STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 04/21/2014

Faculty In The News and On The Road

Each semester Gordon faculty participate in scores of conferences and other events, and the schedule’s particularly packed around the holidays, when academics everywhere are on a break from classes. Here are a few of the ventures they pursued in recent months.

In November, BioLogos posted Dorothy Boorse's essays “Science and the Truth Project, parts one and two” on its website. The essays were reviews of a DVD series that addresses her passions: evangelical faith, science and truth. It wasn’t an easy writing project, given the contentious, often tense perspectives held by various groups.

Paul Borthwick’s book Western Christians in Global Missions: What’s the Role of the North American Church? has been honored by Christianity Today as one of the two best recent publications on missions and global affairs. It received an Award of Merit in the 2014 Christianity Today Book Awards. Wheaton College professor Scott Moreau, one of the judges, wrote: “Borthwick introduces Western readers (especially Americans!) to what they need to know to engage the diversity of global Christian faith. Offering both critique and encouragement, he reminds us of how Americans perceive themselves and how they are perceived by sisters and brothers around the world. It’s a solid dose of humility to offset our pride at being so-called world leaders.” Borthwick teaches part-time in the Department of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries and also serves on the staff of Development Associates International, travelling extensively around the world to mobilize local church leaders for cross-cultural ministry and assist with leadership development. Western Christians in Global Missions (IVP Books, 2012) is his sixteenth book.

In the November 2013 issue of Commonweal Magazine, Agnes Howard (English and history) explores the difficult but crucial topic of coping with miscarriage. In “Comforting Rachel: How Christians Should Respond to Prenatal Death” she examines the profound emotions around losing a baby, and Christian communities’ response. Howard writes: “Christian churches have been strong defenders of the unborn. . . . These positions demonstrate a strong commitment to life before and after birth. But perhaps insufficient care—both in teaching and pastoral settings—has been given to the puzzle of children not aborted who nonetheless die before birth. . . . Churches should do a better job of recognizing this as a theological problem and offering liturgical and pastoral support to those affected by it.”

Harold Heie, a senior fellow of the Center for Faith and Inquiry at Gordon College, has published Evangelicals on Public Policy Issues: Sustaining a Respectful Political Conversation (ACU Press, 2014). The book began as online conversations on his website, Alternative Political Conversations, involving six evangelical Christians (including Gordon political scientist Paul Brink). It considers 12 public policy issues, including K–12 education, Syria and Iran, and the federal budget deficit.

David Wick (history) chairs the arts and humanities research division of an international organization of scholars in many disciplines, the Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER). He spent early January in Athens, Greece, helping to host ATINER’s first arts and humanities conference, during which he delivered a paper, “Virgil’s Vision and the Anniversary of Actium—A Little Known Sidelight on Akarnanian History, the Battle of Actium and the Identity of Augustus.” The conference drew scholars from 26 countries on six continents.

At two conferences in fall 2013, LeQuez Spearman (recreation, sport and wellness) spoke about the uneven playing field of America’s greatest game: baseball. During last October’s conference of the Popular Culture/American Culture Association, Savannah, Georgia, he chaired a session examining how race, class, spirituality and sport intersect in the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson. He also spoke on “A Critique of Meritocracy and Race in 42: What Really Mattered in the Jackie Robinson Story?” Spearman revisited that topic in November at the North American Society of Sport Sociology conference in Quebec, focusing on Robinson and on Hank Greenberg as he examined the interface of sport and religion and the twin tides of oppression that Jews and African Americans have faced in professional athletics. Spearman joined the Gordon faculty in fall 2013. His other interests include environmental sustainability in sports facilities.

In January, Kristen Cooper, Douglas Puffert, Stephen Smith, and roughly ten thousand other economists attended the Allied Social Science Association meetings in Philadelphia—the world’s largest annual gathering in that field. Smith, executive editor of Faith & Economics (the journal of the Association of Christian Economists) met with its editorial board and promoted ACE’s 2015 conference on global poverty, which Gordon is hosting. Cooper and Puffert joined the Gordon Department of Economics and Business in fall 2013. Earlier in 2013, Cooper, a 2006 Gordon graduate whose specialties include consumer behavior and environmental economics, received her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Puffert, whose specialties include the economics of technological change, previously served on the faculty of The King’s College in Manhattan.

James Trent (social work) spoke at the Smith College Museum of Art during a two-day January symposium, “Excavating the Image: ‘The Belchertown State School’ by Randall Deihl.” In his talk “A Season in Hell’s Palace,” Trent spoke about his former work at a residential institution for intellectually disabled children and adults, and related his experiences to Deihl’s painting. He also shared these thoughts with the Gordon community during Beyond Disabilities week in February. ?