Photo Journal #29
Through some joint readings and travel activities, the purpose of this trip was to explore some of the earliest Catholic missions of North America and think more broadly about Christianity as a culture-forming force in history and about the role of Christianity in shaping American history. The reading for this trip was "Christ and Culture" (H. Richard Niebuhr). The group visited The Alamo, Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission Espada, La Villita and was led by two Gordon faculty: Professor Tal Howard, Director of the JAF and Associate Professor of History, and his wife, Professor Agnes Howard, Assistant Professor of English and History.
Photo Journal #27
The new Ken Olsen Science Center has just finished its first year of classes and labs. Entire new fields of research and teaching are now open to faculty and students. Mariwyn Light, who recently graduated from Godron with a communication arts major, took these photos of several science classes and lab sessions in progress one afternoon during the spring 2009 semester.
Photo Journal #26
Abby Sawyer, a sophomore studying Spanish, recently returned from a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico. This is her second time at La Casa de la Esperanza (“House of Hope”), an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico.
“I truly believe that La Casa is a place where God’s presence is especially tangible. I can feel Him everywhere from the warm gentle breeze to the hugs of the kids as they tell us ‘buenas noches’ before heading off to bed. I hear His voice in the laughter and endless chatter of the children. I can see Him in the precious faces of children who have been through so much yet still find reasons to smile.”
Photo Journal #25
South Africa, Winter 2009 | Alicia Landis
It is one thing to hear about a place, to read books and it and see it on film, it is quite another to actually go there and experience it. This trip combined my interests in recreation and community development in the powerful context of cross-cultural experience and helped me gain a better understanding of both the South African culture as well as my own, and the importance of relationships everywhere.
Photo Journal # 24
New York City, Winter 2009 | Kristin Bollier
Walking up the steps, I could hear the sounds of beeping horns. The horns accompanied squealing tires, chirping birds, and the sound of singing tourists wide eyed with anticipation. After all, we were in New York City. Gordon College is unique and so very different from the atmosphere that I grew up in in the rural Mid West. The simple fact that students have quick access to Boston and moderately easy accessibility to New York opens up a new realm of culture unique to urban life.
Photo Journal # 23
Galápagos Islands, Winter 2009 | Karl Giberson
Recently my wife, Myrna, and I went on a most amazing cruise among the Galápagos Islands--the islands made famous by Charles Darwin’s visit almost two centuries ago when he was traveling about the globe on the Beagle. I was fortunate to be invited on this “celebrity cruise” as an academic resource to lead discussions about evolution, creation, and how scientists of faith balance those things. The theme of the cruise was “Origins”--an opportunity for spirited discussions about God, evolution, science in the public schools, and the appropriate role played by religious beliefs in this complicated topic.
was fortunate to be invited on this “celebrity cruise” as an academic
resource to lead discussions about evolution, creation, and how
scientists of faith balance those things. The theme of the cruise was
“Origins,” and many of the participants had read extensively in
preparation. One executive read my book and announced to his wife, “I
have just read a book that will make me the resident expert on this
topic.” His wife deflated him by responding, “You know the author will
be on the cruise, don’t you?”
and Lynn Shields, longtime friends (and neighbors) of Gordon College,
helped organize the cruise. They had insisted from the start that at
least one of the resources for this topic should be a religious
began and ended our journey in Quito, one of the largest cities in
Ecuador. Its airport is the one used to launch flights to the
Galápagos, which are a part of Ecuador. Ecuador is rich in culture and
natural beauty, and should be a more popular tourist destination.
Myrna and I boarded the Expedition cruise ship Sunday, September 14. The Expedition
is the finest vessel allowed in the region, and everyone on board was
treated like royalty. We made two daily excursions to different
islands; professional naturalists served as guides, pointing out the
extraordinary flora and fauna of the islands. We snorkeled in several
Galápagos Islands are an archipelago, a cluster of volcanically formed
islands consisting of 13 main islands, six smaller islands, and 107
rocks and islets. There is great variety among them--some resemble
rocks sticking up like the hulls of sunken ships.
are eerie volcanic vistas where rare life forms struggle to survive.
The odd species Darwin encountered on these barren volcanic
islands--islands Hermann Melville had called “evilly enchanted
ground”--pointed him in the direction of his revolutionary ideas.
Some islands are set aside as wildlife refuges, protecting species--like this turtle--that are unique to the Galápagos.
Some even have beautiful, white-sand beaches.
islands are amazing. Sea lions tamer than pets were everywhere; they
were lying on the benches on the dock when we arrived, preventing us
from sitting down while we waited for shuttles to the ship.
of the islands were densely populated by blue-footed
boobies--fascinating birds with peculiar blue feet and so tame you had
to avoid stepping on them.
was mating season, and the males, with unnatural looking blue feet,
cavorted about the females trying desperately to impress them. In
general the females seemed completely bored and uninterested.
black iguanas--thousands of them--made some of the beaches look like
scenes from a horror movie. They stared motionless at the sun for hours
like reptilian zombies waiting for a signal to awaken.
and frigate birds dove after fish. Male frigate birds would puff out
their red “chests” for days at a time trying to impress the females.
Anorexic flamingos strutted about on skinny legs.
Darwin’s famous finches and countless other birds flitted everywhere.
most recent island, formed from volcanic eruptions just a few decades
ago, is almost devoid of life. Eerie and irregular expanses of lava
support nothing but the tiniest lizards and an occasional hardy plant
rooted in solid lava.
other academics on the cruise were Sol Gittleman, former provost of
Tufts University, baseball fanatic, and something of a polymath; and
Paul Sniegowski, an evolutionary biologist from University of
Pennsylvania. Paul’s wife was a former literature professor at Wheaton
College in Illinois, and we soon discovered we had much in common. My
wife and I became good friends with them during our week at sea. Paul
was supposed to be a hostile anti-creationist in the mold of Richard
Dawkins, and I was supposed to be a defensive young-earth creationist.
Neither of us, of course, hold those views, but we did a skit one
evening in which we literally wore hats and played those roles. Most of
the time we just talked with the animated group about God, evolution,
science in the public schools, and the appropriate role played by
religious beliefs in this complicated topic.
Darwin, who lived on uninteresting fare, talked daily with illiterate
sailors, and was constantly sick while he traveled the Galapagos, we
had gourmet meals with rich conversation three times a day. Lunch was
always out on the open deck accompanied by live music and soaring
frigate birds following the scent of the open grill. Supper was an
extended four-course gourmet meal over which we talked about life, God,
evolution, children and blue-footed boobies. It was a special time, and
my wife and I made many new friends, some of whom have already had us
to their home for supper.