Here’s how the publisher (Pearson Higher Ed) describes the text: “With dramatically revised illustrations, the Twelfth Edition of Environmental Science: Toward a Sustainable Future is even more student-friendly while retaining the currency and accuracy that has made Wright/Boorse a best seller. The text and media program continue to help students understand the science behind environmental issues and what they can do to build a more sustainable future, with further exploration of the hallmark core themes: Science, Sustainability, and Stewardship.”
New Testament scholar and theologian Scot McKnight used to ask his students if they thought Jesus made mistakes learning Hebrew or mathematics or Israelite history. “The question, I learned, was a good way to get students to think about the humanity of Jesus.” Those discussions also confirmed for him that many Christians did not know how to think of Jesus in human terms, which is also why McKnight has endorsed and written the introduction for the second edition of, “Flesh-and-Blood Jesus: Learning to Be Fully Human,” by Dan Russ, academic dean.
The book’s new and updated edition—which was recently released—includes McKnight’s introduction, a new chapter on Jesus and money, and many revised and expanded ideas, sentences, paragraphs and chapters, based in part on feedback Russ received from readers.
In addition to exploring various ways the Son of Man lived as a human, Russ also writes about the importance and power of money in the life of Jesus and our own lives. “(This) was a much needed addition (in the book), especially when considering the influence of today’s culture of materialism. We need to see how Christ himself responded to the challenges money can present.” Flesh-and-Blood Jesus was first published in 2008, and is one of many published works by Russ .
As another semester comes to a close, Timothy Sherratt, professor of political science, reflects on a year filled with challenges and questions, both essential elements in the process of learning—and living. (His essay will appear in the upcoming edition of Capital Commentary published by the Center for Public Justice.)
At the Corner of Need and Calling
By Timothy Sherratt
The academic year is ending. In the first year seminar course I teach, the spring semester picked up where the fall had left off, moving from character and the good life to consideration of community and justice. Students embarked on service projects in the City of Lynn, near in miles but far in cultural and economic distance.
The political backdrop to the semester saw the President inaugurated for a second term, sandwiched between the averted fiscal cliff and the looming sequester. Hopeful signs accompanied a renewed debate on firearms, occasioned by the atrocity at Sandy Hook, and on immigration, occasioned by predictions of electoral extinction for the G.O.P.
The semester ends on notes of tragedy and terror. Bombings at the Boston marathon. A political rather than a popular failure to take commonsense steps to restrict gun violence, even as some in Congress excoriate federal agencies for failing to intercept the makers of an IED. Closer to home, the community memorializes a freshman killed in a traffic accident and remembers a beloved professor taken by a heart attack at the peak of his powers. Referencing these events, one student declared with refreshing transparency, “Transience is suddenly becoming a very real issue.”
A common theme emerges in my students’ final papers. There is so much injustice and so much need. Am I in the right place, going to college? What is God calling me to do? All this time spent equipping; shouldn’t I be doing?
There are, I respond, certain problems with this view. The need is great, but it lies deeper and is more varied than the most visibly urgent concerns. Short-term missions and direct aid have their place. But have we asked ourselves how much difference good government could make in most of the places where the aid is destined?
Besides this, education cannot be reduced to equipping. To the Christian, the mind is not a luxury made available only to an elite but is instead integral to human living, securing our health in the largest sense against the reductionists of our age. It is the ballast that holds us fast against what George Steiner memorably termed, “the detergent tide of social conformity.”
But I sympathize with these nineteen-year-olds. Theirs are some of the right questions. The Christian life ought to be lived at the intersection of Need and Calling. Living it there creates an appropriate tension in a fallen world, one that helps us examine our vocations for evidence of cynicism or indulged self-interest.
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Sabbatical is a time for new ideas, fresh experiences and ongoing scholarship. Each happened this spring for Jeffrey S. Miller, professor of theatre arts, when he returned to Minneapolis to direct a show . . . . with former students who are now professional artists. He wrote the following response:
“Every Teacher-Artist’s Dream” by Jeffrey S. Miller
I suspect fathers and mothers experience something similar when their kids joyfully choose to take up the professions to which they have given their lives. Teachers certainly do when their students become their colleagues. But all the imagination in the world could not have prepared me for the deeply moving and richly satisfying experience of creatively collaborating with young artists I once badgered, criticized, prodded, cajoled, hassled, humored, reprimanded and—hopefully—nurtured when they were starting their professional journeys. This was one of those rare moments of unexpected astonishment every teacher-artist should have, and one I will always treasure as evidence of God’s grace and confirmation.
Technically, it all started at Bethel College, now University, where I both earned my undergraduate degree and later taught in the Department of Theatre Arts. I had plans to be a doctor but a wise professor named Rainbow, of all things, saw in me certain proclivities that would never fit with a life in medicine. And though far too young and inexperienced, I was given an opportunity to hone my skills teaching and directing at Bethel just as I was completing graduate studies at the U of MN. My earliest students were just a few years younger than me . . .
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The modern university owes much to religion’s influence throughout history. In fact, there’s a direct connection and ongoing influence, both of which have kept Tal Howard, professor of history and director of the Center for Faith and Inquiry, busy this spring.
Earlier this month, Howard gave a keynote lecture at the conference on “Religion and the Idea of the Research University” in Cambridge, England. In early May, he’ll present at a workshop hosted by Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study on a similar theme. And this July, he’ll travel to Oxford for a gathering of Templeton grantees for Templeton’s Religion and Innovation and Human Affairs grant initiative.
The initiative also made possible the upcoming conference at Gordon on November 14-16, 2013, “Protestantism? Reflections in Advance of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation,” for which the Center for Faith and Inquiry received a grant in collaboration with Dr. Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame. Howard’s talks and work with Noll at the conference will culminate in a new book.
For almost 10,000 years of recorded history, most people had to eke out a living in pain and difficulty. What was once the global norm, today’s deep poverty is almost entirely foreign to citizens in the developed world. What’s been the impact?
Stephen Smith, professor of economics, Bruce Webb, emeritus professor of economics, and their colleague Edd Noell of Westmont College, answer that question in their new book, “Economic Growth: Unleashing the Potential of Human Flourishing.” Published by AEI Press as part of its Values and Capitalism series, the authors offer “empirical evidence from the past two centuries showing the relationship between growth and human well-being, greater global income equality, and environmental improvements and sustainability. They make the case that economic growth is key to lifting societies from dire poverty to prosperity and holds the promise of sustaining unreached levels of human flourishing.”
Often regarded as the most important play of the 20th century, Samuel Beckett’s classic existentialist tragicomedy Waiting for Godot is re-imagined in the hands of director and theatre arts professor Norman Jones. His production of the absurdist masterpiece emphasizes not the futility of human hope—as many productions are wont to do—but the “insidious nature of hope,” exploring how and why we continue to hope when it seems there is no hope left.
The Gordon College Department of Theatre Arts production of Waiting for Godot opens April 12, and performances will follow on April 13 and 16–20. All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Margaret Jensen Theatre at the Barrington Center for the Arts. Tickets may be purchased online.
“It is poignant, endearing, and surprisingly funny,” said Jones. “I was drawn to the characters’ desperate attempts to find meaning in an uncertain world.”
Notably, the cast includes two women in the roles of Pozzo and the boy, joining a small number of productions that have allowed women to take on any of the five male roles, which Beckett famously insisted be played by men.
The production features Gordon students Ryan Coil ’13 (Nashville, TN), Chloe Eaton ’15 (Santa Barbara, CA), Amelia Haas ’15 (Roslindale, MA), Luke Miller ’14 (Coopersburg, PA), and Taylor Nelson ’13 (Northwood, NH), as well as an original set designed by Salem State University professor Michael Harvey.
Waiting for Godot is part of Gordon’s Celebration of the Arts, a week-long festßival of art exhibitions and performances with leading voices from across artistic disciplines, such as Gordon Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts Bruce Herman, film producer Ralph Winter, artist Makoto Fujimura, pianist Mia Chung, and theologian Jeremy Begbie.
Click HERE for the full schedule of events.
In his most recent column in the Huffington Post, President and Sociologist D. Michael Lindsay explores the many benefits of a liberal arts education, especially for future entrepreneurs.
Useful Innovation: The Next Great Challenge for Liberal Arts Colleges
By D. Michael Lindsay
“It’s happening all around us, and the higher education community needs to pay attention. More and more, young people today are looking to entrepreneurial opportunities as the way of advancing the common good. Whether starting an innovative non-profit or a socially conscious business, these emerging leaders are motivated to make a difference with their lives.
“I’ve seen it in my own community just north of Boston. Gordon College alum Sam Winslow, for example, recently founded Thirst Footwear, which will fund new wells in sub-Saharan Africa through every shoe purchase. Then there’s the Accessible Icon Project — a collaboration between faculty members Brian Glenney and Tim Ferguson-Sauder, current Gordon students, Cambridge artist Sarah Hendron, and the disability advocacy group Triangle — which is working to change public perceptions of disability through a more active, engaged visual representation of the ‘Handicap Symbol.’ Gordon College itself has recently partnered with Praxis Labs, an organization that supports the development of new social enterprises through mentoring and funding opportunities.
“An entrepreneurial spirit is thriving among the next generation. Yet in order to turn their ambition into action, today’s students will need a solid foundation that prepares them for the unique challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurship. This is where a strong liberal arts education can give young entrepreneurs a significant advantage.” READ THE REST OF PRESIDENT LINDSAY’S COLUMN.
Out of a dinner conversation between artists and friends, a unique collaboration of “poetry, paint and music” was born. QU4RTETS, a touring exhibit featuring the paintings of Bruce Herman, Gordon’s Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts, opens in the Gallery April 13 and runs through May 1. Here’s how Herman describes his work in his artist’s statement:
“My work here is painted in parallel form to T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets—not as a direct illustration of specific lines. I’ve steeped in the beautiful language and imagery of the poem but avoided attempting a visual equivalent of Eliot’s text. I’ve tried rather to find a fitting means to respond, in the medium of paint, to the same realities that moved the poet.
“Eliot’s ideas on cultural memory have been a guiding light to me over the course of four decades as I’ve tried to bridge traditional figure painting and modern abstraction—looking for an objective correlative (Eliot’s term) in order to achieve significant emotion in painting. He emphasized the necessity of submitting oneself to tradition in order to make something authentically new, and this resonated deeply for me growing up in the 1960s, an era of massive cultural upheaval.
“In this collaboration with Mako Fujimura and Chris Theofanidis, I am addressing an old painterly tradition: the Four Seasons and Four Stages of life (implicit in Four Quartets). I’ve also interacted directly with Eliot’s use of the Four Elements—earth, air, fire, and water—especially as seen in ‘Little Gidding,’ in which Eliot employs Dante’s terza rima style to create a set of meditations on death and resurrection (‘This is the death of air’ or ‘This is the death of water and fire’). I’ve also tried to point toward the mysterious ‘fifth element’ (quintessence) known to the classical and medieval mind as the æther, that element believed to suffuse and enfold all things.
“Working with the rule of four, pointing toward the fifth element, I’ve laid out a gold and silver grid that is interwoven with every other layer of the paintings. This grid functions both as a time signature and, because of the unpredictability of the light reflections, as an emerging temporal narrative both inside and outside of the painting (the viewer completes the work with his or her reflection—in effect giving me a chance to disappear as author of the finished work). As the light changes or one passes in front of the image, the reflective surface of the gold and silver shifts, bending the light and invoking that liquid, spiritual light in which we live and move and have our being––the quintessence or presence of God.
“I’m grateful to Mr. Eliot for leaving behind a path I could follow in order to locate a place of ‘complete simplicity costing not less than everything,’ to bear witness to the very same hope that is repeated twice in the poem in the words of Julian of Norwich: ‘And all shall be well, and / All manner of thing shall be well.’ A costly hope that is only possible, in Eliot’s setting, ‘When the tongues of flame are in-folded / Into the crowned knot of fire / And the fire and rose are one.’”