A Much Wider View
abbatical—the word usually brings smiles to Gordon faculty faces. Now Jan and I know why. Our sabbatical began in early July and ended with a Christmas crescendo. Early August mornings were spent in reflective solitude in the English countryside outside Oxford. September took us to Gordon’s overseas program in Orvieto, Italy, where we lingered with students over morning coffee and enjoyed the magnificent views from that hilltop city. Throughout the sabbatical we often shared dinners with old friends and nurtured new friendships in places like Aix-en-Provence— another Gordon program—Amsterdam, Oslo and London. On Sundays we worshipped with the people of God from many nations, sometimes in languages strange to our ears. Whether in a charismatic fellowship in Vienna or a cathedral in Stockholm, we encountered God’s Spirit among His people. The 2002 Advent season was unforgettable for us as we were introduced to customs in Norway, Sweden and England—for the first time experiencing Christmas outside the United States, away from family and familiar traditions. For many years I have appreciated radio broadcasts of the Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols service from London’s Westminster Abbey. So it was with particular joy we joined with thousands of others in the Abbey to sing carols, listen to Scripture and be uplifted by the magnificent organ and choir. Wherever we gathered to celebrate Christ’s birth, prayers for peace were not seasonal routines. A deep sense of concern brought people together to plead before God for peace in the face of uncertainty across the world. In our reflective moments we prayed for our nation’s leaders who wrestle with the possibility that misuse of power by another nation sometimes justifies war. Realizing that war should be the last resort, we also prayed that we would exemplify Jesus’ Sermon-on-the-Mount mandate to be peacemakers when conflicts threaten our families, our nation and the world. We returned to campus refreshed and broadened—with a much wider view of the world, a renewed passion to enhance student learning and an even stronger dedication to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.
T.S. Eliot, in his poem Four Quartets, refers to God as the “still point of the turning world.”
Editor Patricia C. McKay ’65 Director of College Communications and Marketing Patti Sellers Bubna Public Relations Specialist Chris Underation Publication Design Lora E. Maggiacomo ’92 Printer DS Graphics Lowell, Massachusetts Stillpoint the magazine for alumni Stillpoint, and friends of the united college of Gordon and Barrington, is published three times a year and has a circulation of 23,000. Send address changes to the Development Office, or email to email@example.com. Send other correspondence to: Editor, Stillpoint Gordon College 255 Grapevine Road Wenham, Massachusetts 01984 firstname.lastname@example.org Visit our website at: www.gordon.edu Reproduction of Stillpoint in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Gordon College is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, or national or ethnic origin.
Volume 19, Number 2 Spring 2003
Experiences That Shape Us IFC
Up Front by Jud Carlberg A Much Wider View
On & Off Campus by Chris Underation
New Residence Nyland Hall by Pat McKay ’65
Enriching our Understanding of Christian Vocation by Thomas Albert Howard
One hundred and thirty-five women moved into the new residence, named for David Nyland and his family.
The Lilly Endowment has awarded the largest programrelated grant in Gordon’s history.
Journeys in the Landscape of Memories: A Search for Answers by Charles Marsh ’80 Alumnus Charles Marsh tells how white evangelical Christians acquiesced to the Ku Klux Klan and how his father found the courage to share in the vision of an integrated South.
Seed Planting: Returning with Songs of Joy by Jennie Hutchinson ’02
Jennie Hutchinson reflects on her student trip to South Africa and what it taught her about racism, reconciliation and responsibility.
Profs & Programs New Center for Balance and Mobility by Sean Clark ’88
Professor Sean Clark introduces a new outreach program at Gordon to assist the elderly with balance and mobility problems.
A leader of the Gordon College Republicans talks about her involvement with local, state and national politics last fall.
Marine scientist David Shull and recreation and leisure studies enthusiast Peggy Hothem are interesting in class and out. PHOTOS ON COVER, IFC, TABLE OF CONTENTS AND PAGES 4–7, 14, 19 AND 23 BY FRANK SITEMAN
Point of View Students Lead Protest by Rachel Ribeiro ’03
Gordon students take a stand against the pornographic advertising of Abercrombie & Fitch.
Alums at Large To Live Again by Lance Williams ’78
Faculty Profiles Meet Gordon Faculty by Elizabeth Ross White
Gifts & Giving One of a Kind by Rick Klein ’93
Eighty-four-year-old alumna Ronny Lanier still holds three jobs—and cheers for Gordon.
Student-Athlete Profiles Meet Gordon Student-Athletes by Stephen Leonard ’94
Scott Beebe ’03 and Lauren Barnes ’04 are high achievers in scholarship and athletics.
Alumnus Lance Williams shares his life-changing experiences with a virulent form of leukemia.
Student Story Political Intrigue by Jordan Thomas ’04
Raves & Rebuffs
A Conversation about Truth
On & Off Campus
The Proper Time In most things, it is said, timing is everything. And Dr. Valerie Gin, after building up the volleyball program for 13 seasons, has decided to turn her attention to the classroom as a full-time faculty member. After leading the Fighting Scots to a best-ever 35-2 record, including a school record—a 28match winning streak—and a berth in the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament, Coach Gin announced the time was right to begin a new phase in her life. Over her 13 seasons the volleyball team has compiled a 296-190 (.603) record. In each of the last three seasons the team has set records. This past season Gin was named the New England Coach of the Year by the New England Women’s Volleyball Association. “Val has built a strong program that serves as a model for other teams in our department, and she will be missed,” said Athletic Director Joe Hakes. “The good news is that Gordon isn’t going to lose her.” Along with her new faculty position in recreation and leisure studies, Val will continue to expand her work in the study and implementation of sports ministry.
In Sharp Focus The New England Society for Microscopy made Gordon College its home shortly before Christmas, holding a 36th annual fall symposium and business meeting in Lane Student Center and A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. Many students and faculty from the Biology Department attended the symposium and were treated to the research of scholars from the 2
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and the University of Central Florida.
Back to the Future In the fall of 2003 Gordon will welcome its first cohort of students admitted as New City Scholars. These students—coming from a variety of racial backgrounds—have been selected from among a competitive group of applicants. The program is a joint endeavor between Gordon and the Boston Education Collaborative to recruit urban students to Gordon. Students in this cohort come from Boston communities such as Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Cambridge. It is hoped the New City Scholars Program will enrich the intellectual community at Gordon by providing greater awareness of varying cultural perspectives.
Making Beautiful Music The Gordon community was delighted to learn just after the first of the year that James Buswell, director of the Gordon Symphony Orchestra, had been nominated for a Grammy Award. Buswell was nominated in the category “Best Instrumental Solo Performance with an Orchestra.” The piece that earned him the honor was a Samuel Barber Concerto that featured a violin solo. Interestingly, the piece was performed two years ago with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra before being released by Naxos. At the Grammys on February 23 Buswell was up against very SPRING 2003
stiff competition. Hilary Hahn, violin (Academy of St. Martin in the Fields), walked away with the award.
On the Air For 13 weeks beginning March 3, Jan Carlberg is featured in a series of two-minute devotional moments on WEZE-AM in Boston, the primary Christian radio outlet in new England. These messages feature meditations taken from her most recent book, The Welcome Song and Other Stories from a Place Called Home (Baker Book House Company, 1999). Airing throughout the day, the messages bring joy and a downhome look at issues that face all of us as Christians. The devotionals were paid for by a grant given to Gordon by a local donor.
Athletics Roundup Last issue we told of the success of Gordon’s fall sports teams. In the final accounting the Fighting Scots fall teams combined for a record of 91-18-2 (.819). The women’s soccer team advanced to the Eastern College Athletic Conference finals, and men’s soccer and field hockey made it to the ECAC quarterfinals. The women’s tennis team lost in the CCC semifinals, and the men’s and women’s cross-country teams finished second and fourth in their respective CCC tournaments. Lindsey Benson fi nished the fall with 43 goals to lead NCAA Division III women’s soccer, and fell one short of the national Division III record. Gordon’s basketball teams also had a successful run. The men’s team was 20-7; the women’s basketball team was 16-13. Both made the ECAC New England playoffs. The men’s swimming team was 3-7; the women were 3-10.
Still Journeying . . . Still Serving
Faculty Focus Russ Camp, biology professor, was
elected biological director of New England Society for Microscopy for 2003–2004 at a meeting held at Gordon in December. Peggy Hothem, chair of recreation
and leisure studies, was awarded the Peter C. O’Brien Humanitarian Award during the annual state conference of the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association. The highest honor the association gives, the award is presented to one who has worked to further recreation, park, therapeutic and leisure service fields. At the same meeting one of her students, Angela Linsalato ’03, was given the association’s Outstanding Student Award. Dong Wang, assistant professor of
history, delivered a paper titled “Between Two Worlds: China’s Experience with Modern Education (1888–1951)” at the symposium Reinterpreting the East Asia Christianity, held at Shanghai University, China.
COURTESY OF AUTEUR PRODUCTIONS
More than a year ago the film Jews and Christians: A Journey of Faith began to spread around the nation, making Dr. Marvin Wilson’s book (on which the film is based) known to a national audience. Jews and Christians is still running on public television stations around the United States and is now available in a new form—DVD. Regular price is $35, but a special rate is available for readers of Stillpoint. Please contact Auteur Productions at 301.299.6554. On a related note, the North Shore B’nai B’rith selected Wilson as its 2002–2003 Man of the Year. He was honored during a special evening event, and greetings came from all over the world. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews wrote, “I just came out of a meeting with the prime minister [Ariel Sharon], who asked me to share with all our Christian friends how deeply appreciative he and the people of Israel are to Christian friends, indeed, leaders like Marvin Wilson.” Gordon’s College Choir performed at the event and was praised for their excellence by those in attendance.
A sampling of faculty accomplishments and activities outside the classroom Priscilla Nelson, Becky Pitkin and Donna Robinson, all members of the
Education Division, led a session titled “Foundations of Reading: One College’s Journey to Making Curricular Changes” at the Massachusetts Educator’s Conference. The session examined how the curriculum must change to meet state curriculum frameworks. Harold Heie, director of the Center
for Christian Studies, contributed a chapter to the book Teaching as an Act of Faith, which will be published by Fordham University Press. His chapter deals with the topic “Developing a Christian Perspective on the Nature of Mathematics.” Stephen Smith and Bruce Webb ,
both economics professors, published the fall edition of the journal Faith and Economics along with Gordon College. The Journal of Youth Ministry was also published by Gordon College through the efforts of Mark Cannister
of the Youth Ministries Department. Cannister serves as managing editor for the publication. Tal Howard, History Department,
has received word his new book will be published by Oxford University Press. Titled Protestant Theology in the Making of the Modern German University, the book was largely the result of the support he received from a Pew Evangelical Scholars grant. A second book by Steve Alter, History Department, will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press. William Dwight Whitney and the Science of Language investigates this pioneer in the study of Sanskrit and linguistics. Ming Zheng , a biology professor,
has written two chapters for a new book titled Haploids in Crop Plants. The two chapters are about wheat and maize and will be published by Kluwer Academic Press in the Netherlands.
n mid-January Nyland Hall became the new home for 135 women
previously housed in Sheppard and Byington. Nyland joins Tavilla and Fulton Halls on the knoll overlooking the main entrance to Gordon.
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
PAT MCKAY ’65
hen classes started second semester, Brittany Diane Nanni was one of the first students to move into Nyland Hall, Gordon’s newest residence. At first this may not seem like news, but if it’s possible to be at home away from home, it would be true for Brittany. That’s because her new residence is named in memory of her grandfather, David Nyland, and family. “I got chills when I saw the building for the first time,” David’s wife, Diane, says. “Dave would have loved it. We were so pleased when the opportunity came along to support Gordon College and honor his memory in the naming of this hall,” she says. Diane came with her family in January to see the hall and help her granddaughter settle in. David and the Nyland family have been longtime financial supporters of Gordon both personally and through their company, White Engineering Surfaces Corporation—recognized as a world leader in surface engineering technologies. The coatings and products White developed are used worldwide on millions of parts, including in our defense and military industries. Their technologies can be found on satellites and space probes to enhance performance; in medical implants to increase biocompatibility; and in rocket and jet engines to make them more efficient and durable. White’s
Diane and David Nyland; granddaughter Brittany Nanni ’06.
technology can even be found in your home computer, improving its reliability and performance. David Nyland was educated at The Ohio State University and Fenn College in Cleveland and earned degrees in engineering and business. In military service as a top secret bomb disposal ordinance officer in the U. S. Navy, he was capable of disarming an atomic bomb. After being discharged from active duty as executive officer at Naval Ammunition Depot Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, he worked for Union Carbide. One day he asked Diane how she’d feel about starting their own business. She responded optimistically, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” They began the company in their garage in 1962. The Nylands chose Proverbs 3: 5–6 for a plaque that will be placed in Nyland Hall: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (KJV). Diane says that was the essence of Dave’s life. He was a generous, compassionate, loving and courageous man—always finding ways to help people. When their children were looking for colleges, they heard about Gordon through their church. All three attended: Christopher Miller Nyland ’82, Lucy Nyland Nanni ’80
and Sarah Nyland Elliott ’81. “They were happy at Gordon,” Diane says. “And we were very glad to find a good, Christian school where they would receive personal attention from their instructors. And now we’re so pleased to have Brittany attending as well.” Years ago—seeing the fruit of a Gordon education in her grandchildren—David’s mother, Ernestine C. Nyland, became a faithful supporter of the College. The Nylands established a scholarship in her memory in 1989 and enjoyed their visits to campus to meet recipients over the years. They later funded the relocation of the original stained-glass windows from Prince Chapel to A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel as well as construction of J. Tec White soccer field in honor of Diane’s father, a professional player from Glasgow, Scotland. They also provided the Steinway piano for Phillips Recital Hall. “Over time our involvement escalated,” Diane says. “The people at Gordon have been terrific to work with.” A dedication was planned for April 5. An update on that occasion will be in the Summer 2003 issue of Stillpoint. 5
Enriching Our Understanding of
Christian A $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, among the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations, constitutes the largest programrelated grant in Gordon’s history, enabling us to launch new initiatives and support existing ones more generously.
Christian education in the evangelical tradition does many things extremely well. It imparts knowledge and ties it to eternal truth. It also attempts to apply the principles of that truth to present-day life. Still, there are some areas where scholars and educators recognize we can do better. We could perhaps be more serious about the life of the mind, raising it to a par with the life of the spirit. We could focus more sharply on the breadth of Christian theology and expend the time and effort necessary to do more than confirm our own theological habits of mind as we study the beliefs and traditions of other streams of Christianity. We could also think more intentionally about how to relate what goes on at Gordon to the needs of actual churches.
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
These concerns and others moved a team of faculty and staff at Gordon to apply for a large grant from the Lilly Endowment. Fortunately, Gordon was one of only 39 schools to receive a grant out of a nationwide applicant pool of 300. The grant program was designed to help church-related colleges and universities explore the theological idea of vocation. Vocation here is meant not only in the narrow sense of encouraging students to prepare for specific forms of clerical/Christian service, but also in a broader sense of helping the entirety of a school’s constituents consider more intentionally what it means, from a Christian standpoint, to live wisely and think well. How can Gordon College better serve—loyally but critically—American evangelicalism and thereby enrich our collective understanding
of vocation? A $2 million Lilly Grant entitled “Critical Loyalty: Christian Vocation at Gordon College” has given the College the opportunity to search out answers to this question. The grant was designed with a twofold mission: to fortify the best in our evangelical heritage and to help the College critically evaluate some aspects of this heritage for the sake of “institutional self-reflection and repositioning,” that we might be a more thoughtful, discerning, and learned community. It’s this latter, candid, ruminative element that perhaps helped distinguish Gordon’s application from those of other institutions. To be implemented over a five-year period—from 2003 to 2008—the grant was ambitiously designed “to rethink and reenvision some aspects of the College and its
Vocation role in the landscape of Christian and American education . . . [in order to] offer more efficacious leadership within the broader ambit [scope] of American evangelicalism.” Many if not all of the grant components were designed, explicitly or implicitly, to help meet these challenges. The grant calls for the establishment of four new programs: • Church Vocation Institute (CVI), located in the Office of the Chapel, is a special institute to help students and alumni formulate a theological framework for understanding vocation; to assist students in connecting with specific seminaries and church bodies; and to oversee the establishment of a Church Advisory Council. This Council will be made up of area clergy reflecting diverse denominational backgrounds; it will meet to foster better connections between the College and the church bodies of the North Shore and greater Boston region. • Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF) is a great books program for upper-level students and a campus-wide discussion forum. It is designed to promote an appreciation of the Christian intellectual and literary tradition and foster its appropriation as a means for understanding and
THOMAS ALBERT HOWARD
engaging contemporary culture. Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Luther, Bunyan, Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, C. S. Lewis and Martin Luther King, among others, will be examined. • Project for the Church and the Public, housed in Gordon’s Center for Christian Studies, is an initiative to identify and assist faculty engaged in scholarly projects that have the potential to impact contemporary church life and the broader public square. Select faculty will be granted (on a competitive basis) release time and/or financial assistance to enable them to make their scholarly work accessible and useful to the Church and the general educated public while maintaining a high-level academic profile. • Faith Seeking Understanding is a speaker series designed to bring first-order guest lecturers to campus and through their presentations and discussions to spark a campus-wide conversation that extends the ethos of the grant to the College as a whole. We expect to hear topics ranging from the implications of globalization to the moral quandaries of biotechnology, among many other topics that warrant serious Christian thought these days. In addition to that above, the grant will assist us to expand, refor-
mulate and/or better support existing programs including the Faculty Mentoring Program; the first-year seminar Christianity, Character, and Culture; and the long-standing A. J. Gordon Scholars program. Along with the delight of receiving this grant come the challenges, which we will undoubtedly discover as the grant is implemented. We pray therefore to be faithful stewards of this delightful, challenging opportunity, that we may ever better serve Him who dwells among us.
Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard, associate professor of history at Gordon since 1999, served on the grant-writing committee. He will direct the new Jerusalem and Athens Forum. Tal holds a doctorate in European intellectual history from the University of Virginia.
Journeys in the Landscape of Memories:
A Search for Answers
In his memoir The Last Days: A Son’s Story of Sin and Segregation at the Dawn of a New South, alumnus Charles Marsh tells the story of how white evangelical Christians acquiesced to the terror of the Ku Klux Klan and how his father, a prominent Baptist minister, eventually found the courage to share in the vision of an integrated South.
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
CHARLES MARSH ’80
Coming of Age in the Magnolia Jungle From The Last Days, pages 13–15: We moved to Mississippi from the wire grass region of south Alabama, where the land was flat, like Midwestern farms, wide-open beneath a big sky. The earth was red-clay or loamy, and 50 miles south sifted into sandy soil and the shoreline of the gulf. I lived . . . on a country road two miles from town, in a redbrick rancher we never locked or considered locking. . . . But in Mississippi our house sat on an acre of land near the end of a cul-de-sac. Dogwood and magnolia trees bloomed at the first sign of spring. . . . In the oaks, Spanish moss hung like serpents around thick branches. . . . There was a tree house too, 10 feet off the ground, buttressed by four massive pines. There had never been a burglary on the street, or in the immediate neighborhood, for as long as anyone could remember. Still, our house at 8 Highland Woods, like many of the other houses in north Laurel, was equipped with security and surveillance systems—mostly self-rigged but foolproof still—to protect us from intrusion. The windows themselves were never opened, couldn’t be if you wanted them to, having long been sealed shut with screws and bolts rusted now into permanence. . . . Floodlights guarded the doorways to the house, one over the front porch that reached to the end of the sidewalk, one over the garage door . . . and a series of soundsensitive lights in the corner yard. . . . Our dog roamed the property unrestrained by fence, leash or discipline, and at least twice a year bit a visitor or delivery man. But no
one ever really complained. We were all in this together, so a canine’s teeth in the calf was a small price to pay for the greater white solidarity. Though my parents owned no firearms—a rare occurrence in the gun-slinging South—they made sure that hammers, letter openers, baseball bats, even a souvenir tomahawk I bought . . . were available if needed. You could find these hidden under mattresses or in bedside stands, stashed away in bathroom drawers or . . . in my mother’s bureau. When my father was away from town . . . my mother brought the weapons out of hiding to rest on the nightstand. We slept inside a locked bedroom, doors boobytrapped with bells and tilting chairs, the house and yard outside illuminated in brilliant noonday refulgence. I imagined the world beyond as a menacing stranger.
Journeys in the Landscape of Memory The Last Days, like most memoirs, began as a hunger to understand an intimate world, lost or stolen, that nonetheless continues to press itself into dreams, thoughts and actions. The book tells of my coming of age in the last days of the Jim Crow South as the son of a Southern Baptist minister in a town described by the FBI as the epicenter of southern terrorism. In 1993, at the age of 33, while teaching religion at a Jesuit college in Baltimore and writing monographs and articles on philosophical theol-
PHOTO COURTESY OF COVINGTON ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE INC.
Charles with his mother and father.
ogy, I began to notice the recurrence of certain words and images in my notebooks—words and images that evoked my childhood in Mississippi and seemed tangled up in my adult struggles with anxiety. Time and again I returned to the image of my family’s house, where at night the fears of the child were intensely felt as the town outside was saturated in violence. The decision to plow ahead into the unf unfamiliar territory of narrative nonfiction represented a kind of near desperate attempt to reconstruct the world of that house, to exorcise its demons, and to tell the child that things were going to be okay. In the summer of 1994 I returned to Laurel, Mississippi, for the first time in 25 years, with a vague notion that I might make sense of some of these haunting memories. There were nagging theological questions pressing themselves in as well because everywhere one turned during the civil rights years—in every mass meeting, church service and Klan rally—God’s name was invoked and His power claimed. As my friend writer Richard Ford has said, “When you have built into your society a completely irreconcilable human conflict, slavery and segregation, for instance, there are schisms and torques and breakage all around you, both about race and not about race, drama in other words.” I discovered that ordinary southern towns became theaters of action-packed theological drama.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY
The murder of Vernon Dahmer and the search for his killers is an important part of the historical context of The Last Days. Dahmer was a prosperous landowner and businessman who lived with his wife and family on a farm in the Kelly Settlement 30 miles from Laurel. Mr. Dahmer had told his fellow church members that they could pay their poll taxes at his general store, sparing themselves the trip to the county courthouse, where they would be harassed by the white circuit clerk and his minions. Dahmer even offered to cover the expenses for those poor blacks who could not afford the tax. In the early morning of January 10, 1966, Klansmen tossed Molotov cocktails into the windows of the family’s home. Mrs. Dahmer and the children escaped the burning house, but Mr. Dahmer, who stood on the front porch firing his shotgun at the retreating cars, died hours later from the smoke and flames. In early 1968 the FBI arrested more than a dozen Klansmen on charges related to the murder; included in the arrested was Clifford Wilson, the 1968 Laurel Jaycees Man of the Year. Above: The Dahmers’ burning house; civil rights marchers after Dahmer’s death. On page 8: Vernon Dahmer’s son after the fire.
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
Why did white evangelical Christians of the sort who raised and nurtured me in the faith remain largely indifferent to the suffering of African-Americans in the segregated South? Why did we concern ourselves so passionately with personal vices like drinking, card playing, movies, dancing and heavy petting but not lift a finger to help our black brothers and sisters living in terror amidst the daily installments of violence and misery? Why in all our zeal for missions and evangelism did we not consider compassion toward the victims of southern apartheid as one of the costs of discipleship? In 1997 I finished writing the book God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights. In it I tried to use my skills as a philosophical theologian to sort through these questions and paradoxes by telling the stories of five religious persons whose lives came into dramatic conflict during the Civil Rights Movement. I got some answers to my theological questions. The other questions, the ones still unanswered at the end of the evening, lay at the heart of The Last Days Days—questions about my father’s decisions and indecisions, and of my need to make them my own; to take on all the deep hates and the deep loves, to exist inside them for a while and somehow find a way out. Still, I wanted the book to be more than a reconstruction of an interior journey. I wanted to show the way in which the world within and without interpenetrated each other, or more precisely the way concern for the landscape of the soul eventually leads outward to the clashing and clanging social world. The writer Patricia Hampl says in her book I Can Tell You Stories, “The memoir begins as a hunger for a world . . . effaced by time or a more sudden brutality. In the act of remembering, the personal environment expands, resonates beyond itself, beyond its subject, into the endless and tragic recollection that is history.” The genre of the memoir at its best is attentive to the idiosyncratic details of historical reality. It has the courage to reckon with quirky requirements of perception. I wanted to use the peculiar frame of reference of this wide-eyed evangelical boy observing the tumultuous events in his town, church and family to capture the sensibility and moods of a cast of characters unfamiliar in the literature of the Civil Rights Movement. My memoir tells a different story—that of a small Mississippi town and of ordinary white and black people caught up in the whirlwind of the Civil Rights Movement and its fallout. My father’s embrace of the reconciling energies of the faith was at first slow and hesitant though finally undeniable. And importantly, the influence of such evangelical leaders as Billy Graham and Francis Schaeffer was pervasive in my father’s pilgrimage from son of the segregated South to preacher of the sermon “Amazing Grace for Every Race.” Billy Graham had long refused to hold crusades before segregated audiences, and this conviction stirred my father’s willingness to change, if not to see racial equality as ordained by God. “The ground at the foot of the cross is level,” Graham liked to say. Francis Schaeffer spoke even more directly to the shame of racism in American evangelicalism—and after the civil rights years he regretted he had not said even more. He regarded racism as one of the biggest hindrances to the credibility of the Church’s witness in the world.
Why not compassion? Why in all our zeal for missions and evangelism did we not consider compassion toward the victims of southern apartheid
as one of the costs of discipleship?
By the end of the ’60s my father was embracing the new Christian counterculture—the wild and whimsical Jesus movement—sporting a goatee like Schaeffer, taking us to Bible camps in California and to L’Abri in Switzerland, organizing a series of interfaith youth meetings in the city park, where rock bands, Jesus freaks and sometimes black students locked their arms together in prayer. To his congregation of Citizens’ Councilors and segregationists, my father called into question the church’s closed-door policy. After more than one industry hightailed it out of violent Jones County, where we lived, my father signed a declaration of church leaders against Klan terrorism. He refused to give church support to the creation of a Christian academy and pledged support to the public school system. By the end of 1969 the White Knights of the KKK were finished, and segregated public schools in Laurel were gone with the wind. My father was surely no largerthan-life hero, but an ordinary man living amidst the contingencies of time and place, and he was unable, like most of us, to transcend these contingencies and act in a manner untainted by culture, time or place. In the end it was the grace of God and not my father’s own will and imagina-
tion that enabled him to say goodbye to the old ordeal of segregation and embrace the vision of a new South. The Sunday morning came when he welcomed a black man down the aisle with a hug and overturned the closed-door policies of that Baptist congregation. Later, as pastor of a large, uptown church in Atlanta, my father formed vital partnerships with congregations in the inner city and community centers in distressed neighborhoods, and helped plant seeds of new interracial fellowship between black and white Christians. My father taught me that racism is a sin despised by God and that a life devoted to the peaceable Kingdom is a life well spent. My hope is that these sojourns into the landscape of memory in some way demonstrate the power of the gospel to burn through the accumulations of culture, race and custom, and shape men and women better able to become ambassadors of reconciliation.
M.T.S. in religion and culture from Harvard Divinity School and the M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophical theology from the University of Virginia. Marsh is also the author of Reclaiming Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Promise of His Theology (Oxford University Press, 1994) and God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights (Princeton University Press, 1997), which won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion in 1998. Charles and his wife, Karen, direct the nonprofit Theological Horizons, providing support for theological scholarship and education. They live with their three children in Bonhoeffer House near the university. Charles was Gordon’s 1998 Alumnus of the Year.
Excerpt from The Last Days: A Son’s Story of Sin and Segregation at the Dawn of a New South used with permission of Basic Books, 2001. Dr. Charles Marsh is director of the Project on Lived Theology and associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. He received the
returning with songs BY JENNIE
Above: Julia Hendrickson ’04 in center and Jennie on right with waitresses they met in South Africa. Left: A rape victim who contracted AIDS tells her story.
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
t was a strange sight in Frost lobby that cold March morning in the spring of 2002. Empty duffel bags waited expectantly on the marble slabs. The center table, piled with crayons and #2 pencils, looked more like an elementary school supply closet than the impressive antique it is. Nearby a circle of 17 students and faculty held promises in their hands. Mine read, “He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:6.” Five hours later we flew out of Logan Airport with anticipation and duffel bags of supplies. I wondered what we would bring back with us after spring break in Capetown. A week later I flew home with a desire I couldn’t shake—to keep alive what we learned BY PAT MCKAYto’65 there and convince other students make the trip. As the first joint group of Gordon students and administrators to visit Capetown, we became scouts for a potential consortium program between Gordon and a Christian college there. The members of our group were drawn to South Africa for different reasons—some sparked by the 2001 convocation series “Lessons from the United States and South Africa: Case Studies in Transformation”; others were encouraged by Associate Provost Dr. Herma Williams, who initiated the series and has visited South Africa over 14 times. I joined the group after reading a South African autobiography for a sociology class; Rian Malan’s My Traitor’s Heart challenged me with hard questions about race and reconciliation. I went to S.A. searching for answers to our own nation’s troubled history of racism; the responsibility of the Church in reconciliation; and how I as a privileged, white American should live in a torn world. As we witnessed both the
Why Is It Important for Our Students and Faculty to Understand and Embrace Diversity at Gordon? Alumna Jennie Hutchinson reflects
on her student trip to South Africa and what it taught her about racism, reconciliation and responsibility.
remains of apartheid and the courageous people who are changing the future there, it was difficult to fathom the history I had been oblivious to during my lifetime. If you looked through our photo albums from the trip, you’d see Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island; District 6, where a thriving black community was bulldozed during apartheid to make room for white homes that were never built; a woman of great faith telling us her story of contracting AIDS from a brutal rape, and her hope of helping other AIDS victims. You’d also see the rugged beauty of the Cape of Good Hope; the bright-eyed children of an elementary school where we painted the library and delivered much-needed supplies; the diverse and enthusiastic chapel service we attended at Cornerstone Christian College. It is enormously beneficial for professors and students to see Africa with their own eyes—to grapple with continuing issues surrounding race and economic disparity between classes. I will never forget passing block after block of apartheid-era, ramshackle, black townships lining the highway driven by rich, predominantly white travelers on their way from the airport downtown to modern skyscrapers and waterfront condos. My first impulse was to want to help more. But—though it shamed me—I found myself more absorbed with hoping the school kids would love me, a white outsider. Through
the experience I realized true reconciliation is not about service projects; it’s about forgiveness and learning how to love and be loved by God and those who seem different from us. This might mean we need to first of all weep for the pain of the past. Then with our brothers and sisters in South Africa we can start planting, and watch and wait for the seeds to grow. “The plan of God is bigger than all of us,” Dr. Williams said, reminding us daily it is God who plants the seed through us, and we shouldn’t expect to see fruit immediately. Today, more than a year later, the antique table in Frost Lobby stands dignified, devoid of crayons and #2 pencils. But the possibilities between Gordon and South Africa are still full of promise as God moves in His mysterious ways. Jennie majored in communications and sociology with a minor in visual arts at Gordon. She resides in North Carolina and hopes to return to South Africa someday.
Jennie Hutchinson on Robben Island.
It is central to God’s heart. Diversity is not a fad. From Genesis to Revelation we can easily trace the consistency with which God expresses a desire to reconcile all peoples in every conceivable way we have divided ourselves. What made the earliest communities of Christians stand out and seem such a threat to the Roman Empire was that they paid for their commitment with their lives; the followers of Jesus Christ came together from across various sectors of society—sectors that in human nature had no business being together. But God made of one blood all nations. It is central to Gordon’s mission. Gordon’s Mission Statement makes clear the intention of the College to “strive to graduate men and women distinguished by intellectual maturity and Christian character, committed to a lifestyle of service, and prepared for leadership roles worldwide.” A community limited in the diversity of its perspectives will have a difficult time preparing leaders who will make a worldwide impact. It is the future of Christianity. Demographic sources report that the face of not only this country but the world is changing. Moreover, the face of Christianity itself has been undergoing a substantial change over the last century. In order to fulfill the global commission given to the Church, Christian institutions in the United States must demonstrate a greater relevance to the global community. Those that continue to serve a small subset of society will be unable to effect a worldwide impact. Attendance to diversity matters must be a central concern at Gordon. But how, you may ask, can we be totally diverse if we require adherence to a Christian worldview? The answer is that while we embrace the same faith, it is necessary and valuable to achieve a campus population of differing national and economic backgrounds as well as varying racial experience. The application of our faith will be different for each of us, and we will learn much from each other. As part of its long-range strategic plan, Gordon has expanded its vision for greater racial and ethnic diversity in student population, administration, faculty and staff. Programs such as those described in Jennie Hutchinson’s article are one way of enlarging the vision. —Nicholas Rowe Special Assistant to the President for Diversity 13
Profs & Programs
NEW CENTER for Professor Sean Clark’s interest and expertise in movement of the human body led him to spearhead an outreach program at Gordon to assist the elderly with balance and mobility problems.
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
Dr. Clark with a client; teaching students.
BALANCE and MOBILITY BY
met Jack while I was a doctoral student at Oregon State University. He was in his mid-60s, used a cane and veered unsteadily from side to side when he walked—manifestations of a progressive neurological disorder. As a participant in our community outreach program, Jack was good-spirited and persevered despite his belief there was little that could be done to help him. The more I worked with Jack and others like him, the more my motivation and professional focus moved toward studying and helping individuals with balance problems. My interest in human movement began while I was a student at Gordon. During my senior year I enrolled in a motor control class and became fascinated with how the nervous system coordinates and controls movement. After Gordon I continued with graduate studies in motor behavior and sensorimotor control. Now I’ve come full circle—I’m back at Gordon as assistant professor in the Movement Science Department. One facet of the department’s mission is for faculty and students together to recognize that our knowledge of human movement and our professional expertise can be used both in the pursuit of physical wellness and in assisting those who suffer from physical injury or disability. As such, we look for opportunities to serve humankind in practical ways. The stage was set with the College’s new strategic plan, “Blending Tradition and Innovation,” and a challenge by Provost Mark Sargent for departments to engage issues related to our Christian faith and our place in the broader community. This provided the perfect backdrop for us to propose an outreach program on the Gordon campus to
assist those from surrounding areas who suffer from balance and mobility problems. The Gordon College Center for Balance and Mobility was established in the fall of 2002 and currently provides professional physical therapy rehabilitation through Harmeling Physical Therapy at the Bennett Center. In a safe, controlled setting, staff therapists utilize state-of-the-art technology to identify underlying causes of dizziness and other balance problems and provide customized training programs designed to prevent falls, primarily in the elderly. As the Balance Center continues to grow, it will provide a variety of learning opportunities for Gordon students. The environment of the Center will also encourage students to develop an awareness and appreciation for older persons and individuals with neurological disorders. Movement Science students with interest in allied health professions frequently look for learning situations that provide contact hours with licensed medical professionals and quality hands-on experiences. The Balance Center’s clinical programs will provide such conditions for students. By establishing the Center for Balance and Mobility, Gordon affirms that it recognizes and is willing to engage a major societal issue impacting our culture: falls in the elderly. The activities and outreach of the Center will: • Help distinguish Gordon in the local community and among other academic institutions • Demonstrate to the community and beyond that Gordon is committed to developing men and women whose love for God
SEAN CLARK ’88
expresses itself through care for the weak and vulnerable • Provide opportunities for faculty and students to bring their knowledge base and faith to bear on this cultural issue while collaborating on scholarly endeavors and various learning experiences One day soon I hope some of my students will experience the joy and shared hope that Jack and I experienced when he walked down the hall for a balance session without his cane for the first time. His stance was a little taller, his footsteps distinctly more sure. The smile was subtle and restrained but definitely there. As he entered the lab, I asked Jack where his cane was. He smiled broadly and said, “I left it in the car.” Dr. Sean Clark is an assistant professor in movement science at Gordon, teaching biomechanics and advanced courses in human motor control. He is also director of the Center for Balance and Mobility. Clark earned his master’s in exercise science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his doctorate in human performance at Oregon State University. He taught at the University of Richmond 1997–2000. Dr. Clark has published several articles and abstracts appearing in medical, sports and exercise journals and is a reviewer for scientific journals. He has made numerous presentations at professional conferences, including a recent lecture on “Developing Effective Balance Interventions for Older Adults at Risk for Falls” at the annual meeting of the New England chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine. Sean and his wife, Donna, who also has a degree in exercise science, live with their two sons, Zachary and Jacob, in Barrington, New Hampshire. 15
To Live Ag gain BY LANCE
Alumnus Lance Williams
his is a story about the challenge my family and I faced with leukemia, and how it took nearly two years and numerous “death threats” to get my attention. It’s really a chance to share the mighty power of the Holy Spirit spread abroad in our hearts when we least expect it. In August 2000 my wife gave birth to our second child, a little girl we named Olivia Grace—and what humbling grace God has shown since Olivia was born. A few weeks after Livvie’s birth I started feeling crankier than usual; huffing and puffing when climbing stairs and noticing my blood pressure was on the rise. My wife, Amy, started bugging me about unexplained bruises on my body. Two doctors and several blood tests later I was told I had a particularly virulent form of leukemia, compounded by an insidious chromosome disorder. My remarkable wife pondered it all in her heart, knowing the possible outcomes and all that could mean for her and our children. I, on the other hand—in
has looked death in the face several times with a virulent form of leukemia. But his physical recoveries, he says, are not the most important part of the story.
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
my typically stoic and philosophical way of looking at things—thought, “This is the year 2000; they have cures for this type of thing, and if God should take my life I have eternity with Him to look forward to.” I was entirely too cavalier about the whole thing. Devastating treatments of chemotherapy began at the regional cancer hospital in Tampa. For three and a half months it was sort of nip and tuck—hospital in, hospital out. We were told the only medical cure would be a bone marrow transplant. You start the process of finding a marrow donor by testing to see if any of your siblings are a match. Mine weren’t. Then you go on the international bone marrow registry and hope and pray there’s a match there; a needle-in-a-haystack mirror of one’s DNA. While we waited I got stronger and even went back to my job as a television news reporter. For months the list of my potential donors dwindled until there was news of an 18-year-old woman near the bottom of the list; she had just signed up to be a donor. On paper
Alums At Large
she was about as perfect a match as you could ask for. All we were allowed to know about her was her first name—Erin. No state or country, no last name or background. After months of climbing uphill toward recovery and before we could get to transplant, we learned the cancer was looming once again. One day in May my wife called me at work with the discouraging news that the latest blood tests showed the leukemia was back with a vengeance. In God’s mercy, the very next day the government approved the new wonder drug Gleevec. Six pills a day substituted for body-killing chemotherapy, and within one month my leukemia was in complete remission . . . just in time to fly to California for the marrow transplant. In June of 2001 Amy and I travelled to the City of Hope outside Los Angeles and to a world-renowned transplant oncologist named Steve Forman. In order to destroy any diseasecarrying cells in the body, the transplant protocol requires total body radiation and more radical chemotherapy, all of which takes the patient to the brink of death. The process was so brutal they rushed me to ICU with serious heart complications. In a transplant center, ICU is a place dark with the pall of death. The expectation is that patients check into ICU; patients don’t check out. Each day my wife watched helplessly as other families, one after another, grieved over lost loved ones. With profound thanksgiving we were once again the recipients of God’s grace, and I recovered enough to have Erin’s marrow pumped into my body on June 19. It’s an anticlimactic event—a baggy-sized packet of fluid pumped through an IV, taking less than half an hour. For the next few days there was edgy anticipation for some sign of a white blood count. That day finally came, but not until after another
made-for-the-movies rush back to ICU—complete with heart paddles and a cardiac surgeon who warned my wife that he had never had to do heart surgery on a patient just eight days out of transplant, and that the potential for lethal infection would be improbably great with the immune system virtually helpless at that low point. Gratefully I escaped that threatening procedure, God granted us the mercy of healing, and the slow, painful process of recovery began. It was a process made more difficult by the separation from our children. The pain was especially great for Amy. While all my energies went into physical recovery, she had not only the challenge of a very sick husband but the added grief of bearing her burden alone—across the country from family and friends. Our tiny daughter and 3-year-old son, Palmer, were thousands of miles away at Amy’s sister’s home in Mobile, Alabama. Unknown to me at the time, Amy found comfort in slipping away to the drug store near our California hospital to smell the baby shampoo, connecting her in some small way to our dear children she so longed to be with. From beginning to end, the sweet-smelling sacrifice of the prayers of God’s people was offered up on our behalf. Countless friends from our church and strangers from everywhere prayed for my healing. The newsroom—normally a tough, cynical, Godless place—held a daily prayer time at 4 P.M. for us.
I was becoming
angry, wanting to
I really was
going to die.
Left to right: Lance holding Palmer, 6; Erin Wiles; Amy holding Olivia, 2 1/. /2
After three and a half very difficult months, with inexpressible joy we returned to our children, our home in Tampa and our friends. God was providing healing—but I, unfortunately, still took it all too casually. I returned to work, and, to my surprise, one day found an email from my donor, Erin. In the delicate dance of transplant protocol, donor and recipient aren’t supposed to know anything about each other for an entire year, but Erin had tracked me down. She had just graduated from high school near Nashville, Tennessee, and was headed off to college. About this time—winter 2001/ 2002—Dateline Dateline NBC learned of our story and flew Erin to Florida to meet us. We knew from the moment we met she would be a part of our family the rest of our lives. The months passed, we stayed in touch, and this past summer Erin came to live with our family and be an intern at the station where I work. Then, while Erin was still with us, we received the crushing blow that I was developing a completely new blood disorder: Erin’s marrow in my body was decreasing and mine was taking over—only 30 percent Erin’s and 70 percent mine. The doctors unloaded the news that another bone marrow transplant would be necessary. First, however, they wanted to try removing me from an immunosuppressant drug meant to keep my body from rejecting the transplant. This might give Erin’s marrow a chance to strengthen. We were cynical at the thought that removal of one tiny pill could reverse this fatal course. By then I was becoming angry, wanting to isolate myself and deciding I really was going to die. No matter what good things each day might bring—even wonderful times with Amy and the children—everything was clouded by my certainty that this time the disease would be fatal. Only then did God begin to powerfully, painfully prune some of the calloused deadwood in my heart. Fast forward to October of 2002—I was at a seminar when
God does honor His promises.
He does work in lives that pray
head but rebel with the heart.
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
my phone rang. I could hear my wife’s relief and excitement as she said, “Congratulations—you’re 100 percent woman!” At first I didn’t understand—“Excuse me?” Then the full meaning hit: there was no sign of disease; Erin’s marrow had taken over. God had allowed the removal of that one, tiny pill to bring me wonderful, unexpected healing. Even more importantly, He was working a humbling healing on my soul. In spite of a passion for God’s truth, a desire that my children should grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, and a compassion for lost souls, I often had an unemotional, independent, I-can-do-this-on-my-own attitude. In the mysterious working of the Holy Spirit, God is softening that hard heart and painfully pruning wayward and dead branches. For me that’s the real point of the story. God does honor His promises. He does work in lives that pray with the head but rebel with the heart. And He doesn’t do it on our timetable. As we’re told in Hebrews 12:6, which paraphrases the Psalms: “The Lord disciplines those He loves.” For me the discipline has not come in the form of the physical challenge; it has come through the painful revelation of who I really am: a chief sinner among men. But the fruit of that discipline is growing ever more strongly in my heart as God reveals His truths through prayer and His Word. Lance Williams is known as a master storyteller in the TV news reporting business, where his quick wit and inquisitive outlook have kept him for over 20 years. An Emmy Award winner, he has been with WFLA News Channel 8 in Tampa, Florida, since 1990. Lance says after spending his first two years of college in the South, his arrival at Gordon in the fall of 1976 was “something of a cultural shock and almost love at first sight. The magnificence of the North Shore, the beauties of Boston, and the spiritual and intellectual challenges of Gordon are great memories of my life.” Lance toured with the Gordon Players drama group in the late ’70s.
MEET GORDON FACULTY In this column we give you a thumbnail sketch of Gordon faculty. From Bioturbation Blues to long-distance biking, Professors David Shull and Peggy Hothem bring vitality to Gordon in and out of the classroom.
DAVID SHULL Professor David Shull is not one for lolling on sandy beaches. Gordon’s new marine science professor’s fascination for the ocean extends to the tiniest organisms that creep along the sea floor. He is happiest when he’s exploring the rockiest and muddiest of shores. Originally from Washington State, Shull notes that his hometown of Puyallup means “friendly and generous people” in Native American. As a youngster he enjoyed exploring the shores of Puget Sound. Now in his second year at Gordon, Dr. Shull and his students will soon be pursuing exciting marine research projects because of two science grants. One, supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, involves the study of red tides in New England. The other, funded by M.I.T. Sea Grant, provides for research on mercury in Boston Harbor. Work can’t be too onerous for this enthusiastic nature lover who sometimes sings on the job. His musical interests, which include playing banjo and ukulele, extend to composing. On field trips with students he has been known to pull out his banjo and pick a few original environmental songs—like his Bioturbation Blues. When he’s not at work, Shull enjoys kayaking along the estuaries of Cape Ann or tinkering in his wood shop at home. Currently he’s building his own telescope. Shull lives with his wife, Mieko, and cat, Koko. It’s his wife’s pet—“But the cat likes me best!” he quips. —Elizabeth Ross White
PEGGY HOTHEM Y rs of experience have taught Peggy Hothem how to Yea get the most out of work and play. When she’s not in the classroom, this professor of recreation and leisure studies enjoys walking, jogging, tennis, and cross-country and downhill skiing. Long distance biking is another favorite pastime. “A typical two-hour bike ride around Cape Ann is a little glimpse of heaven for me,” she says. Dr. Hothem introduced recreation and leisure studies at Gordon with three student majors in 1990. Today there are typically about 30 students in that field. Leisure studies students pursue rewarding careers in areas such as community recreation, therapeutic recreation, outdoor leadership, and sports facility management. Hothem’s greatest joy is in watching her students become effective leaders. Over the last 13 years, eight of her students have received the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association’s Outstanding Student of the Year award. Hothem herself received the Peter C. O’Brien Humanitarian Award, the association’s highest honor (see On & Off, Faculty Focus, page 3). Outside of work Hothem loves traveling with her two sons, Nathan, 16, and Joel, 12. They have traveled internationally four times—to Italy, Austria, Switzerland and England. While she enjoys her many active pursuits, Hothem is committed to reserving time for reflection on Sundays. “I take the Sabbath seriously,” she says. “It is something I teach, and it is something I live.” —Elizabeth Ross White
Elizabeth Ross White is a freelancer with 16 years of newspaper writing and editing, including as staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor. 19
Political Intrigue BY JORDAN
Left to right, members of the Gordon College Republicans Sarah Murphy ’04, Jordan Thomas ’04 and Karrie Craig ’04.
Involvement in politics can be very exhilarating, though sometimes frustrating. Junior Jordan Thomas tells her story of joys in the victory as she experienced close-up how our leaders are selected. olitics have always intrigued me, and at Gordon I decided to pursue them further. As secretary and now copresident of the Gordon College Republicans, I have had amazing experiences in local, state and national politics. The fall 2002 semester found me involved with November elections—mingling with other Republicans by helping with President Bush’s visit to Boston, attending a speech by Senator John McCain, volunteering for local politicians and making trips to Harvard University for political events. Probably the two most memorable occasions were meeting the White House Press Corps during Bush’s visit to Boston and spending election night at the hotel suite of the Massachusetts Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. News of George W. Bush’s visit came via a local woman I work for part-time. As a consultant for the White House she was in charge of the logistics of the president’s visit—from the moment he arrived 20
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
at Logan Airport to the moment he departed for Kennebunkport, Maine, following his Boston visit. She arranged for our group to help with the White House Press Advance: picking up the press from Logan from both chartered planes and Air Force One; going with them on busses to the hotel; making sure they were preregistered for the event; and leading them to the ballroom for the president’s speech. The White House Press ran the spectrum of news media—the LA Times, CNN News, ABC News, The Washington Post Post, and National Public Radio, to name a few. Because we were with the press, we were able to get very close to the president. I conversed with the Secret Service and White House staff, and saw firsthand the planning and work that go into presidential events. After many volunteer hours with various state campaigns, the reward came election night. Along with several members of Gordon College Republicans, I went to the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston to be on hand for election results. Because I helped SPRING 2003
extensively with now Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey’s campaign, we were invited to her personal suite on the 15th floor. Close friends and relatives comprised a small, privileged group of supporters. While we were chatting and taking pictures with her, Healy’s husband arrived to announce the call had come—she and Governor-Elect Mitt Romney had won. It was a moment of victory that will be vivid in my memory for a very long time—we had done it! With advance notice of the win, we headed downstairs for victory speeches in the ballroom. These are among many memorable experiences I have enjoyed while at Gordon—experiences that have enhanced my worldview and college career. I have become increasingly aware of current events and now take a more active role in the community. As a result, broader opportunities are offered to me, and I have built amazing relationships with students and political leaders across the state and nation. Jordan Thomas is an English and communication arts major, currently studying in Florence, Italy. She is also cocaptain of the women’s tennis team. Ed. Note: There is an active student Democrat organization on campus as well.
Gifts & Giving
One of a Kind Ronny Lanier is not your usual 84-year-old. At a time of life when many slow down, she keeps a busy schedule as well as an
PHOTO COURTESY OF TABCOM
appreciation for Gordon. RICK KLEIN ’93
everend Veronica “Ronny” Lanier is one of a kind. Not only is she a dynamic Christian, but an octogenarian who walks two miles a day, jumps on her trampoline each morning, participates in countless organizations and activities, and maintains friendships with her spiritual children all over the world. Ronny’s parents regularly entertained ministers and missionaries in their home, and by the age of 5 she knew she wanted to be a missionary. At 21 Ronny prayed the prayer of
Isaiah, “Here am I, Lord, send me.” But she suffered from rheumatic fever, preventing her from attending college to prepare for the mission field. Nevertheless, Ronny trusted the Lord’s call and never gave up her dream. By age 31 Ronny’s health had improved, and she enrolled in Gordon College on the Fenway in Boston—“because of its outstanding reputation for training missionaries.” When the weather was good, she rode her bike CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITIES . . . from Medford. Ronny was the • Offer income for life, a tax deductible only black woman gift, tax-free income on campus during • Are established for as little as $1,000 her four years, and • Provide annuitant(s) annual income for on a few occasions life she was encouraged • Support the work of Gordon College by some not to par• Are a great alternative to low-paying CDs, ticipate in certain dividend-paying stock and idle-appreciated campus activities assets like land because of her skin • Can be funded with cash, securities and color. “The ’50s most appreciated property were difficult times For information contact the Office of for people of color,” Special and Planned Gifts at 877.304.8667 or she recalls, “but by email at email@example.com. I am so thankful There is no obligation, and all inquiries for my friends and are confidential. Visit our website at professors who www.gordon.edu/plannedgifts. stood up for me and insisted I take part!
And I am grateful for the excellent education I received. It prepared me well for mission work, for graduate studies, and now for my work as a pastor.” Ronny has shown Gordon her support and appreciation in many ways—in particular, she has established two charitable gift annuities with the College. “I know Gordon will use the money wisely, and I rejoice that I can leave a legacy to the school. It also provides me with income for life and allows me to bless my grand-nephew with a deferred gift annuity.” Since graduating in 1954, Ronny has used her Gordon education in many ways: as a missionary for 19 years, working for a time in a Chinese community and learning to speak Cantonese; serving as minister of Christian education for 25 years with The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (TABCOM). When she retired in 1988, she scaled back to only three jobs—as interim pastor, volunteer missionary coordinator for TABCOM (averaging over 25,000 miles a year), and chaplain for Children’s Hospital in Boston. 21
JOEL PECK ’03
Point of View
Students Lead Protest
BY RACHEL RIBEIRO ’03
During the Christmas holidays Gordon students took a stand against the pornographic advertising of Abercrombie & Fitch, a popular clothing retailer that markets to high school and college students. Senior Rachel Ribeiro, one of the protest organizers, tells of their experience. fter seeing a disturbing newsclip about the Quarterly—a combination magazine/catalog Quarterly published by clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch—senior Charlie Day brought it to the attention of his housemates in Dexter Hall. The ads promised “280 Pages of Sex and X-mas Fun.” Many of us in Dexter Hall found ourselves angry at A & F for using members of our generation as image bearers of a destructive lifestyle. As we learned the magazine contained over 70 photos of nude models as well as interviews with questionable celebrities, and soft porn advertising of A & F clothing, we felt compelled to do something about it. Before long a core group of a dozen students began to organize a peaceful protest to be held outside the Abercrombie & Fitch store in Faneuil Hall, downtown Boston, on Saturday, December 14—one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas. Our goal for the demonstration was to raise public awareness of Abercrombie & Fitch’s exploitative advertising. Gordon students responded quickly to our efforts. As word spread on and off campus during the two weeks before the protest, The Salem Evening News published an article about it, and Charlie and I were interviewed on Daybreak, WBOQ talk radio show in Beverly. During the course of preparing for the protest, we learned that other organizations have also spoken out against Abercrombie & Fitch for offensive and destructive images targeted to teens and young adults. Illinois’ 22
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
lieutenant governor and Michigan’s attorney general brought complaints against explicitly sexual material that cannot be distributed to minors. In addition, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers were angered when recipes for alcoholic drinks and instructions for drinking games appeared in A & F’s catalog. The Japanese American Citizens League and several other Asian organizations protested A & F’s use of images on T-shirts that are racially offensive to Asians. Despite the constant drizzle of rain on that Saturday in December, about 75 Gordon students gathered at Faneuil Hall to lead the demonstration. Students canvassed the area collecting signatures for a yearlong boycott of Abercrombie & Fitch products and engaged in conversation with shoppers. Other students clustered at the storefront with posters attracting the attention of holiday shoppers, some of whom agreed to boycott instead of buying. It was gratifying during a busy final exam period to see many Gordon students willing to take time for a public stand against a company that promotes a promiscuous lifestyle. Many of us—with our own younger siblings in mind—were grateful for the opportunity to talk with middle-teen customers of Abercrombie & Fitch, and to have some of them join us in protesting this brand of indecent advertising. Rachel is an English major and assistant news editor for the Tartan, the student newspaper on campus.
Meet Gordon Student-Athletes Gordon strives to enhance the growth of the whole student—mind, body and spirit. Student-athletes Scott Beebe and Lauren Barnes are high achievers in all three areas.
ScottBeebe Scott Beebe liked Gordon College from the first time he set foot on campus. The only problem for the 5' 11" senior guard was that the Fighting Scots basketball court and campus were not close to his hometown of Elgin, Illinois. But another visit in the winter of his senior year of high school reinforced his comfort with the College; Beebe felt God was calling him east. “That is something that has been confirmed many times for me in the last three and a half years,” Scott says. Beebe’s on-court game has mirrored the Fighting Scots development over the last three years. He steadily improved his skills and scoring, landing a spot on the Commonwealth Coast All-Conference Second Team as a junior. Scott made his 1000th career point in February—one of only 12 to do so in Gordon’s history. The growth in Beebe as both a player and a person hasn’t been overlooked. Scott says, “God has used many people and situations to teach me more about Him, myself and others. It’s been great to be able to have relationships that are conducive to men sharpening one another as mentioned in Proverbs 27:17.” Four years later God brought a piece of home to Beebe. His younger brother, John, joined him on the men’s basketball team for the 2002–2003 season. Scott is a business administration major. Though his plans for the future are still uncertain, he looks forward to Commencement in May. —Stephen Leonard ’94
LaurenBarnes At 6' 1" junior Lauren Barnes from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is pretty easy to spot on and off the volleyball court. And her on-court numbers boggle the imagination: three Commonwealth Coast (CCC) All-Conference teams, 2000 CCC Rookie of the Year, 2001–2002 CCC Player of the Year, 2000–2002 NCAA Division III Regional Tournament Appearances and 2002 NEWVA New England Region Player of the Year—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the numbers and awards, Gordon College has played a key role in her development as a woman of God. “It’s been very exciting and beneficial to be surrounded by people who love Christ as much as I do, who will hold me accountable and help me grow. Having devotions before we even enter the gym for practice every day has solidified the fact that we should glorify God in every aspect of our lives.” The road wasn’t always smooth for Barnes. “I was challenged by my classes at first, but once I acclimated myself to the workload, things really improved,” Barnes says. “My professors have all been so supportive of my athletic endeavors, which has made the stress of being a student-athlete easier. “The professors are truly interested in the lives of their students in and out of the classroom,” she says. She counts that as one of Gordon’s greatest strengths. —Stephen Leonard ’94 Stephen Leonard has coached men’s and women’s cross-country and track and field at Gordon since 1998 and has been sports information director since 1999. 23
Raves & Rebuffs In this column our readers can respond to articles in STILLPOINT or voice thoughts about Gordon in general. Reserving the right to edit for space, we will attempt to publish a balance of positive and negative comments. We hope to hear from you. Write to Editor, STILLPOINT, Gordon College, 255 Grapevine Road, Wenham, MA 01984, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymous letters will not be published. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO HAVE EXCERPTS OF YOUR CORRESPONDENCE PUBLISHED, PLEASE NOTE THAT. Letters written to individuals other than the editor are forwarded to those persons whenever possible.
was drawn to Dr. Daniel Johnson’s essay “The Death of Character” in the Fall 2002 issue because of its provocative title. In it he outlines the shortcomings of today’s “reigning strategy of moral education.” However, I’m not sure his conclusion that “the urgent task confronting all Americans, and Christians not least, is one of forging a framework of moral discourse within which they can express and negotiate (italics mine) their deepest moral differences . . .” moves us anywhere. He also writes that psychotherapeutic discourse offers us inclusiveness “on the cheap.” Is Dr. Johnson suggesting that inclusiveness can be had at any price—perhaps at too high a price? I refer him to an essay in the January issue of Christianity Today magazine in which J. I. Packer, in a down-toearth, real-life dilemma about church sanction of same-sex unions, gets right to the point regarding values, morality, or whatever: “Would Paul be with me in this?” In other words, for followers of Christ the Word of God is the only reference regarding behavior—for how we are to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. This transcendent moral truth, a category Dr. Johnson repeatedly references without defining, seems pretty down-to-earth. What’s left to negotiate? Dr. Johnson rejects “foisting an absolutist moral vision on a restive culture.” I would agree, Christians are in no position to “foist” visions; but we are called upon to be salt and light, especially in a restive culture. G. K. Chesterton warned, “We cannot pretend to be abandoning the morality of the past for one more suited to the present. It is certainly not the morality of another age, but it might be of another world. . . . What Christ advanced was something quite different; something very difficult; but something no more difficult now than it was then.” I hope the book Death of Character, which Dr. Johnson helped research, ter does a better job of pointing us back to the “book of life” and the rebirth of character. David Singer ’66
GORDON COLLEGE STILLPOINT
Excerpts from a response by Dr. Daniel Johnson— If I read you correctly, you have taken some of my comments as suggestions that Christians abandon certain moral principles in the face of a culture that doesn’t want to hear them. That is not what I am advocating. Indeed, you could say I am actually calling for Christians to stop doing precisely that. I do believe there is a pressing need for Christians (and others) to forge a new framework of moral discourse, one that allows for a full articulation of their moral understandings and of the principles in which they are rooted. I understand your aversion to the term “negotiation” as it suggests to you a readiness to give in on matters of principle. Again, this is not at all what I am saying. I refer to a process that explores where and how our deeply held moral convictions run up against the just-as-deeply-held moral convictions of others. It then continues as we work out how we can live together peaceably despite our deep differences. This kind of inclusiveness, which respects the differences between people’s worldviews rather than squelching them, is indeed a very costly thing to obtain. I say this not because it means “giving in on matters of principle” but because it is, simply put, very hard work. Daniel Johnson
tillpoint’s Fall 2002 unfocused and unfinished article on healthcare—“Healthcare: A Right or a Privilege?” by James Paskavitz—does little to answer the question posed in its title. Unfocused: The article devotes too much space to describing faults in our healthcare system and overemphasizes the size and importance of “sense of entitlement” and “consumerist mentality” as causes of the healthcare crisis. The connection between these attitudes and the fact that over 40 million Americans have no health insurance is not convincingly made. And as for “entitlement,” aren’t the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginal just as
entitled to quality healthcare as are the rich, the favored and the mainstream? I would like to believe Paskavitz thinks so, but a clear statement of his position is missing. Unfinished: The last paragraph of the article could well have been the first, followed by an elaboration of such important ideas as “organize proactively,” “expect a very expensive system,” and “equality, access and reasonable resource allocation.” That elaboration would have stirred debate, raised consciousness and perhaps induced more of my brother and sister Christians to see universal healthcare as (in Krister Stendahl’s words) an acceptable modern version of God’s gift of healing. And I wish Paskavitz had made his personal position clear on certain aspects of healthcare as a right. For example, does he support the singlepayer solution advanced by Physicians for a National Health Program? If so, why? If not, why not? Larry Ruark ’58
n the list of medical schools that Gordon students have been accepted to since 1998 (Fall 2002 issue), the University of Michigan School of Medicine was missing. In U.S. News & World Report it is always ranked in the top 10 medical schools in the country. Jim Watters Ed. note: We apologize for that oversight. The University of Michigan School of Medicine should indeed have been on that list.
ust a quick note of appreciation to let you know how much I’ve appreciated the quality of Stillpoint Stillpoint. Its content is informational and encouraging, and I believe it’s drawing Gordon alumni together around the world. Our Stillpoint, albeit a few months late, makes it all the way over here to the jungles of Papua New Guinea, where we work translating the Bible and planting an indigenous church among the small, remote Nakui tribe. Timothy Askew ’86
Events Calendar For info, updates and tickets, call 978.867.3400 for music events and 978.867.3200 for theatre productions. Music events are held in Phillips Recital Hall (PRH), located in Phillips Music Center, in A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel (GC), or in Lane Student Center. Art exhibits and theatre productions are in the Barrington Center for the Arts (BCA).
APRIL 25 27
Art Exhibit—Senior Art Major Thesis Exhibits Choirs! Choirs! Choirs! Choirs!; 7:30 P.M., GC (note time correction) Gordon Symphony Orchestra; 3 P.M, GC
MAY 2 3 4 5 16 17
Scenes from Operas by music majors; 8 P.M., PRH Wind Ensemble Home Concert Concert; 7 P.M, GC Scenes from Operas by music majors; 3 P.M., PRH Jazz Ensemble; 8 P.M., Lane Baccalaureate—5 P.M., GC Commencement—10 A.M., quad (Bennett Center if rain, with tickets only)
HISTORY ALIVE! Come see the longest continuously running show north of Boston. Cry Innocent—The People versus Bridget Bishop is the reenactment of a 1692 witchcraft trial in Salem, Massachusetts. Summer performances are at Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, Salem, Friday–Tuesday, 11:30 A.M., 1:30 and 3 P.M. For more info and times of fall performances call 978.867.4747 or go to www.cryinnocent.com. History Alive also performs an outdoor adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter at Pioneer Village in Salem during July and August. Call extension 4747 for details.
CIVA CONFERENCE 2003 June 26–29 at Gordon College, in collaboration with the Gordon College Art Department Images of the Body—Sacred, Personal, and Public Join Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) as they re-vision the meanings of the human form through the body of Christ as the body of Christ. Notable plenary speakers are Monsignor Timothy Verdon, art historian and canon of the Florence Cathedral (the famous Duomo) in Italy; Bruce Herman, painter and chair of the Art Department at Gordon College; and Adair Margo, an appointed member of President Bush’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities as well as director of the Adair Margo Gallery in El Paso, Texas. The nightly Late Late Show will give dozens of artists a chance to share their works with the CIVA membership; anyone can exhibit at CIVA’s walk-in show. This year’s curator for the CIVA Juried Show will be Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, director of curatorial affairs, DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts. CIVA is the premier visual arts organization connecting Christians with the arts, the Church and the culture. It is based at Gordon. Contact Rosemary Scott-Fishburn for info at 978.867.4124 or email email@example.com.
TOURS BY COLLEGE GROUPS Gordon College Wind Ensemble Spring Tour May 18–21—Northern New England The day after Commencement in May, Dr. David Rox and the Gordon College Wind Ensemble are scheduled to take to the roads of New England. New England consistently supplies strong support and a high percentage of prospective students. The Wind Ensemble will be performing for churches and schools from Wayland, Massachusetts, to Houlton, Maine.
Gordon College Choir Spring Tour May 22–June 2—Eastern Europe The Gordon College Choir will be leaving May 22 for a concert tour of Eastern Europe. Under the leadership of Professor C. Thomas Brooks, the choir will be visiting and singing at cathedrals and churches in Prague, Budapest, Salzburg and Vienna. The tour is being planned by World Cultural Tours of Uxbridge, Massachusetts. For information on either tour contact Director of Fine Arts David Goss at 978.867.4862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Gordon College we’re having a conversation about
Students and faculty members at Gordon College
with responsible action. That’s why academic rigor
are engaged in an ongoing conversation about truth.
and Christian community are both indispensable
This is an extraordinary and dynamic conversation
aspects of the Gordon College experience.
that offers freedom—to explore ideas and ask hard
Our mission at Gordon College compels us to
questions—within the framework of a steadfastly
provide the best possible learning environment for
our students—one that strengthens the intellect,
Like all conversations, it requires some speaking
sharpens skills, molds Christian character and
and a lot of listening—and a balance of free inquiry
encourages the pursuit of truth.
Gordon College—freedom within a framework of faith
Nonprofit Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Gordon College
255 Grapevine Road Wenham, Massachusetts 01984 978.927.2300 www.gordon.edu CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED