Friday, April 25, 2008

Fashionista Speaks Out

"Those of us behind the No Sweat Campaign are spunky, millennial fashionistas who love our wardrobes, but hate where a lot of of our favorite outfits come from: sweatshops. And we're tired of letting fashion and injustice go hand in hand."

Last night (April 24) graduating seniors in the Communication Arts Department presented their senior thesis projects. Jessica Prudhmomme of White Plains, New York, spoke on the No Sweat Campaign, which aims to confront the global sweatshop crisis and inform consumers of their part in this injustice. Check out Jessica's prototype website--it includes press releases, fashion photography, company profiles and a Speak-Up link that provides contact information for company CEO's at Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor and The Limited. More presentations will continue tomorrow (Saturday, April 25).


Philosophers Convene

Off the radar screen of most of us, this intriguing conference, Postmodernism, Truth, and Religious Pluralism, sponsored by the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology, took place on the Gordon campus April 11-12.
Brian Glenney
, assistant professor of philosophy, whose focus is on the intersection of cognitive science and philosophy of mind, was there. He writes:
"The conference focused on how religious beliefs can coexist in a pluralistic society. The papers advanced a variety of claims: the need for religious beliefs to reject forms of exclusivity; the need to make religious beliefs practical rather than intellectual; the need to 'do truth' not just 'believe truth.' The keynote speaker, Richard Kearney from Boston College, presented the provocative paper 'The Uninvited Guest' about the similarities between the three Abrahamic faiths with respect to treatment of 'the stranger.' All three faiths include stories of hospitality and hostility towards strangers. This paper forms the first chapter of Kearney's next work, Anatheism: Returning to God after God."


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Michael Ward's Excellent Adventure

"It was the most exciting thing that had happened to me while holding a book in my hands," Michael Ward told a gathering of Gordon students, faculty and staff last night (April 21). He was referring to his discovery of a secret pattern, based on planetary influences, governing C.S. Lewis's seven Chronicles of Narnia. His book, Planet Narnia, makes his case, and though initially skeptical, most critics seem to be coming around, including Gordon alum Sorina Higgins, whose article, "Too Heavenly Minded?", appears in the spring issue of STILLPOINT,the Gordon College magazine. (The lovely illustrations are by Grant Hanna '06).
More goodies: Ward's very interesting website; another review, in Books and Culture, of Planet Narnia ; and a recent NY Times column by David Brooks that mentions Ward's scholarship.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Gordon's Intrepid Biking Profs

Read about them here and here.


ROTC airlift

Friday, April 18, two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters touched down on Winter Island in Salem to airlift 25 ROTC cadets, including seven from Gordon, to military exercises at Ft. Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts. Read more...


Gordon Panel Tackles "Pop Atheism"

Steven Hunt, associate professor of biblical studies, recently pulled five of his Gordon colleagues together to discuss the current cultural phenomenon of popular atheism—represented by four recent New York Times bestsellers: Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion; Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great; Sam Harris’ The End of Faith; and Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell. The interdisciplinary panel included Bryan Auday (psychology), Greg Carmer (dean of chapel), Mark Gedney (philosophy), Lawrence Holcomb(sociology), and Craig Story (biology). Each spoke, from within his own specialty, about the presuppositions behind the arguments in the books—challenging some of their caricatures of Christians—but, interestingly, each pointed out some of the stronger arguments in these works, noting their appeal in our postmodern culture. In so doing, they challenged Christians to be more thoughtful in their approach to and expression of their faith. They also fielded questions from the roomful of students who attended.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Austin, Texas: Transforming Culture

Last week I attended the Transforming Culture symposium on the church and the arts. (Among the sponsors was Christians in the Visual Arts, a partner organization with Gordon). It was a wonderful “density” of good words and worship and impromptu conversations under the live-oaks, hosted by the First Evangelical Free Church of Austin. I will be unpacking it for a good while to come. Plenary speakers were Andy Crouch (his breakout-session talk on consumerism was, all by itself, worth the price of admission), David Taylor, Jeremy Begbie, John Witvliet, Barbara Nicolosi and, pictured here on one of the mega-screens, the venerable Eugene Peterson. Even apart from his good words, Eugene’s very presence is a visual aid for one of his book titles: a “long obedience in the same direction.”

The symposium was the brainchild of David Taylor, one of my very favorite bloggers--check out Diary of an Arts Pastor. Taylor, arts pastor at Hope Chapel in Austin, is a terrific writer with a fine theological mind and a huge pastor's heart--one to watch. Through his blog, he became an arts pastor for me at a time when I badly needed one--see this post, for example.
He's at work on a book about the arts and theology, and, in addition, Baker will be publishing the plenary talks from this conference.

Check out David's blog for a nice summary of the proceedings. And here for photos and commentary. And still more: commentary and podcasts.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Hildebrandt Compiles Biblical "e-Sources"

Biblical and theological studies professor Ted Hildebrandt's website is a gold-mine of biblical studies materials and has been getting some recent attention in the blogosphere here and here. Hildebrandt says: "Jesus always spoke the language of the people. The Christian faith needs to be expressed via the digital medium which is the native tongue of many of our students and denizens of the twenty-first century."


Venture Capital's Grandfather and the Olsen Archives

Spencer E. Ante's new book, Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital, tells the story of Georges Doriot, the "forgotten grandfather of the venture capital industry. Ante, a Business Week editor and blogger, credits the Ken Olsen Archives, housed at Gordon, as an important souce for his book. He writes: "I believe I am the first person to access this collection. For that honor, I owe a special thanks to Daniel B. Tymann, the college's vice president for advancement of science and technology. When I called Dan, he immediately offered to help, and followed through by combing through the collection and sending me a dossier of letters, interviews, photos and other primary materials."
Read more about Ken Olsen, DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) founder and longtime Gordon trustee, and about the Heart of Discovery Campaign.


Christian College Consortium Has Additional Role for Gaede

Stan Gaede, scholar-in-residence at Gordon, was recently elected president of the Christian College Consortium(CCC). It is a half-time appointment, allowing him to continue at Gordon in his current role. Read more and also take a look at this interview with Gaede about one of his books, An Incomplete Guide to the Rest of Your Life, and this article about Gaede as both teacher and learner.


Gordon Recycles "Techno Trash"

Kimberley Nolan, Correspondent for the Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle, writes: “The advancement of technology has solved many problems and created unexpected ones—especially in the realm of waste disposal. Recycling plastic bottles, paper products and various metals has become common practice for many households. The staff at Gordon College in Wenham is taking recycling a step further.” Read more...


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An Enticing Menu

Once in a great while I wish I were still in college. May Term offers a tantalizing array of interdisciplinary courses, among them Three Dorothys: A Conversation between Dorothy Sayers, Dorothy Day and Dorothy Parker; Intercultural Christology: Understanding the Person and Work of Christ in Cultural Context; and Regional History in Cemetery Form. Read more...


Friday, April 11, 2008

Reading the Forested Landscape

Recently I traveled to the high desert in southern California and sent photos to some of my colleagues. Of this photo, Paula Cerulli (Provost’s Office) commented that, having heard Tom Wessels, author of Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England, speak at Gordon, she could readily “interpret the forest around that graveyard.” I was intrigued by her response and, since I’d been away and not able to attend Wessels’ presentation, asked her to expand on it. Take it away, Paula:

“I live by the theory that it’s good to learn something new every day. I was honored to work with Jan Dempsey, director of the Hamilton-Wenham Library, on our second joint Community Read event, featuring Dr. Tom Wessels. Since I was involved with the behind-the-scenes details, I thought it would be interesting to hear what he had to say. I am not a hiker but have been into the woods accompanying my son as he competed in many mountain bike races; he provided me with my first woodland experiences. Dr. Wessels’ presentation was captivating to the inexperienced, and from the awe I witnessed in the audience, he had us all convinced, through his passion, that there is no better site to see or experience; so into the woods we all shall go! As a result of Wessels’ prolific knowledge of the forested landscape, I will never view a forest with the same set of ‘eyes’ again.”