond, swimmers and canoeists. Last spring the Gordon-Chebacco Woods added another function: alternative classroom. These woods and wetlands are affected by nearby human activities. Water runs off parking lots and roads into ponds and wetlands, compromising the quality of the habitat for native animals and plants. Students in Dr. Otonye Braide’s Principles of Chemistry II course measured water quality and taught local high school students about the subject. Dr. Kristen Cooper’s Environmental Economics students also examined the condition of the landscape, working to conduct an economic analysis of policies to reduce dog waste in Chebacco Woods for local organizations. Also plaguing the woods is the expansion of several invasive non-native plant species. Erosion is a concern, too, because it can dismantle trails and habitats. Both issues were addressed by students in Ecology and The Scientific Enterprise. With Dr. Dorothy Boorse and Dr. Jennifer Noseworthy, they joined local institutions to remove invasive plants and perform trail maintenance. The program is funded by the Davis Educational Foundation. Story by Morgan Clayton ’19.
12 STILLPOINT | FALL 2016
Peter Nawoichik ’16, Kristin Fitzgerald ’16, Peter Vance ’17, Caleb Best ’16 and Hunter Coleman ’16
One of the mantras of Gordon’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership is that “entrepreneurship is a contact sport.” At the Center’s third annual Social Venture Challenge (SVC) in April, teams of Gordon students “pitched” their plans for innovative, socially-conscious startups before a panel of experienced judges. Each group had spent four months creating its proposal, aided by mentoring connections with professionals, periodic coaching sessions and a series of intensive workshops. At the end of the night, three winners took home a total of $10,000 to expand or create their businesses. First-place winner Miray is a nonprofit microloan program focused in Madagascar, which Peter Vance ’17 launched in 2013; while in Madagascar for four months, he was struck by the fact that local farmers lived at a subsistence level, even though the land had potential for more profitable agriculture. He teamed with Hunter Coleman ’16, Peter Nawoichik ’16, Kristin Fitzgerald ’16 and Caleb Best ’16 in a SVC pitch for further funding to ensure that Miray remains financially sustainable as it expands. “The program has loan officers, directors, staff in the office, and a couple hundred people doing loans,” Vance reports. “There’s a huge demand. Microfinance has a lot of different roles—not just loans, but also creating co-ops and getting people organized together.” Meeting needs is also the focus of LaLata, an eyelash curler created by Melissa Molano ’18, Josseline Medina ’18 and Victor Cusato. Other products damage eyelashes and “create an angle instead of a natural-looking curl,” explains Medina. Her group’s improved design is “a butterfly shaped tool that uses the motion of the hand to create a more natural curl.” The third winning venture at the SVC was Anugra, a fair-trade textile enterprise already operating in India. Michelle Buettner ’19, Marin Butterworth ’16 and Chloe Larson ’19 represented the nonprofit at the SVC to make a pitch for additional funding. Brooke Fryer ’15, creative director and coordinator of the United States side of Anugra, explains that in India, jobs for women are limited. “We’re looking into hiring more women,” she says, “and moving to a larger location, providing a safe, welcoming space.” “If there’s one thing I’ve learned,” Fryer adds, “it’s that solutions to our problems have to evolve as the venture grows.”
ON THE GRAPEVINE
Sabbatical Jottings by Andrea Frankwitz Department of English Language and Literature
Katie Gilbert ’16 Receives Fulbright Award to Study Syriac in India
Katie Gilbert (R) with Dr. Jennifer Hevelone-Harper (L)
In April, Katie Gilbert ’16 was notified that she had received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to study Syriac language and literature in India. This fall, she began studies and research under top scholars at the St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute.
I spent my spring sabbatical revising and updating two chapters in my study of four 19th-century American slave narratives, with the ultimate goal of submitting my book-length manuscript to a university press. Although I’ve always been concerned with matters of justice, in my doctoral program I became particularly interested in slave narratives. To my surprise, many slave accounts, despite being best-sellers of their day, did not really receive critical examination until the mid-20th century when Marion Wilson Starling’s groundbreaking 1946 work, The Slave Narrative: Its Place in American Literary History, helped literary critics refute the pronouncement of historians John S. Kendall and Kenneth Stampp that slaves never told us what is was like to be a slave, or what went on in their minds. Since then, numerous scholars have reclaimed slave accounts from the dusty shelves of archives to explore these writings as historical evidence and as a distinct literary genre. An influential scholar of African-American literature, William L. Andrews, contends that by the middle of the 19th century, slave narrating developed into a kind of “literary emancipation.” Through narrative discourse ex-slaves found their individual voices, voices distinct from their masters’, which enabled them to gain authority and, thus, freedom. I am examining the narratives written by four slaves, analyzing their rhetorical strategies, structure and representations of freedom imagined and realized. Scholars have not yet thoroughly defined the nature and extent of the freedom gained through the creation of a voice. Certainly it is not simply the telling of their stories that gives the former slaves liberty. To better understand what writing their stories opened up for fugitives and manumitted slaves, one needs to look at how they told their stories and what kinds of elements they included. Many slave narratives have strategies and elements in common, and the four I am working with—narratives by Harriet Jacobs, William Craft, William Wells Brown and Old Elizabeth—illustrate how some slave writers used tropes of distance and space to enlarge their sense of freedom and their sense of self, thus realizing an emancipation that the law could never grant to them.
“I couldn’t wait to tell my family and friends, but I was especially excited to tell my fiancé, Ben Bowden ’16, that we would be moving to India months after our marriage in May . . . we were dreaming about what researching in India would look like for us—what an adventure!” says Gilbert, a Kenneth L. Pike Scholar who studied ancient languages (Syriac, Latin and Greek) and history with a focus on early Christianity and classical studies. “But I’d be remiss if I left out the huge input that my professor and mentor, Dr. Jennifer Hevelone-Harper, has had on this achievement. From late night edits to coffee shop brainstorming, her support was unwavering and sincere. I’m thankful for the hard work that my professors at Gordon College have put into me over the last four years,” Gilbert says. The Fulbright Program builds relationships between Americans and people in other countries to solve global challenges. Fulbrighters are selected based on academic and professional achievement, service commitments and demonstrated leadership.
FALL 2016 | STILLPOINT 13
The BODY POLITIC and The BODY OF CHRIST
A Conversation with Gordonâ€™s Political Science Faculty TIM SHERRATT 14 STILLPOINT | SPRING 2016
THE BODY POLITIC
As this issue goes to print, we are in the midst of an unusually contentious electoral season. STILLPOINT is willing to bet you’ve been to at least one gathering lately that involved a solemn oath not to discuss politics. But what better time to ask our stellar cast of political scientists at Gordon to weigh in? Not just on the particulars of this year’s “long, strange trip” (cue the Grateful Dead) but also on some of the more enduring themes of our lives as Christians and political creatures. What does the Body of Christ have to do with the Body Politic? Read on.
STILLPOINT: Tell me something important that I should know, as a Christian, about politics. PAUL BRINK: My students smile when I say this: “Justice, not just-us.” From a Christian perspective, politics is most fundamentally about justice. This means that when Christians talk about serving Christ through political engagement, their first questions should be about justice. We need to recognize that the way we love our neighbors politically is to see that justice is done to our neighbors—even if we disagree with them on all sorts of important issues. TIMOTHY SHERRATT: Given our human wants, failings, aspirations and destiny, we all are squarely in the middle of politics. American political culture emphasizes our individual liberties and, in that sense, our immunity from obligation. Christianity, by contrast, sheds light on us as social beings with mutual obligations. It sheds light on our human dignity as beings made in the image of God, and on our brokenness, both individually and collectivity—a brokenness that Scripture understands as original sin. It understands government as having vital but limited tasks: restraining wrongdoing through law, and making room for civil society to function and flourish. MICHAEL JACOBS: Christians must not lose sight of God’s purpose for government, which includes promoting justice and order. Christian organizations tend to focus their efforts on advancing justice, which makes sense in many contexts. However, justice and order are interwoven. Justice cannot be maintained without order and order without justice is oppression. This is particularly clear in international contexts involving dysfunctional or non-existent political institutions. Foreign policies emphasizing one and losing sight of the other—justice instead of order, for instance—contributed to the current disarray in Libya, which now cannot be characterized as either stable or just.
RUTH MELKONIAN-HOOVER: God cares about all the nations. Christianity challenges us to see that excessive nationalism can be idolatrous and limits effective love of neighbor. Important as it is to seek justice within nations, Christianity calls us to seek global justice as well, not ignoring questions of geopolitics and the stakes for future generations. STILLPOINT: What should Christians be doing— and not doing—in the public square? SHERRATT: In the polarized atmosphere of current American politics, it has become acceptable to demonize opponents—often by wrapping one’s own policy preferences in the flag. Patriotism easily turns toxic when deployed this way. After all, if mine is the patriotic policy, then yours must reek of treachery, patriotism’s opposite. We should call on candidates and party organizations to disavow this kind of talk. We also need to remember that politics does not offer final resolution of the issues it addresses. Whether in domestic or foreign policy, the purpose of politics is to do public justice, not to render Christ’s judgment. The budgets we debate today will need to be adjusted for tomorrow’s challenges. The trade agreements made with developing nations may need to change as those nations grow. Good politics is about good stewardship in the changing circumstances societies face, for the common good and the flourishing of human communities. This kind of response will need to be articulated loud and clear, because conflict and the demonizing of one’s opponents have ballooned in this election cycle. Christians’ responses should begin in our churches. We can grasp the difference between preaching the good news, and serving Christ through political engagement—so let’s be sure that this is front and center in the ways we teach and encourage one another. Christians need to approach global challenges with a humble understanding of
SPRING 2016 | STILLPOINT 15
what the U.S. is capable of fixing, and what it might make worse. Pursuing policies that may only make the world a little safer, and a little more just, are often the best option available and the wisest path to take BRINK: Many of talk as though the people across the aisle heard the same sermon we did last Sunday. This is not a path to public justice. Meanwhile, others of us are only too aware that we’re not the establishment—and so our central preoccupation is to get back what’s ours. And we actually talk that way! In political life we can’t act as though we were in church. It’s not simply a matter of taking our Bible in hand, developing our moral “answer,” mixing in a little Golden Rule, and then heading off to Washington. It takes more work than that. We need to respect politics as politics—and see it as a task with its own legitimate authority and its own rules. And we need to see that the way we carry out our Christian witness in this area of life may look different than it does in other areas.
the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family. These efforts have effectively brought together a wide range of evangelical leaders able to agree upon key principles, including support for legislation that would help unite families, respect the dignity of all, uphold the rule of law, secure borders, ensure fairness to taxpayers and establish a path toward legal status and/or citizenship. But the EIT hasn’t been very successful at convincing white evangelicals—the most conservative subset of the American religious landscape—to support the immigration policies the coalition favors. And evangelical clergy don’t tend to preach or teach much about immigration. When they do, attitudes toward immigrants and about immigration policy shift in a more supportive direction. Messages from the pulpit and personal contact with immigrants help Christians see the moral components of the immigration issue and consider how to best balance law, justice and mercy.
We need to respect politics as politics—and see it as a task with its own legitimate authority and its own rules.
And no, this isn’t a compromise! JACOBS: In order to promote Rather, it’s recognizing and both justice and order, we need respecting the radical diversity of to clearly distinguish between creation. Look, we can recognize the ideal and the possible. Most intuitively that in different spheres of of us remember the era following life, we love our neighbors differently. the end of the Cold War as one of Paul Brink The way we love our parents looks widespread peace and prosperity. different from the way we love our The absence of international roommates. The way we love our threats allowed the U.S. to focus on promoting democracy and pastors looks different from the way we love hurricane victims, human rights abroad. The Clinton administration inserted the and they both look different from the way we love our marriage advancement of human rights into the heart of U.S.–China partners. In all these cases, we love our neighbors, but the way relations, replacing security concerns as America’s primary focus we carry out that love will be different, according to what each of in East Asia. Later, the second Bush administration viewed the these areas of life is all about. establishment of democracy in the Middle East as the best way to MELKONIAN-HOOVER: In the past decade, a growing number defeat terrorism. After decades of siding with strongmen during of prominent evangelical leaders have supported versions of the fight against communism, many Christians welcomed these immigration reform that attempt to balance the moral imperatives changes in U.S. foreign policy. of justice and mercy. They have been involved at the political But promoting Western values in non-western countries proved and congregational level—lobbying members of Congress and tougher than expected. Patrimonial societies and their dominant the executive branch, issuing formal policy statements, writing political interests rejected inclusive political institutions and editorials and educating faith communities. widespread freedom. In China, Iraq and elsewhere, political In June 2012, a new coalition called the Evangelical Immigration elites resisted the U.S.-promoted liberal political changes that Table was launched to support reform. Over 150 leaders signed would disrupt traditional social structures and loosen their grip on, representing organizations like Sojourners, World Vision, on power.
16 STILLPOINT | SPRING 2016
THE BODY POLITIC
In order to promote both justice and order, we need to clearly distinguish between the ideal and the possible. Mike Jacobs
STILLPOINT: Ruth, a lot of your research in recent years has taken place outside the U.S., particularly in Latin America. How are international Christians faring in the public square? MELKONIAN-HOOVER: In Brazil—which has the largest number of Protestants of any Latin American nation—the record of Christian political engagement is mixed. In the 1980s, when a military regime exited after 20 years in power, Brazilian Protestants became increasingly involved politically. They favored religious pluralism and they were able to help ensure that the new constitution of 1988 dis-established the Catholic Church and included protections for freedom of religion. Yet today, Brazil’s political context is difficult for anyone to navigate. It has over 20 fragmented political parties, which are kept weak in part by an electoral system called open party list proportional representation—candidates often run more as personalities than as members of parties, and sometimes don’t even identify their parties in campaigns. In addition, in a typical legislative term, more than one-third of legislators will switch parties—so presidents and legislators can’t rely on strong party support. Presidents sometimes circumvent the chaotic legislature by issuing undemocratic executive decrees, and they sometimes rely on unethical means to garner support for legislation. This culminated most recently in the Petrobras/Workers Party scandal and the impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff. Christians’ impact in this context has not been overwhelmingly positive, but there are signs of hope. In Brazil there are significant divisions within Protestantism, and many politicians new to the political arena take a simplistic approach that makes
them easy targets for corruption and manipulation. Today the Bancada Evangelica (Evangelical Front), a coalition of dozens of conservative legislators elected in 2010, focuses primarily on culture war issues to the neglect of education and inequality issues. Some of its top leaders, such as former Speaker of the House Eduardo Cunha, have been implicated in recent corruption scandals. Yet we can also point to many Christian politicians who are carving out new spaces in the center and on the left, such as Congressman Carlos Bezerra Jr. and former senator Marina Silva, who ran for president two years ago. These Christian politicians increasingly are concerned not just with issues of personal morality, or church-related issues, but also with structural concerns and societal ills. They’re engaged for the long haul, patiently working to effect change. Some of the dilemmas faced in Brazil are similar to dilemmas faced by Christians in the American context, with the weakness of American political parties, massive gridlock in Congress, and executive circumvention of our intransigent, chaotic legislature. Yet in Brazil, as in the U.S., many Christians see themselves as reformists, not giving up on doing justice and loving mercy in the public square. STILLPOINT: Speaking of dilemmas, this is certainly one strange electoral season. What’s your take on it? SHERRATT: This present “season of discontent” is characterized by two things: discontent arising from more than two decades of polarization in the Congress that has soured political discourse and turned Americans’ already skeptical view of politics into outright cynicism; and a related surge of populist anger, on the left and right, that embraces angry spokespersons who offer radical change. This atmosphere of diminished trust in our political representatives may not directly fuel the anger over police shootings and retaliation against police that has reached such an ugly crescendo two years on from the events in Ferguson, but it makes resolution much more difficult. It’s a tall order to suppose that Christians can step in with solutions! We can’t in the short term. But we have voices and votes, and with both we can call for a renewal of civil discourse, and refuse to give our support to candidates offering angry, divisive, often xenophobic “solutions.” As important as Christianity’s voices and votes may be in the public square, however, those calls should begin at home, in our churches. Christians need to learn how deep are the resources of the faith for addressing politics, and they need to teach and encourage fellow believers to explore them.
SPRING 2016 | STILLPOINT 17
STILLPOINT: But does this make a difference when we actually vote? BRINK: I think it does! To vote is part of our Christian calling to join with our fellow citizens to discern justice and pursue the common good together. This is a responsibility and a remarkable privilege—even when it is a daunting one. But we should vote politically. Not all moral questions properly belong to the political sphere, and not all moral questions require a legislated response. So we need to think hard about the task of government and the nature of politics. We should also resist the temptation to see our principal task as judging the personal morality of candidates. Candidates’ personal morality pales in significance compared with their political morality. To assess how candidates see the role of government and how they regard the various questions we face, we need to consider each candidate’s programs, policy positions, and political principles. And of course we should vote to pursue public justice. Our vote cannot be determined by calculations of self-interest (lower taxes for me, lower fuel prices for me, etc.). To love our neighbors in politics is to pursue justice for our neighbors. That doesn’t mean that we have to ignore the concerns of our own families and communities—the point, rather, is that such concerns have to be considered within the context of a robust norm of public justice. STILLPOINT: Can we hope to pursue such robust ideals in our current political climate? BRINK: Well, I do believe we should vote in hope. Like many others, I am not enthused about the options before voters in November. Over the long run, I’d love to consider how structural changes to our electoral system might provide better choices. Yet I know in politics what I also know to be true in the rest of life: that Christ is risen! A politics of resurrection means that the long, slow work of pursuing justice is not work in vain, and that even a choice between two less-than-sterling candidates is still a choice that has kingdom significance. Politics is messy, and American
politics is particularly so, but the kingdom hope that is found in the Resurrection can carry Christians through the messiness of campaigns, into the voting booth, and on into the rest of our political lives. SHERRATT: A common put-down of those who cast a write-in vote, or vote for a minor party candidate, is that these votes are pointless, or even benefit the “wrong” major party candidate. We need to set aside that criticism. Faced with an electoral system that effectively confines citizens’ choices to the candidates put forward by the Democratic and Republican parties, if a citizen rejects those options, it is much better to pick a minor party candidate or to write in their preference than not to participate at all. That holds true even when the candidates are not as deeply flawed as are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A vote for a minor party candidate is a positive action: the citizen remains engaged and active. STILLPOINT: Does the current state of American politics ever discourage you? JACOBS: Not if I keep in mind that Christians are supposed to seek to understand the intent of arguments from the other side. Let’s take a look at Scripture. In his second letter to the young church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul wants the Corinthians to read him correctly, in particular to understand his intent. Even though his first letter contained correction and exhortation, he deeply cares about the Corinthians and desires the best for their spiritual development. Differences in perceived intent lead to variations in understanding. Take Genesis 3:9, for instance. After Adam ate the forbidden fruit, God called out to him, “Where are you?” How do you read this? Is God, in righteous anger, shaking his fist at Adam? Or is God, wringing his hands, heartbroken over his now broken relationship with his beloved? We often focus exclusively on points of disagreement. But people who support different policies than we do have noble aims, too. The populist wants better economic opportunities; the conservative seeks flourishing families; and the liberal wants aid for the vulnerable. Take your argument to the public square, but listen to others like they are made in the image of God, treasured by the Creator, and as if Jesus died for them—because they are, he does, and Christ did—hopefully you’ll find politics not quite so discouraging.
Given our human wants, failings, aspirations and destiny, we are all squarely in the middle of politics. Timothy Sherratt
18 STILLPOINT | SPRING 2016
THE BODY POLITIC
Important as it is to seek justice within nations, Christianity calls us to seek global justice as well, not ignoring questions of geopolitics and stakes for future generations. Ruth Melkonian-Hoover
Michael Jacobs, assistant
Timothy Sherratt, professor,
Paul Brink, professor, contributed
chair, associate professor,
professor, recently published
recently published Power Made
a chapter, “Negotiating a
and director of international
“The Offensive Power of Regional
Perfect? Is There a Christian
Plural Politics: South Africa’s
affairs, was a recent guest
Trade Agreements” in the Journal
Politics for the Twenty-First
Constitutional Court” (ACU Press,
editor for the Review of Faith
of World Trade.
Century? (Cascade Books, 2016).
2011) in Walking Together, ed. Joel
and International Affairs. email@example.com
SPRING 2016 | STILLPOINT 19
Of the 15,000-some living Gordon and Barrington alumni, nearly 500 live and work in D.C./Metro. They’re a well-rounded group, claiming an array of undergrad majors and, in many cases, advanced degrees. Here are just four stories of our
w fro m e i V o Washington He e r ,
alumni who have made this vibrant region their arena—and their home.
Mark Epley ’89 General Counsel, Office of the Speaker of the House, U.S. House of Representatives
As senior advisor to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mark Epley briefs Rep. Ryan on legal and other matters; he also serves as Oversight Staff Director of the House Ways and Means Committee. A day’s work can include factfinding research on current legal issues, organizing strategy meetings, and building support for proposed legislation. A significant part of his work has involved sanctity of life and religious freedom issues, which frequently come before the House. These include such matters as the Select Committee on Infant Life—an
20 STILLPOINT | FALL 2016
investigation into the use of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood—and marriage equality and abortion controversies. Epley has worked for Rep. Ryan since mid-2013. When Ryan was drafted as Speaker of the House in late 2015, he brought several of his senior people with him, including Epley. “Paul Ryan’s highest commitment is to ideas,” Epley says. “He is a man of great faith and integrity.” The American Studies Program, recommended by Professor Bill Harper, first brought Mark to D.C. Among
other influential faculty was Luis Lugo, whose course required a short writing assignment due every day of class. From that discipline Mark learned to write plainly and clearly, something that distinguished him as he began his career in DC. Being senior advisor to the person third in line from the President is sometimes daunting. “The truth is that nobody tells you exactly what to do,” he says. “You have to figure it out. But God in his providence put me here, my boss trusted me, and that’s enough.”
The Brookings Institution
Faith and Reason Institute Pew Research Center T. Rowe Price
Dyn Corporation Palladium Group
National Symphony Orchestra National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of State
Environmental Protection Agency
National Academy of Sciences
National Department of Commerce
Drug Enforcement Agency
Smiths U.S. Geological Survey
Government / Politics
Think Tanks / Advocacy
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Metropolitan Washington, D.C. It’s 68.3 square miles of lowlands between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. It includes the nation’s capital, nine counties in Virginia, five counties in Maryland and one in West Virginia. It’s home to all three branches of the United States federal government, 176 foreign embassies, the World Bank, the International
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Monetary Fund and other international and national headquarters. At least 50 think tanks all across the ideological spectrum, and too many businesses and nonprofits to count. Not to mention landmarks like the Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln Monuments, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. Each map location noted here represents at least one Gordon graduate’s
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
workplace—and sphere of influence.
Heritage Action for America
Heritage Foundation Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
U.S. Senate U.S. Capitol U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
Library of Congress
Challenger Center for Space Science Education
FALL 2016 | STILLPOINT 21
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Santiago Sedaca ’94
Shapri D. LoMaglio ’02
Melissa Pratt-Zossoungbo ’03
international development specialist
Vice President for Government Relations & Executive Programs, Council for Christian Colleges & Universities
policy analyst, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
“At Gordon I learned that all we do should be used to build God’s Kingdom,” says Santiago Sedaca. As Vice President for Economic Growth for the Palladium Group, one of the largest international development consulting firms in the world, Santiago advises firms and governments on project areas including agricultural development, trade and investment promotion, workforce development, and policy reform. “The goal,” he says, “is to help underserved people in developing countries in a variety of ways.” A project in Uganda finances training, through a Ugandan grain miller, for 12,000 maize farmers to bring their product up to a more competitive standard. As a result, incomes have increased by over 120%. In Ghana, Palladium helps banks develop financial products that make it possible for farmers to buy tractors, significantly increasing the famers’ productivity. In Central America, Santiago has worked with governments to help them take advantage of CAFTA, the first free-trade agreement between the United States and Central America. An economics and political studies major at Gordon, Santiago spent a semester on the American studies program in Washington, D.C.
“I take the case for Christian higher education to the public square: to lawmakers, the media, academia, and the church,” says Shapri LoMaglio, J.D., who leads CCCU’s response to legislative, legal, and regulatory matters on behalf of the Council’s 141 U.S. members. “My job is to fight for every legislative and legal provision that allows our schools to be faithful to their Christ-centered missions.” Increasingly, she says, her job takes her into the midst of the so-called “culture wars.” But she’s wondered what it would be like to “win” that war. “Is it even possible? Ultimately I’ve determined that it is not—not because we will cede or acquiesce in our Christian character or calling, but rather because the very paradigm of the culture war is flawed. In pursing winning, we have sometimes made enemies of fellow flesh-and-blood people who are made in the image of God. We have severed relationships instead of building them and alienated other image bearers instead of welcoming them.” The job is challenging but also a joy: “I’m a product of a Christian liberal arts education. I have the opportunity to promote that, to say that this is a transformative experience that empowers people. It’s life-transforming for this world and for the Kingdom.”
A recent day’s agenda: answer questions from Congress about funding for a tornado project in the southeastern U.S., ocean acidification research in the Pacific and Arctic, and research on the impacts of climate on fish stocks in New England. As a budget analyst for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Melissa Pratt-Zossoungbo translates lab science into materials that can be understood by a non-scientist— most often, members of Congress. Her background blends technical training with hands-on, on-the-ground experience. In the Peace Corps, between her marine biology concentration at Gordon and her master’s degree program in coastal sciences and marine botany, she trained environmental protection agents in Benin to protect rare turtles and manatees— and empowered girls by forming an environmental club and leadership camp. As she advocates for research about the complex systems that support our planet, at times Gordon memories come to mind. “When I run the water to wash my face, I wonder if Dr. Boorse washes her face with cold water or lets the water run until it is hot,” she says. “Gordon not only impacted my career trajectory, but my daily life.”
Jerusalem and Athens Forum Essay Contest In Gordon’s “great books” program, the Jerusalem and Athens Forum, students encounter profound thinkers from throughout the ages: philosophers, poets and novelists, foundational scientists, theologians and political thinkers. For the 2016 JAF essay contest, students focused on the very nature of their joint enterprise with essays that make the case for the liberal arts.
Winning essay Glass Houses and the Liberal Arts
My freshman year of college was met with a number of challenges. Not the typical ones, though, that maybe you’re expecting. There was no freshman fifteen, no binge drinking, no frat hazing, nothing that would translate well into a trashy teen movie. My challenges, in all honesty, were ones that I expect only a student of the liberal arts would truly understand. Ever experience a crippling existential crisis? Yes, the liberal arts did a real job on me. They took my notion that I can actually know anything, and completely obliterated it. Before that one class with my favorite philosophy professor, my mind was just a glass house of ideas—comfortable, but weak. He ruthlessly hurled rocks at
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my preconceptions-called-ideas, and I helplessly watched as that house shattered into a million pieces. I am beginning to suspect that the liberal arts have a hidden agenda of embedding deep, lasting ontological discomfort in its students. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not intending to speak negatively of the liberal arts. What emerged from this discomfort was actually something quite beautiful. Complexity. Nuance. Tension. The liberal arts made me critical of platitudes. Anything that appears to be an easy answer is automatically subject to intense scrutiny. Alongside that scrutiny, though, I learned to hold ideas in tension, recognizing that I most certainly do not have all of the answers, and an outright and unconsidered rejection of anything is arrogance.
Aristotle, a strong advocate for the artes liberales, is said to have quipped that the mark of an educated mind is the ability to “entertain a thought without accepting it.” Indeed, the liberal arts strive to inculcate just this tendency. I would add, too, that it is the mark of an educated mind to hold ideas gently, recognizing the tension that exists. This tension derives from the humbling admittance that we are finite beings, intellects included. To be truly educated is almost to be submissive to the limits of our knowledge, and to have a bit of that heart knowledge that Pascal likes to talk about in his Pensées. To entertain an idea seriously, however, is no simple task. Indeed, to truly internalize this practice is to live quite radically.
Story Kevin Nell ’16, India Boland ’17 and Hannah Wardell ’16
To begin, mastering this practice reflects an intense recognition of the humanity in everyone. To interact with someone, perhaps someone with a fundamentally different worldview, and to take his or her outlook on life seriously, is to radically humanize that person. It is to recognize that each one of us is, at our core, a person worthy of respect. Pushing this idea further, to take the liberal arts seriously is to subvert unjust societal norms. It is to go against the grain—the modus operandi of our times that we all too often mindlessly submit to. What ends up happening, when our minds are taught how to learn, is that we reject the notion that we are specific cogs in the larger corporate machine. The liberal arts, done right, are inherently subversive. They toss to the wind all notions of anti-
intellectualism—of valuing career over intellectual honesty, or appearance and public image over self-aware reality. Particularly in our broken system of higher education, the prevailing trend is to advertise to students based solely on the likelihood of being hired post-grad, or having a prestigious summer internship; generally, the question asked is “How does this benefit me?” Liberal arts, at least in theory, reject this notion. The question is shifted from the individualistic, capitalistic, masculine idea of ownership and mastery, to the communal questions of “How will this better us all?” and “How will this allow us to see each other as human-beings?” The liberal arts want to recognize our entire humanity—messiness and all.
We need to allow ourselves to be creative—to make without expectation of release, without fear of failure, without desire for recognition. To learn, to create, and to expand our interests to fields unrelated to our job translates into better understanding of each other, our world, and ourselves.
Kevin Neil is a math major with interests in religion and social justice. He hopes to pursue the priesthood in the Episcopal Church, and worships at St. Stephen’s in Lynn, MA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Honorable Mention | excerpt The Imago Dei and the Liberal Arts
Honorable Mention | excerpt Swimming with Giants
Earlier this year, I sat down with a good friend the day after she’d had her first class in the new cadaver lab. Over cups of coffee, while I was still rubbing away the sleep from my eyes, she described seeing a human body in full—the culmination of years of study.
Usually when people ask me about the Christian liberal arts, I tell them it feels a little like drowning. Upon entry, they ask, “What is the good life?” and push you in.
She spoke of the relationship between the organs of the body with the same eloquence that a poet might use to describe an ocean, or a mountain, or a lover. Years of complex and often frustratingly detailed readings about anatomy and physiology suddenly took on new meaning. We talked about the primary function of the mind: is it to reason, to find truth? I, an international affairs student, and she, a biology major, sat together, equally contributing to a complex dialectic on the most important of concepts.
When I was little, my friends and I had underwater tea parties cross-legged on the pool floor. Now, this is what I do with the minds of the ages in the sea of big questions. Initially, I recoil at the thought of this. I am supposed to be standing on the shoulder of giants, not swimming with them! But then I realize that this is the honor of the liberal arts: you are taught how to swim, befriended, by giants. Read the full essays at www.gordon.edu/jafessay
India Boland studies international affairs, Middle
Political science major Hannah Wardell interned
Eastern studies and economics. She has led three
this summer in the Washington, D.C., office of her
international service-learning trips, and spent the
Colorado congressman. She served as a Gordon
summer in Northern Ireland and in Jordan. She
Presidential Fellow in the Office of Strategic
loves running, reading and burritos.
Communications and Marketing.
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The Tempo of the Game; the Tempo of Life Five alumni athletes share life lessons learned on (and off) Gordon’s playing fields.
Samantha Huge ’92
“What’s most rewarding about my job is building relationships with the student athletes, being a part of an enterprise that helps them grow in their confidence and leadership skills.” That’s Samantha Huge, who, in May 2014, was named Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator at Texas A&M University. She not only oversees six sports programs directly, but is also a member of the senior management team providing leadership to Texas A&M’s mammoth athletic operations. According to Samantha, while you do need a degree to be successful, getting involved and gaining experience (whether internships or volunteer work) are key. Experience and exposure, she says, are two critical assets of her career in higher education. Looking back on her years at Gordon, Huge says that what truly impacted her were the professors-turned-mentors. Under their “amazing guidance,” Gordon became a place for open conversations from a Christian perspective. That, plus her close relationships with teammates, staff and friends were foundational in shaping this Aggie fan into the leader she is today.
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B. J. Craig ’93
In February 2013, B. J. Craig was promoted to associate head coach for the Fighting Irish Soccer team at Notre Dame University. During B. J.’s seven seasons since, Notre Dame has won several championships as well as a slew of awards and draft picks. What’s best about his role at the University, B. J. says, is “the opportunity to work with great kids and help them go forth in academics and soccer, and on the national stage.” When challenges arise, he encourages his players “to remain true to who you are.” Back when B. J. was a student at Gordon, he played on the Men’s Soccer Team. “I was surrounded by teammates, coaches and professors who were essential in cultivating growth within the community.” His experience prepared him for life’s teamwork. B. J.’s advice for future graduates pursuing leadership or coaching positions is, as the Fighting Irish say, Festina Lente, or, “hurry slowly.” “It represents not only the tempo of a game but of life itself,” he says. “Make the most of every opportunity by learning with each step. Be an influence where you are and prepare for where God calls you to serve next.”
Story Alex Rivera ’16
Erin Ovalle ’04
Once a tennis player on Gordon’s Women’s Tennis Team, Erin Ovalle ’04 is now host of the WGME TV show MaineLife, traveling the state and highlighting its people and places. Prior to MaineLife (which made its debut in 2015) Erin was a news anchor on WMTW. Now, she says, “I get to work for myself, be on the road, and converse with the people of Maine.” Along with her own TV show, Erin co-owns a dress boutique with a friend who shares her love of great fashion. The boutique specializes in evening and special-occasion wear, wedding attire and business casual. “This is my first real entrepreneurial enterprise,” she says. “It’s a lot of fun.” Being class president was an important part of Erin’s time at Gordon. “Taking hold of that experience,” she says, “I was able to build confidence in my communication skills and leadership ability. It’s about finding the right fit that will carry you forward to the next step in life.” Experience and leadership, she says, are essential in both her media and entrepreneurial ventures. “Put yourself out there, get to know people, and know that there’s more hard work than glamour.” Andrew Arnold ’12
In the fall of 2007, Andrew Arnold came to Gordon and joined the Men’s Swim Team. However, during his camping weekend for Discovery, Andrew fell 40 feet from a tree (he was reading a book during some leisure time). His injuries included a fracture-dislocation of his T8/ T9 vertebrae and paralysis from his mid-stomach down—a grim diagnosis for this avid athlete. After taking a year off for rehab, Andrew returned to Gordon in a wheelchair. In the fall of his senior year, though, he began to work out with the swim team and regain his upper body strength. Regular physical therapy helped strengthen his lower body. Eventually, miraculously, he was able to walk with the aid of a cane. After graduation, Andrew taught and coached at the YMCA in Beverly, where he met a coach for Paralympic swimmers. “I started working really hard,” he says. “Swimming became the front-and-center dedication of my life. Training proved difficult at times, but what really motivated me was knowing how much support I had from my family and friends, people who knew me before I got hurt and were there as I rediscovered myself.”
Andrew competed in the Paralympic trials for Rio 2016. Though he missed the qualifying time, he reveled in the opportunity to meet others like himself. “The athletes of the Paralympics have so much perseverance for swimming across 50-foot pools, which is hard enough for able-bodied athletes. It was so encouraging to interact with these people.” He hopes to try out for the Paralympics again in the future. Richard Armand ’16
Richard Armand played guard on the Gordon Men’s Basketball Team and helped lead his team to victory at the 2014 Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship. This summer, recruited by Coach Tod Murphy, Richard worked as a counselor for Gordon’s annual Basketball Camp. He helped oversee 70 kids, running drills, coordinating games and stepping into the role of coach. “It was a lot of fun and I loved working with the kids!” he says. Reflecting on his four years at Gordon, Richard noted the interconnectedness of basketball and education in his role as a leader. “Being a coach for the basketball camp allowed me to combine teaching and athletics. It’s a rewarding experience.” Transitioning into post-college life, Richard will work for the Cintas Corporation, which provides specialized services to businesses. “Being on a sports team meant sharing a goal and working throughout the year to achieve it. There’s communication, mutual respect and putting others before yourself”—all of which helped prepare him for his new role.
Alexandria Rivera, an English language and literature major, has worked at Gordon in the Admissions and College Communications offices. She hopes, one day, to return to the land of art, gelato and green, green hills (Orvieto, Italy, where Gordon’s study-abroad program for the arts and humanities is located).
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HOME COMING LLEG
September 30â€“October 1
CONCERT Homecoming Lecture:
Marv Wilson Author and Blogger
Lighthouse & the Whaler
Published on Sep 29, 2016