Merry Ornaments!

DSC05022 David Lee, professor of physics and pre-engineering (pictured here with some of his students’ festive works), inspired much merriment before the holidays with the 4th Annual Geekiest Ornament contest.

Students in his Introduction to Engineering class demonstrated their ornaments by hanging them up (or not) and turning them on (if applicable). Criteria for the contest entries were that they must: Fit inside a 6 x 6-inch box; Weigh less than 1 kg.; If using a power source or projectile, must not be dangerous; Be actually hangable on a Christmas tree.

None met the criteria though the efforts were more than creative.

“While designing within stated limits is an engineering maxim, strict adherence to the rules wasn’t the point this time,” said Lee. “This was intended as a fun way for first year engineering students to mark the end of the semester and the beginning of Christmas break.”

Read more here.

Painting for Character . . . and the Next Generation

DSC05079Last Tuesday, December 14, Tanja Butler, professor of art and painting, took her 13 students from Painting 1 to Harrington Elementary school in Lynn. Their final ‘exam’? To see their work displayed in the foyer of the school. Six Pillars of Character were the result of ongoing collaborations with the school, Gordon in Lynn partnerships, and other Gordon professors and classes. Writes Butler on the process: “I’ve been working with Jean Sbarra-Jones, our adjunct design professor, and Tim Ferguson-Sauder, creative director at Gordon and adjunct professor, to create banners and paintings for the Harrington Elementary School entrance hall. The pieces are designed to reinforce the character-building themes built into the school curriculum, and to add color, warmth, and energy to the entrance area.

My painting students worked with Jean’s communication arts department design students to develop the painting subjects and designs. The designs were then painted by the Painting I students, critiqued for further design development by the comm design students, and were completed by the painting class (by God’s grace!). Tim Ferguson-Sauder provided text banners to identify the character traits and present the school slogan.

DSC05051Along with Val Buchanan of Gordon In Lynn and Gordon’s Center for Community Engagement, we installed the paintings on Friday and had the official unveiling on Tuesday with our students and members of the Harrington community. We’re so grateful that the Harrington School has said, ‘our walls are open; use your gifts to invest in the next generation.’”

Verbal Oddities in Revelation

Mathewson_DaveDavid L. Mathewson, associate professor of Biblical studies, recently published his work on Greek verb tenses in “Revelation.” The book, entitled Verbal Aspect in the Book of Revelation: The Function of Greek Verb Tenses in John’s Apocalypse, is the fourth volume in Brill’s Linguistic Biblical Studies series. Below, a summary of Mathewson’s volume is followed by a description of the series from the publisher:

“The book of Revelation is well-known for its grammatical infelicities. More specifically, Revelation exhibits apparently ‘odd’ use of Greek verb tenses. Most attemtps to describe this ‘odd’ use of verb tenses start with the assumption that Greek verb tenses are primarily temporal in meaning. In order to explain Revelation’s apparent violation of these temporal values, scholars have proposed some level of semitic influence from the Hebrew tense system as making sense of this ‘odd’ use of tenses. However, recent research into verbal aspect, which calls into question this temporal orientation, and suggests that Greek verb tenses grammaticalize aspect and not time, has opened up new avenues for explaining the Greek verb tense usage in Revelation. This book applies verbal aspect theory to tense usage in Revelation and focuses on how the tenses, as communicating verbal aspect, function within sections of Revelation.”

Continue reading

Snow Dreams, Dusty Feet: Reflections for Advent

arlyene004Provost Mark Sargent offers a personal and stirring reflection here for the Christmas season. (Photo: Arlyne Van Dam Sargent on Christmas Day 1986, in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.)

Growing up in Southern California, I never dreamt of a white Christmas.  The best we could hope for was fog.  Every few years an early morning cloud layer would seep inland from the coast on Christmas, bringing a small dose of Dickens into suburban Los Angeles.  As children, we were even happy for the rain, especially when it flooded the street gutters and allowed us to race the small homemade boats that we occasionally got as gifts.

Only a fraction—usually about eight percent—of the world’s people will see the snow fall on Christmas.  More often, the holiday is celebrated under balmy skies.   Lights are strung over banyan trees in Thailand and along palm-bordered marinas in Singapore.  Papai Noel—or Father Christmas—wears silk to survive the Brazilian sun.  For many African families living on the Indian Sea, a white Christmas is a barbeque on the bleached sands of Diani or the Seychelles.

Jesus, for all we know, was born on a sultry night.  Many scholars place the birth in late spring or summer, when an evening on the West Bank would be warm enough for shepherds to watch all night in their fields.  Even in December, Bethlehem nights are cool but still temperate, perhaps even slightly humid.

I thought of the Christmas sun recently when watching Catherine Hardwicke’s film The Nativity Story. Continue reading

Bringing Grace to the Stage

photo.cfmAfter researching scores of letters, biographies and works by Nathaniel Hawthorne to create his one man show as Hawthorne himself, Norm Jones, associate professor of theatre arts, has now taken on John Newton. Newton, the one time slave trader whose Christian conversion led him to pen the famous hymn, “Amazing Grace”, has given Jones plenty to work with for a dramatic re-telling of his life. Tomorrow, December 3, in Gordon’s convocation, Jones and a cast of student actors will present a dramatic dialogue on the life of Newton.