Friday, January 30, 2009

Exciting Discovery Complements Lincoln Bicentennial

Abraham Lincoln's upcoming bicentennial was enhanced by two unbleached-linen 1864 presidential campaign banners that were found in the Second Church of Dorchester, Massachusetts, home base for the Gordon in Boston program. Panelists David Goss, assistant professor of history, Steve Alter, associate professor of history, and Cliff Hersey, director of Gordon’s Global Education Office, shared a historical address highlighting the time around Lincoln’s reelection in 1864. Read more


Speaking God's Word Faithfully

“Our faith in Jesus can only be known and have substance through the Word of the Lord,” said Elaine Phillips, professor of biblical and theological studies, during Monday’s chapel. Phillips focused on three points during her message from Jeremiah 23; God’s Word, having the Word, and speaking the Word faithfully. "Every word of God is flawless,” Philips said. “We need to have this word, plant it deep in our hearts; how else will it resonate?” Phillips encouraged memorization of the Scriptures, describing various inspirational stories of those who have memorized several books of the Bible. Listen to Dr. Phillips' address on iTunesU.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Welcoming the Alien, Alienating the Resident

John Skillen, professor of English and director of the Gordon in Orvieto program, opened this semester’s convocation series, Resident Aliens: Public Life and Personal Faith.
Skillen held up his official identification card, which notes his legal status as a resident alien in Italy, yet said he still relates to the alien part of it. “Even though I get calls from the mayor asking my help with his English,” Skillen said, “I still feel like a stranger there as I feel the kindness and hospitality shown to strangers.” Skillen and his students have been shown the kindness referred to in Leviticus 19:33 and 34: “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt.”
Skillen gave various examples of ways traditions are adapted by aliens, which in some ways create a product for a richer and fuller experience together. As soon as God opens our hearts to work in our lives, we all become aliens. “Our residency is not on earth but in Heaven,” Skillen said. “We forever will be aliens in the world. Although strangers bring various traditions and new ideas to the host—who holds permanent residency—the host has something the stranger needs.” Listen to the complete address on iTunesU.


Kim Kurczy's Mzungu Memoirs

Justice, forgiveness, redemption. Three major issues unresolved all over the world. For Kimberly Kurczy ’08, theatre and English double major, these concerns followed her back from the semester she spent abroad in Uganda. Performing her one-woman show, Mzungu Memoirs, Kurczy passionately uncovers her struggle with summarizing the experience. “Genocide that has left children as heads of families . . . it’s easier to get angry than to be humbled,” Kurczy said.

Read more... View Photo Journal


Monday, January 26, 2009

Flesh-and-Blood Jesus: Why Do Christians Diminish the Humanity of Christ?

UPDATE: Because of the snow day at Gordon, this Faculty Forum has been rescheduled.
Wednesday, February 25, Dan Russ, director of Gordon’s Center for Christian Studies and author of Flesh and Blood Jesus: Learning to be Fully Human from the Son of Man, will begin this semester’s Faculty Forum (Jenks 406 at 4:30—all are welcome). He writes:

The Lord spoke of himself as the Son of Man more than by any other title or designation. He, in fact, is the only one recorded in the Gospels who used this title. Why would he do this, when most of those who doubted or opposed him did so because he was making supernatural claims that no mere man should claim? Some say that he used this title because it has Messianic overtones from the Hebrew Scriptures. While I am sure this is partly true, it does not explain why Jesus uses it of himself more than any other title and why these same followers do not use it at all in the epistles, once he has commissioned them and ascended into Heaven. The least we can say is that the title meant more to him than to them. Why?
I suspect that it is a matter of perspective. From our perspective, the reality of the Son of God, true God entering our humanity, is astounding, humbling and mysterious. Most religions, especially those in Greek and Roman cultures, emphasized the chasm between mere mortal humanity and glorious immortal divinity. Even for those steeped in the Jewish tradition, Jahweh is so holy and transcendent, the Creator God of the universe, the King of kings, that a pious Jew should not write or speak his name. Coming from either of these traditions or, as with many at the time, a confusion of both traditions, we would be astounded that the Son of God should walk with us as the Son of Man.

But if we can presume to imagine the perspective of Jesus, true God and true Man, the astounding, humbling and mysterious reality for him is to become the Son of Man. Christian teaching is clear that before Jesus of Nazareth was born of Mary, he was in the beginning with the Father and the Spirit, that “all things were made through him and for him,” and that “he is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation.” He created all things with the Father and the Spirit—including humanity—in his image, male and female. But he, to our knowledge, has never in all eternity “emptied himself of his prerogatives as God” and become flesh: the Son of Man. Theologians and preachers, artists and poets have described, depicted, and portrayed this mystery endlessly, but mostly from the human perspective, trying to fathom the shocking truth that “he came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” And this is shocking. But this is our shock, not a surprise to God who had been rejected by Israel for centuries. God’s shock, if we can imagine such a thing, is to enter into the humanity that God had created millennia before: to be a son of man, to be the Son of Man, to be, in J.B. Phillip’s phrase, “supremely human.”

We can so focus on the realities of our Lord’s divinity that we minimize or ignore the realities of his humanity. Without diminishing the resounding truth that he is true God, we cannot forget that he speaks of himself as the Son of Man over 80 times in the Gospels. This title is his chosen title. Even granting its Old Testament messianic overtones, to be the Son of Man meant that Jesus lived humanly, in our fallen world, facing our temptations, and living out the tensions of being human in the flow of the life. He was just like us, human in a sinful world, and yet he did not sin.

So what can we learn from his glorious life about the meaning of our own humanity, about the tensions of being human in a sinful world, and of distinguishing between being a sinner and being a finite flesh-and-blood human being?
(Image: Caravaggio's The Incredulity of St. Thomas)


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gordon Student Participates in Xtreme Online Sledding Competition

To most people the word “sledding” brings back pleasant childhood memories of a snowy winter’s morning. But for freshman communication arts major Tom Mulls, sledding is his extreme sport.
You can find videos of Tom on YouTube performing all sorts of acrobatic tricks on a sled, but one video in particular holds a good deal of importance for him. Right now there is an online competition for extreme sports videos, and Tom’s is in the top three. Witness Tom’s sledding talent firsthand. Important note: Once on the website, skip the commercial by clicking the “Vote” tab, and then hit “Next Video” until you see the video by “Shmrr.” If you like the video, click the green “thumbs up” icon!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Spring Chapel Series: The Word of God

In the beginning (of the semester) was the Word. Literally.
This semester’s chapel theme is “The Word of God.” On Wednesday, January 14, Dean of Chapel Greg Carmer addressed themes in the book of Jeremiah, describing the prophet Jeremiah’s hopeful obedience (Jeremiah 32); King Jehoakim’s arrogant rejection (Jeremiah 36); and King Zedekiah’s anxious neglect (Jeremiah 37) as examples of various reactions to God’s word.
Before responding to God’s word, there should be understanding that God has spoken through multiple forms such as creation, Scripture, and, of course, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Carmer challenged students, faculty and staff to consider how they will respond to God’s word. “Know there is a word of God that has the same goodness and hospitality that called us into existence,” he concluded.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Graphic Design with a Social Conscience

Tim Ferguson Sauder, creative director and adjunct professor of art and design at Gordon, was recently quoted in the magazine PRINT, in its REGIONAL DESIGN ANNUAL 2008: EAST issue:

“‘The use of design as an agent of change or as a catalyst to encourage more prosocial behavior is nothing new, but it seems to have become more “normal” and is showing up everywhere,’ says Tim Ferguson Sauder. . . . At the same time, he says, ‘I see a lot of design projects that exist as more of a framework created to house this new content. There is more of a need for design to access this content in the most efficient and intuitive way.’”


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Playing Right: The Need for Holy Leisure

By Peggy Hothem

A student I didn’t know well recently stopped by my office. No more than three minutes into our conversation tears welled up in her eyes. Though she was a senior who had been extremely successful in her classes and involvement on campus, she told me she was exhausted from the overload of commitments in her life. She was burning out. At age 21. 

There’s little question—and a lot of proof—that our society is moving at a pace like never before. The organization Take Back Your Time ( has made the case that Americans put in the longest working hours among industrialized nations, spending 2,000 hours of work per year on the job.


Matters of the Purse and Other Economic Issues

What do you want first: the good news or the bad? I like to start with the good news too, so here it is: despite our current economic condition, one that is being reported with dramatic words like “crisis,” “recession,” “failure” and “chaos”; despite significant pressures and uncertainty, we actually live in stable circumstances. The benefits we enjoy in the U.S. are many, and the fact that we are civilly working through this situation without violence and government overthrows shouldn’t be taken for granted. The really good news is that our hope is not in this world anyway. 

Read more of economics faculty member Casey Cooper’s FAITH + IDEAS essay...


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Making of the Murals

Now on Gordon’s iTunesU site: “Mary, Virgin Mother: The Making of the Murals.” In this brief video, Bruce Herman, professor of art, discusses the origins of the Miriam: Virgin Mother murals, which were exhibited at Gordon’s Barrington Center for the Arts during Advent 2008. The series is now on display at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and will be permanently installed at the Monastery San Paolo in Orvieto Italy, home base for the Gordon in Orvieto semester program.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Gordon College to Host First Collaborative Art Exhibit Featuring Eastern European Photography

Czech and Slovak photographers from World War I to 1994 and Russian photographers from World War II to the early 1990s did the world a favor by capturing life in their countries through their artistic lenses. Murray Forbes, president and founder of the Navigator Foundation, continued the favor by collecting such photographs during the last decade of the Cold War and beyond. Out of these experiences two exhibitions were born, offering a profound glimpse of Eastern European culture and history. To celebrate these images the Navigator Foundation has collaborated with the galleries of Gordon College and Endicott College for a first-of-its-kind joint show opening January 12 and running through February 27. Read more...


Friday, January 9, 2009

New Engineering Lab in Ken Olsen Science Center Opens for Spring Semester

The Robert W. Bowden Engineering Lab—named for the ’66 alum and CEO of Case Systems Inc., has been completed in time for the start of the 2009 spring semester. The lab (located in the new Ken Olsen Science Center, pictured) will provide hands-on experiences critical for the undergraduate engineering education. Three lab courses specifically created for Gordon’s unique 3-2 engineering program will be taught in the new facility. Read the press release...


Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 2009 Golf Digest Hot List Issue is Out!

. . . and David Lee, associate professor of physics, is listed on the “Meet the Panelists” page: “Lee is an expert in advance-materials science, including golf club parts. He owns eight U.S. patents.”
The Gordon College Department of Physics is also mentioned in the issue (scroll to the bottom of this page, to section marked “THE NUMBERS”): “Golf Digest measured all sample clubs using digital calipers and a digital planimeter. Measurements of moment of inertia in drivers were collected in partnership with the Department of Physics at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.”


Jan Carlberg's New Daily Podcast Series Debuts

Listen each day to Gordon’s First Lady, Jan Carlberg, as she reads a devotional selection from her book, The Hungry Heart: Daily Devotions from the Old Testament. Access the podcast series here.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Home-Made Christmas IV...Projects Post-Christmas

Thanks to Lisa (Schwabauer) Poblenz '02, we've learned the art of home-made gift-giving this Christmas season. She's taught us how to make belts, embellish our clothes and create rice bag foot warmers. Now that Christmas has come and gone and we all have more time on our hands, Lisa shares our final installment--creative Christmas thank you cards and envelopes or birthday cards to send to friends and family throughout this next year.

Upcycled Cards and Envelopes

This is a great way to use old calendars or magazines, all while creating unique stationary, saving money, and keeping paper out of the waste stream a little bit longer.


• Envelope template (these can be purchased at a scrapbooking store) or an envelope whose shape you like, opened up. The template I have is an A2 envelope template (5 ¾” x 4 ½”).
• An old calendar, magazine pages, or any other paper that you like. You’ll need one page per envelope as well as the back page of the calendar or some other pictures from your magazine/paper stash if you plan to make cards as well as envelopes.
• Cardstock (you should be able to get two cards out of each 8 ½” x 11” sheet)
• Scissors
• Paper cutter (optional)
• Glue (normal glue, glue stick, double stick tape, or whatever you prefer)
• Mailing labels (optional, but helpful) for the envelopes


• Trace envelopes. Using your envelope template, find the best part of each piece of paper you want to use and trace the template to include that part. Pay attention to which side of the envelope will be up so your picture doesn’t end up upside down.
• Cut out your envelopes.
• Fold the envelopes. Fold the sides in first, followed by the large bottom flap, and then the top flap.
• Glue the envelopes. Put whatever adhesive you’ve chosen onto the side flaps and attach the large bottom flap to the sides. Don’t forget to leave the top open!
• Attach mailing labels (optional). If you have dark or very busy or wordy pictures, it helps to put a white mailing label (or any color) where you will write the address. You can use one for the return address, too, if you like.
• Cut cardstock for cards. If you are using the same size envelope template I used, all you have to do is cut the cardstock in half width-wise, giving you two 8 ½” x 5 ½” pieces.
• Fold the cards. Fold each piece of cardstock in half so it makes a 4 ¼” x 5 ½” card. If you are using a different size envelope template, check to see if this will fit into your envelopes or if you will need to cut your cards down further.
• Decorate the cards. You can make this as simple or as complex as you like. When I want to make simple cards quickly, I usually cut out the little pictures on the back of my calendar that shows the different pictures for each month. Then, I glue one onto the front of each card. You can make the cards open at the bottom or the side, as you like. When you use the back of the calendar, you end up with cards that match your envelopes. This is also a great time to try out some fun collages, especially if you are using magazines.

Package several cards and envelopes together with a ribbon and you are all set to give your stationary as gifts or use it to write all those post-Christmas thank you notes.


Tragic or Comic: Two Visions of Life and Leadership

It’s no secret we are in the midst of a cultural crisis, not merely a financial one. There are many causes for this, but perhaps none more pronounced than that of a faulty vision of life and leadership. We see this not only in political leaders—whose influence, good or bad, is not nearly as profound as we think; we see it in every arena of our culture. And it’s been building for decades. 
Read more of Dan Russ’ FAITH + IDEAS essay...


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jan Carlberg To Be Featured at Christ Church Readers and Writers

Friday, January 16, at 7:30 p.m. Jan Carlberg will be the featured author at the Readers and Writers Guild of Christ Church of Hamilton and Wenham. She will read from her stories that, she says, offer “glimpses of a God Who somehow loves us enough to show up, especially when we know we least deserve His company.”
The Readers and Writers Guild offers a unique opportunity for creative writers to come together in the context of their faith.
“I asked Jan to read because I heard her storytelling at a Gordon event,” said Betsy Retallack, volunteer director of the Guild. “She was available for our January gathering and I’d been hoping to get her involved. When she said yes, a literary marriage occurred.” Read more...


A Newsroom Apprenticeship

Jon Phelps ’08 loves writing. A communication arts major with a media studies and writing concentration, Jon wrote for the Tartan and took some journalism classes while at Gordon. He landed an internship with the The Salem News and flourished. “I usually wrote two to four stories a week, and all but one got printed in the paper,” he said. Jon worked with Ben Adelman, the metro editor and also a Gordon alumnus. Adelman gave Jon constructive criticism and encouraged him to take his writing to the next level.
“My favorite part of the internship at The Salem News was just being in the newsroom,” Jon said. “Learning what it’s really like to work at a newspaper."


Friday, January 2, 2009

Baldwin Family Heads for Australia with YWAM

Steve Baldwin, adjunct professor of communications and ’89 Gordon alum, recently announced that he and his wife, Allyson, have made the decision to enter full-time missions. They will be leaving for Perth, Australia, to team up with Youth With A Mission for an initial tour of service; they will later join with Create International, a partner ministry to YWAM.
“We work to see people in every tribe, tongue and nation transformed for God’s glory. Our mission is to share the gospel by producing effective, compelling media tools that people can understand in their own culture and language,” said the Baldwins. “What a joy it is to be part of this extended church family! We look forward to working together with you for years and years to come. We look forward to sharing our stories with you and hearing about your exciting adventures as well.”
Follow their journey on their blog, The Baldwin Boomerang.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Alumni Article Appears in Sports Illustrated

Thomas Lake ’01, former communication arts major, recently shared with Gordon his first story published in Sports Illustrated magazine.
“It’s in the December 8, 2008, issue, and it’s all about a high school basketball game where two boys came back to beat five,” he said.
Thomas is currently a general assignment reporter in the Tampa bureau of the St. Petersburg Times. Before joining the Times in 2006, he worked for The Press-Sentinel (GA), the Salem News (MA), and the Florida Times-Union (FL).
Read Thomas’ Sports Illustrated article here.