Friday, November 30, 2012
It was Massimo Faggioli's provocative lecture title, “Vatican II: Then and Now,” that likely drew many local Catholic parishioners, as well as Gordon faculty and students, to the Ken Olsen Science Center MacDonald Auditorium for the final talk of the Fall 2012 Faith Seeking Understanding Lecture Series at Gordon College. Faggioli explored in his lecture the history, theology and broad cultural impact of the Second Vatican Council. Professor Faggioli, assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, is an Italian scholar who has taught at the University of Bologna, the University of Modena-Reggio Emilia, and the Free University of Bolzen-Bolzano; he brought his passion and enthusiasm for church history to his listeners.
Beginning in 1962 and concluding in 1965, the Second Vatican Council represented a major effort on the part of the Catholic Church to address issues of modernity in a way understood by many (Faggioli included) to be more open and culturally engaged than the Church's approach through "the long 19th century."
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The Fall Brawl, New England’s largest amateur skateboarding contest, took place earlier this month. Among the highly selective crop of 50 invited competitors were Gordon College students Matt Lane ’13, a recreation and leisure studies major, and Steve Mull ’15, an English major.
After warm-ups—a kind of Battle Royale which seemed to defy not only Newton’s laws of nature but Hobbes’ nasty, brutish, and short state of nature—competitors plied their tricks in groups of five for several minutes while judges jotted notes and, at points, covered their eyes. Following a few elimination rounds (a term I use in both its technical and descriptive senses), only two groups remained. Both our heroes, Gordiators we might call them, remained in the fight.
Allow me a moment to clarify something: skateboarding is not a sport. These contests are not really a competition amongst skateboarders. Skateboarding is, rather, an inherently kinetic activity of the body—not unlike ballet or other forms of artistic dance—which simply adds further dimensions of speed and landscape. What do you have when you add landscape to ballet? Parkour. Now, add speed—pushing-a-wheeled-stick-as-hard-as-possible-with-your-mobile-leg speed—and you get skateboarding. Add several skateboarders together, you get a session. Add judges, you get a contest. The Fall Brawl, then, is really some breed of obstacled, high-speed, free-form ballet—and Lane and Mull are kinetic artists of rare quality.
“Matt [Lane]’s the best up-and-coming skater in Boston, hands down,” I overheard from Josh, part-owner of Boardwalk Skate Shop and Indoor Skate Park in Woburn. Matt’s recent feature article in Steez, a top skateboarding magazine, sharpen Josh’s point, as does Matt’s mug on the cover of another premier magazine, Focus. What makes Matt so good is that he rarely misses a trick. What’s more, every trick he does is done faster and bigger than anyone else who does that trick. I feel sorry for the obstacles in Matt’s landscape. It’s like watching a silverback gorilla move across a jungle floor: the trees might try to get out of the way, but the silverback is just too quick. Power, courage and backbone like Matt’s—well, you just can’t buy that stuff.
Steve Mull, whose signature board just came out with his sponsor, Vermont Skateboards (yes, I mean that Steve Mull has a skateboard deck with his name printed on it in fancy script next to graphics that would make any street artist go legal), is a different kind of skater. His style is influenced by the round and sloped semi-rural landscape of his home, Vermont. This kid is pure style. (And to use this word, ‘style,’ multiple times, as I intend to, is not being repetitive when describing Steve Mull.) Mull’s contest performance was marked by his signature trick, a very long, stylish stalefish crooked, which looks something like this (skip ahead to 2:30). It’s a trick as difficult as it is original. Steve Mull: innovator, innovator, innovator… and style-king… and owner of a heart-warming smile that could melt a Vermont winter.
Matt Lane, Steve Mull, we love you. You make Gordon proud—for your backbone and your style; for throwing your whole selves onto those boards.
Brian Glenney, PhD, is assistant professor of philosophy at Gordon College, where he also teaches a skateboarding physical education class. In addition to his peer-reviewed scholarly work on philosophical psychology and perception, Glenney has been an active skateboarder and (reformed, legal) street artist for over twenty years. His scholarly interests in perception and personal passions for art and mobility have recently coalesced into the Accessible Icon Project, a collaboration with Harvard artist Sara Hendren to transform the International Symbol of Access (the Wheelchair Symbol) into an “active, engaged image.”
Photos: 1—Steve Mull ’15, Frontside 180 Kickflip; 2—Matt Lane ’13, Frontside Nosegrind
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Working: A Musical is based on real interviews with American workers, conducted by writer Studs Terkel in the 1970s. Through a series of individual stories and ensemble numbers, the audience is offered a glimpse into the frustration, joy, pride and aspirations of average American workers.
Directed by Gordon professor Jeff Miller, the cast and crew were challenged with reimagining this classic American musical, each playing multiple characters and assisting the tech crew.
“The cast and crew deserve an enormous amount of praise for a very successful run…One of my favorite things about watching an ensemble cast is seeing each cast member get to embody multiple, different roles,” said production manager and technical director Matt Schwabauer.
One of these performers was Cristin Gordon ’14, a theatre arts major. “Being a part of a show like Working was amazing because of how close the entire cast and crew became. It's awesome to get to perform in such a fun, nurturing environment. Also, I felt honored to perform these roles and tell the stories of these people.”
Miller echoed these sentiments in his reflection about his students’ performance: “For college students to embrace and give integrity to these characters who are very different from themselves (in more than age) is a major accomplishment. Time and again we heard that audience members were moved, challenged and deeply affected by hearing these stories.”
Josh Kaplan ’16, a communication arts major, was one of those who connected with the stories presented by the cast. “Working was very thought provoking. The text of the piece and the performances by the actors truly made me think what is the value of work in today’s society.”
Another first-year student, Damaris Gibaldi, was excited both to serve as assistant stage manager and take part in a production that tackled these timely themes. “Not only did I learn about the logistics of backstage work, but I got to be a part of a show that clearly demonstrated the worth of the working class.”
Miller had been eager to present a show that communicated the values and complexity of work and vocation, and he concluded that he was humbled by his students’ “commitment to excellent work and their full commitment to their Creator, who gives them the opportunity to use their gifts in service like this.”
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
By Hilary Sherratt ’12
“The real question is, how do we train chemists?” John Warner looked intently at each face in the front two rows of the MacDonald auditorium. “How do we expect chemists not to make harmful compounds if they’ve never been taught how to identify them?” Education was the key word at Monday afternoon's Green Chemistry Lecture at Gordon College. Warner, a world renowned industrial chemist and founder of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, shared his personal journey into green chemistry and his commitment to calling attention to this unmet need.
When he was a lead researcher at Polaroid, Warner met with his college friend and colleague, Paul Anastas, at the Environmental Protection Agency. Anastas was working in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, and the two men got to talking about the need for environmentally benign non-toxics. This, Dr. Warner told us, was the birth of green chemistry. “It started with the two of us, wondering why there is such a lack of conversation around this important issue,” he said. The initial conversation in an EPA office in Washington, DC, sparked a worldwide revolution, the publication of a book, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, and a new field of research and development in chemistry. Now, Warner says, green chemistry is projected to be a $100 billion industry by the year 2020.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Since coming to Gordon, McKenzie, a biblical studies major, has sought the means to bring her passion for hunger and thirst to the campus community. Steph Clark ’15, a social work major, recently joined forces with McKenzie, and the two have brought to life a brand-new ministry called Aruhah—Hebrew for “meal.”
Monday, November 12, 2012
Each year the Day of Prayer celebrates two fundamental realities about Gordon. On the one hand, we are one body in Christ. By praying together in two large chapel services on Tuesday, we sought the Lord as one campus. The morning service began with the Morning Chapel Band, the Dance Ministry, and others, all calling us to worship. We moved through a time of individual and corporate confession. And we prayed in groups for the needs of this community, this nation, and all nations.
In the evening we worshipped again as one in the chapel with a congregational expression of the Psalms through song. From a lone voice in the darkness expressing the cries of the Psalmist in Psalm 130, to voices in unison reading the Psalms of Ascent; from hymns to contemporary music to bluegrass; from a Taizé chorus to Gospel music led by the Gospel Choir, we raised our voices in prayer and praise together, using the words of the Psalms.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Last Saturday's opening reception, in addition to unveiling this body of work for the first time to a New England audience, gave Gordon students and gallery visitors the chance to hear from two of Joseph Fiore’s closest contacts. The first was the curator of the exhibit, David Dewey, himself an artist and former student of Fiore. Before his passing in 2008, Joseph Fiore asked Dewey to take on the significant honor and challenge of preserving and curating his artwork. Dewey spent over a year preparing Fiore/Drawing, and he was delighted to see the work on the gallery walls in Barrington.
Joseph Fiore’s own daughter, Susanna Fiore, was also in attendance. Susanna and her husband, Jay—both accomplished jazz musicians from Boston—paid tribute to her father’s love of music with a wonderful set of classic jazz standards and original pieces. It was a fitting atmosphere for an artist whose work inherently reflects the energy and rhythms of live music.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The Conference on Faith and History, held biennially and hosted this October at Gordon College, provides a forum for scholars of Christianity and history to learn from one another. Professors, scholars and students from all over the country bring their questions and insights. The intermingling of so many levels of scholarship is a big part of what makes the CFH such a valuable experience. It was a unique privilege for Gordon students and professors to be able to attend presentations by notable historians who have widely influenced the study of history.
Dr. Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, presented the conference's final lecture, entitled “Scriptura Sola after Nearly 500 Years: A Protestant Blessing or a Protestant Curse?” Scriptura sola, Latin for “by scripture alone,” refers to the belief that the Bible includes all the information necessary for a life of salvation. Noll’s talk laid out the progression of Protestants' use of scriptura sola throughout American history. As he began, Noll quipped, “After 500 years, has scriptura sola been a blessing or a curse? The answer, of course, is…yes. That’s it, thank you—end of lecture.” The audience of iPad-clutching professors and notebook-crinkling students laughed, and settled into their seats for what they knew would be a much more thorough addressing of this challenging question.
Noll explored the diverse meanings that people have drawn from this concept during different time periods. He also raised difficult questions about the Protestant use of scripture, including the historical justification of slavery and outright disagreements between congregations of the same faith.
There is ambiguity in the definition of scriptura sola, Noll stressed; what does it mean, exactly, to follow the Bible alone? Some Christians uphold the sole use of the Bible in living the Christian life; others advocate the exploration of texts from other religions in order to better understand our own. According to Noll, the best solution is for Christians to be socially and politically engaged, infiltrating the layers of society with scriptural wisdom—a method, Noll pointed out, exemplified by our school’s founder, A. J. Gordon. Regardless of scriptura sola’s exact meaning in our world now, we know that scripture commands us to extend the love of Christ. This, Noll emphasized, is what we should pay attention to.
Noll’s lecture provided a triumphant conclusion to four days of vigorous discussion of the overlaps between faith and history. A true scholar of faith, he left us with questions and with a call to action.
Photo: Scholars from all over the country came together with Gordon students this month for the biennial Conference for Faith and History—pictured here in the Ken Olsen Science Center lobby.
Rebekah Connell ’15 is an English major from New York and student writer for the Office of College Communications.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Often, Belcher explained, the moment comes during a person’s college years—away from home, from parents and youth group, from most of the inherited aspects of her religious faith. Drawing from the research of another well-known Gordon alumnus, Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith ’83, Belcher shared some sobering facts about how our most recent generation of college students and graduates (termed "emerging adults") fare through this critical moment. Upwards of 90 percent of emerging adults take on the social and spiritual identity of their immediate surroundings, even if it goes against the identity of their youth.
This means that many emerging adults who were raised in the Christian faith “put that [Christian] identity in a lockbox," said Belcher, once they enter into the largely faith-skeptical realm of secular higher education. They then emerge on the other side of their college years brandishing a sort of vague spirituality Smith calls Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD)—God without grounding in theology or creed, accompanying a general moral, spiritual and social aimlessness.
“Can MTD be escaped?” Belcher asked. How can we instill enduring faith in ourselves and in future generations? It’s a question Belcher has been grappling with for years.
After earning degrees from Gordon College, Fuller Theological Seminary and Georgetown University, Belcher became the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California. He made his debut as a Christian voice on the national stage with the thoughtful and fair-minded Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional, celebrated as one of Christianity Today's "best books from 2009." Now an associate professor of practical theology at Knox Theological Seminary, Belcher continues to seek a vibrant and firmly rooted faith in his work as a pastor, teacher and scholar.
And as Belcher explained in his Chapel message Monday morning, the firm, sustaining root of the Church is in the enduring story of Christ. Drawing a comparison to Lucy’s discovery of the magic of the “Spell for the Refreshment of the Spirit” in C. S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Belcher reiterated that “once you have been gripped by that story [of Christ], you will want to hear it over and over again.”
It is the timeless power of the Christian narrative that ultimately resists the casual draw of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, and which creates a culture of bold Christian leaders ready to live out that narrative in the world. “I’m thankful that I was able to get exposure to that kind of story here at Gordon, 25 years ago,” said Belcher.
Belcher is currently working on a follow-up to Deep Church, titled In Search of Deep Faith.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
By Ashlie Busone '13
After a lifetime of looking directly in front of me, three months in Tanzania taught me to look around.
Twenty-five hours in the air, one night in a dirty Dar es Salaam hostel, three hours on a crowded bus with chickens and children alike being passed along my lap, a short dala dala ride, and a long walk to the end of a dark red dirt road . . .
There’s a wall there.
There’s a what, where? With over 50 pounds of donated school supplies and tie-dyed t-shirts, and a pack on my back full of three months'-worth of life . . . I wasn’t exactly prepared to scale a large cement wall. So my traveling partner’s stark observation came as an unwelcome challenge.
Sijui, she told me. I don’t know.
Well, that’s great, I thought, staring up at the wall that separated us, clay stained feet and all, from the house we were supposed to move into for the summer. Neither do I.
I contemplated pulling out my trusty Lonely Planet Tanzania guide and scanning the index for “what to do if there’s a literal wall between you and your home,” hoping to find some helpful piece of wisdom like “use the other half of your boarding pass and the dental floss your mother made you pack to construct a pulley system and hoist yourself over the thing,” or “call the Lost Backpacker’s Hotline and ask for Juma, the wall remover—remember to say ‘asante!’”
Instead we called Mustafa, a local friend who found us and laughed for just a few minutes in the traditional Tanzanian way before effortlessly hoisting our bag full of donations onto his head, and gently leading us around the wall and through a neighboring field, over a hill and into our compound. He acted as our gardener, our guard and our source of entertainment for the duration of our stay in Morogoro. Mustafa helped us navigate many more roads, and guided us down paths we never could have found in the first place.
It was the first moment he arrived, though, that struck me. Mustafa’s smile told me he understood our frustration. He could see past our smirks and into our fear. It was as if he could hear the little voices screaming inside my head. The ones that doubted my ability to teach, and laughed at my reasons for “giving up” a summer to volunteer, as well as questioned the validity of our purpose at SEGA, the school we’d be working with. He could probably even hear the jumbled Swahili–English phrases floating around in my mind that resulted in mass confusion (not just for me, but for all of my partners in conversation).
Yes, Mustafa could hear all those voices, but somehow they didn’t prevent him from understanding our attempts (in broken Swahili) to relate to him. He simply took our hands and led us to the place we could figure things out. He situated us among our fears, our anxieties and our challenges, and helped us cultivate a life of beauty for ourselves that made sense among the confusion and the chaos. This was mostly ironic, because we thought we had gone to Tanzania to help people like him do that. We had spent our lives looking up, but he had an innate ability to look around and help those wearing virtual peripheral blinders.
Mustafa’s gesture offered more than a guidebook. At first glance, the photograph above might look like any other: two friends in a field full of flowers in the East African bush . . . frolicking and “changing lives,” and all that it may entail. But in reality, this walk was the beginning of a beautiful adventure into a Tanzanian summer full of lessons. His was the voice that told us “you’ve come home,” and welcomed us as whole people—anxiety and all.
Along with how to eat ugali, how to fashion a headscarf out of a khanga, what to say in response to “habari gani?” and where to go to get a new passport, I’ve learned that when you reach a wall in your path, what you need is someone who will help you look around. The people you thought you’d come to reach will find you first. They will (quite literally) carry you home.
Instead of saying “kwaheri” or “goodbye” to Tanzania, I ended up saying “karibu,” which means “welcome.” Welcome to a new stage in your life, to a new place on the map, to a new way of thinking, loving, and feeling. Welcome home. Look around.
Ashlie Busone '13 is a a Pike scholar majoring in Spanish from Ballston Lake, NY, and is the founder and president of Hippies for Hope.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Last weekend Gordon College students and faculty from the Biology Department partnered with the Trustees of Reservations and Crane Beach in Ipswich to help in this international marine effort. Students assisted with bags in hand, gloves for protection and marine stat worksheets for their documentation. The six students and two faculty members (Dr. Dorothy Boorse and Dr. Craig Story) collected items throughout the day.
"We found mostly food wrappers, cigarette filters, and bottle caps, but also found some unusual items like a glow stick and spray nozzle for a hose," said Megan Means, a senior biology major from Colorado, who helped organize the event this year. "When I volunteer for a Coast Sweep, I feel a connection with something greater than myself. Cleaning the beach is a way I can say thank you to nature for sharing its beauty with me." Means volunteered for her first Coastal Clean-up as a first-year student at Gordon. Now this college senior has participated for three years.
Crane Beach began partnering with Ocean Conservancy in the late 80's and Gordon College over the last decade. Garry Dow heads the Crane Education program for the Crane Estate. "Gordon's faculty are a great addition to an event like this," said Dow who reported over 50 people came out this year from across the community. "They care not just about the event, but find ways to make the experience more tangible and valuable to the classroom experience." The collected data will be submitted to Ocean Conservancy where the data is analyzed and used to develop programs aimed at reducing marine debris worldwide.
"Coast sweep is a perfect marriage for Biology programs like Gordon's," said Dow. " Every volunteer is given a data card and on that card they record every bit of marine debris collected. We tabulate the local results and hand them over to the regional post at UMass Boston. It's extremely quantifiable--It gives us, and students studying marine science a really good sense of what's floating around in our local waters."
Over the past 25 years, more than 8.5 million people have crossed nearly 300,000 miles collecting 144 million pounds of trash. "Gordon's students went out for a long time," remarked Dow. "They are everything you hope for in a volunteer – the students are trustworthy, polite and know why they are here. I wish there were more local organizations this committed to the environment. It's nice to know we can count on Gordon every year to show up with a van full of students and professors."
Following their service, the crew at Crane Beach and the Trustees of the Reservation hosted a BBQ to thank this year's volunteers.
Photo 1: Gordon Professor Dr. Dorothy Boorse inspecting some of the materials collected at Crane Beach. Photo 2:Gordon volunteers and Trustees of Reservations staff member Garry Dow enjoy a cookout together following their service at Coastal Clean-up.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Everyone loves the GCSM Retreat—that’s what Gordon’s ministry directors say about their annual jaunt to Camp Brookwoods in New Hampshire. “It affords us the opportunity to really pour into our students in a way that is impossible in the hustle and bustle of campus life,” says Laurie Truschel, director of student ministries.
Earlier this month, over 60 students who will be leading campus ministries this year rode buses up to Lake Winnipisaukee for three days of fellowship, training, and Glow-in-the-Dark Steal the Bacon. (That last part was optional.) Amid large group sessions, messages from directors, worship services, prayer, and adventures in the great outdoors, students gained a clearer vision for their roles as leaders and for the purpose of ministry at Gordon. The first night at camp, Dr. Greg Carmer offered a message on the theme of “Head, Heart, and Hands.” Through this framework, Dr. Carmer guided students toward “keeping everything together in our pursuit of God.” He emphasized connectivity with God, with each other, and within oneself.
As numerous Gordon students could testify, there is never a retreat in the woods without a good measure of fun and relaxation. Early morning hikes, late night campfires, and kayaking on Lake Winnipisaukee peppered the weekend of spiritual immersion. Group meals in the camp’s elegant dining hall gave faculty, directors and student leaders a chance to get to know one another on a more personal level. “My favorite part of the retreat is just relaxing with our leaders: laughing at meals, worshipping beside them, singing around the campfire, and listening to their hopes for the ministries they will be leading,” says Truschel.
The students, too, found these times of fellowship alongside faculty and staff to be valuable. “On Saturday night everyone was praying for each other’s concerns about the upcoming year,” recalled Ben Boossarangsi, a leader of the Catacombs worship team. “It was a powerful reminder that though we all have separate ministries that we tend to get wrapped up in, we are part of a larger vision.”
The last morning of the retreat provided everyone with more than an hour of silent solitude, in addition to the memorable Commissioning Service overlooking the lake. “The setting is so beautiful—a great reminder of the majestic God we serve,” says Laura Carmer, director of missions and service learning. “This is a rich time for laying our work before that same God and asking him for the wisdom and grace to fulfill our roles faithfully.”
Abram Kielsmeier-Jones, director of Christian life and worship, also testified to the success of the retreat. “We received multiple comments about how refreshed our ministry leaders felt as a result of this retreat.”
Some of the most common favorite moments on the retreat? The times of prayer and quiet reflection—something busy college students have precious little time for. “The retreat was a great way to get me mentally and spiritually prepared to lead,” said Trey Walsh, who will be leading a spiritual life group. “To have time to clear my mind in order to better grasp the presence of God was very powerful.”
Photo: GCSM Retreat group at Camp Brookwoods in New Hampshire.
Rebekah Connell ’15 is an English major from New York and student writer for the Office of College Communications.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The video for the band's new single, "Late Nights," was released on MTV's Buzzworthy this morning. Though this is the fourth music video for In The Car, this is the first time their creative work has been featured on the world's largest visual music platform. With many of the local filming taking place in the Boston region, North Shore Magazine also picked up a feature highlighting In The Car's work and the excitement this duo brings to New England's east coast.
But Ferguson Sauder, who also runs the Return Design program at Gordon and teaches in the Art Department, wasn't the only Gordon connection who helped with creative production. Shaylah Fawn Deviney '10 took the photos that appeared throughout the video, James Lemire '11 and Abi Solberg '11 were production assistants, Meg Stevens '06 was the makeup artist, and Jill Rogati '06 served as the stunt coordinator. Other Gordon alumni who lent a hand included Bekah Jordan '12, Jason Rozen '05, Eve Amendola '05, Jon Chubb '04, and Audrey Claire Johnson '05.
Photo 1: Gordon College alumni Dan Stevens '07 and David Ells '07 of In The Car with I Call Fives band members during production of their latest project. Photo 2: Dan Stevens. Photo 3: Jill Rogati '06 testing stunts while filmmaker David Ells captures the footage. Copyright: Shaylah Fawn Deviney '10.
Monday, September 17, 2012
As a Gordon student, I know it takes a lot for a speaker to engage a chapel full of busy college students in such a way that he or she is actually able to evoke laughter from the crowd. Michael Gerson—opinion columnist for the Washington Post, former aide and speechwriter to President George W. Bush and author of some of the President's key speeches following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—did just this. He made the room laugh, yet also drew the audience into more serious reflection through his rhetorical eloquence.
Gerson also met with Gordon's six Presidential Fellows, engaging us in more personal conversation before delivering his keynote address for the Richard F. Gross Distinguished Lecture Series Thursday evening. While our meeting was off-the-record, I can say that it was an honor to meet with him, and that it was during this informal time that I began to notice Gerson's composure, confidence and personal humility.
Gerson’s Thursday night address, “Whose Responsibility is Opportunity?” began with some brief personal background and some humor at the speaker's own expense, then went on to address the “durable, deepening divide rooted in class.” In today’s society, he said, people are “betrayed by their birth,”—they are not given opportunities that others are given, because of where and to whom they were born.
Everyone should have an equal chance, Gerson stressed; everyone should have an opportunity. He encouraged us to become more aware of inequality and willing to help develop an atmosphere where creativity flourishes. We must be willing to embrace the ideology that God is on the side of justice.
When Gerson spoke the next day at Gordon's weekly Convocation gathering, he focused on "Three Responses to Suffering." He explained that as Christians, we must have compassion, demand justice, and embrace affliction. We should be willing to get involved with social activism but be careful not to make this activism itself our primary focus. He explained that by making God second, we put ourselves in mortal danger. While it is important to focus on our values, we must first focus on God. The world does not lack for important causes, he noted; it does, however, lack people pursuing these causes with their focus first on God. Here is where we as Christians must come in. We are all called to enable the flourishing of creativity and opportunity, as well as develop a compassion that is deeply rooted in a focus on God.
Amber Joy Fiedler ’13 is a Gordon Presidential Fellow working in the office of the Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communications. She will be contributing her thoughts on life as a Fellow, College events, and student life over the upcoming school year.
Top photo—Gordon Presidential Fellows meet with Michael Gerson (left to right): Henry Hagen, Amber Fieldler, Skylar Bareford, Michael Gerson, D. Michael Lindsay, K. Trey Walsh, Eric Hilker.
Friday, September 7, 2012
My Mother’s Hands, My Father’s Heart is one of the largest and most diverse exhibits that Gordon has ever hosted, and the response from the local art community has been overwhelming. There was a record turnout at the opening reception on September 1st, as students, faculty and community supporters from around the North Shore filled the Gallery spaces to hear Harney speak about the work.
Harney suggests that the show is a series of reflections—real, imagined and dreamed—on the life and influence of his family and, in particular, his parents. “I chose the title… [as] an expression of my love, recollection and testimony to their inspiration—but another ‘reading’, and, admittedly, the one I've been preoccupied with for the past few years, is the realization that I indeed have my mother's arthritic hands and my father's heart condition,” said Harney.
Gallery Director Bruce Herman is thrilled with the exhibit and the contribution Tim Harney has made to the contemporary art world. “As Gallery Director, it is a particular pleasure to host this talented, thoughtful local artist,” Herman said. “Full of color, compositional complexity and textural variety, Harney's work is expressive and powerful and reveals great depth of insight into the human condition."
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The morning show, which airs on on over 170 news stations across the United States as well as internationally through the BBC, shone a spotlight on Vigeant's unique program in the context of its role in the 25% increase in standardized science-test scores for the City of Lynn—an unusually large increase for a public elementary school.
Massachusetts is considered a leader in K-12 STEM education nationwide, but average proficiency statewide on standardized tests has been, at best, only 50%. NPR first took an interest in Vigeant when they heard about the Lynn school district's success in test scores in schools using KnowAtom.
"We've figured out how to help teachers deliver content required by the state (and recommended by the National Academies and National Research Council) that engages students through labs," said Vigeant, who worked as a high school math teacher following his graduation from Gordon, and before founding KnowAtom. "Our approach places the emphasis on quality instruction and appeals to children's curiosity to help them achieve with the gifts they have been given. While we're happy that the standardized tests validate that we're producing rapid gains across all socioeconomics they are merely a data point to inform practices. We're most impressed with the level of engagement and understanding students exhibit though the curriculum beginning in first grade."
The KnowAtom program will be in place in all Lynn elementary schools and one city middle school starting tomorrow. They’re among the 31 Massachusetts schools to use Vigeant's program this fall, continuing the city's outstanding gains in MCAS results. "KnowAtom empowers students to make informed decisions in an increasingly complex world," said Vigeant. "In a classroom using KnowAtom, students learn that truth is not always what you’d expect it to be, nor is it always easy to find. As a graduate of Gordon, I’m pleased to carry forward what I’ve learned and pioneer what could transform American STEM education."
To listen to the broadcast, visit Boston's NPR station on WBUR here.
Friday, August 31, 2012
When the service concluded, the whole community emerged from the chapel, out into Wednesday's first whispers of clear fall breeze—this new year both a fresh beginning and the continuation of a long history together.
Photos: 1.) Faculty procession 2.) Dr. Marv Wilson, Harold John Ockenga Chair of Biblical and Theological Studies 3.) Dr. Ivy George, professor sociology and social work. Listen to Dr. Ivy's Matriculation Chapel speech here.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Submitted for your consideration:
Chances are if you've been at SoulFest for more than a couple hours, you'll recognize Dan Stevens ’07 (pictured above). This Gordon alum is the face of the festival's Inside Out stage, and also helms the College's daily giveaway. Dan takes his Revival stage time opportunities to outline some of his favorite things about Gordon, most recently waxing poetic about the food in Lane Student Center: "Gordon College: Good food, good prizes, happy SoulFest."
Dan is also one half of In The Car Media, a Beverly-based video production company Dan runs with David Ells ’07 that made the past two year's SoulFest video pieces.
In The Tents
I learned about the amazing work of Boston nonprofit Amirah last SoulFest, when I spoke with Sarah Durfey ’08 at length about her role in the Hub's abolitionist network. Sarah is a board member for the organization, which operates a safe house for women escaping human trafficking. This year, Amirah has it's own booth up here, and they're a Revival stage sponsor right alongside Gordon, and Sarah is up supporting their efforts as a volunteer at their table. Her work here, of course, is in addition to her full-time role as director of the Abolitionist Network at Emmanuel Gospel Center in Boston.
I've had the privilege to sit in on three great talks given by Gordon faculty and staff. Thursday we heard Professor of Chemistry Irv Levy speak on the changing landscape of the "green" movement. He cautioned the audience to be conscious consumers, not being indiscriminately taken in by "greenwashing"—putting green or "natural" labels on products with no verifiable advantage for the environment or human health—but instead to do some research and find out how we can each reduce, reuse and recycle most effectively.
In short, Gordon at SoulFest as many faces. They're silly, they're serious, they're compelling. They're all different.
Photo: Dan Stevens ’07 running Gordon's daily giveaway on the Gordon-sponsored Revival stage.
John Mirisola ’11 is a Gordon alum and staff writer for the College. Follow along this week as he blogs about all things Gordon College at SoulFest.