O Wheaton, dear old Wheaton!

WCSongsDr. W. Wyeth Willard, historian, lawyer, WW II veteran and former assistant to Dr. Edman, fourth president of Wheaton College, was asked to write a reminiscense regarding the Alma Mater for the September 8, 1956, Wheaton Alumni magazine. A thorough researcher, Willard discovered an interesting fact about the beloved college song, usually sung in chapel or at special events.

‘O Wheaton, dear old Wheaton, live forever:

Brave sons and daughters true,

We will e’er uphold thy colors

The orange and the blue.’

While gathering material for the College history, Fire on the Prairie, I interviewed a then living secretary of the late President Charles A. Blanchard. He informed me that President Blanchard adapted a song of a now defunct Illinois college, and successfully introduced it at a chapel service. A recent letter from the widow of the above mentioned secretary confirms this testimony, to wit: that around the turn of the century, President Blanchard visited Hedding College, which was then functioning in the small town of Abingdon in Knox County, not far from Galesburg, Illinois. Hedding was having a hard struggle to keep open, and was about to liquidate. President Blanchard had spoken at Hedding, and greatly admired the college song with its “orange and blue.” He thought by changing a word here and there he might rescue the living song from the dying college of Hedding. With this object in mind he had his secretary prepare many cards with the present version of Wheaton’s Alma Mater typed thereon, ‘O Wheaton! dear old Wheaton, live forever!’ was thereupon sung in chapel to the delight of all. The adapted version was an immediate success.

The Rhetoric of AIDS

Why what we say about this global disease matters.

A few years ago, I was traveling in Kenya and Rwanda, researching the rhetoric of the evangelical sexual abstinence movement. Although HIV prevalence rates in sub-Saharan Africa are some of the highest in the world, I was surprised to find that few young people mentioned the fear of AIDS as a motivation for abstinence.

A development worker responded matter-of-factly that African teenagers know all about AIDS, but figure they will die from malaria first, or even a car accident. I was stunned. In our country, talk about AIDS in Africa often sidesteps the thornier issues of poverty and oppression. The problem is much deeper and broader than a slogan on a T-shirt.

Is AIDS a symptom of global poverty or a gay disease? Is it a worldwide pandemic or a fashion statement?

For many of us, our only experience with something like AIDS is through the words and images that shape our understanding of its reality. This is the realm of rhetoric. In a political campaign season, we tend to associate “rhetoric” with bluster and pretension. Aristotle defined rhetoric as the art of persuasion. Current scholarship expands rhetoric to the study of symbols and their role in shaping meaning.

The new frontier in the struggle against HIV/AIDS is not medical or even political; it is cultural. New York Times Magazine reports that fear of stigma is preventing HIV-positive pregnant women in South Africa from taking an antiretroviral that reduces disease transmission to their babies.We have the medical technology to curb HIV; in some cases, it is cost effective and readily available. But what will persuade young mothers to swallow the pill?

Our words are powerful. Genesis tells us that God spoke the worlds into being. As co-creators with God, our words can build up or tear down.Through the power of the Holy Spirit speaking through us, we can give voice to the voiceless.

Our words influence our action. In the case of AIDS, framing the disease as a symptom of global poverty expands the scope of our care.

Our words also serve to constitute our character. Focusing only on AIDS in Africa ignores the scope of the crisis and portrays the church as hierarchical in its outreach, as if some people are more worthy of care than others.

Cultural critic Douglas Crimp has provocatively stated that “AIDS does not exist apart from the practices that conceptualize it, represent it, and respond to it.” The study of rhetoric at Wheaton is not just about “talk.” This isn’t ivory-tower theory. This is roll-up-your-sleeves theory in action. Issues like AIDS are matters of life and death. Our words can make the difference.

—–
Dr. Christine J. Gardner, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Culture, teaches a course on the rhetoric of AIDS, serves as chair of President Litfin’s Task Force on HIV/AIDS, and advises the Student Global AIDS Campaign. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and has worked professionally in radio broadcasting, public relations, and print journalism. Christy and her husband, Brian, who works in development for Wheaton, are both from the Pacific Northwest. (The above statement was included at the time of publication — Wheaton Magazine, Autumn 2007)

 

Thanksgiving Greeting

This Thanksgiving greeting was released sometime during the tenure of Dr. Hudson Armerding, fifth president of Wheaton College:

Many of you have heard the story of the lady who was asked how her husband was. With a sigh she responded, “Compared to what?” Perhaps that is our attitude about the matter of thanksgiving. We may look at those who are brilliant, articulate and wealthy and conclude that we could be thankful if only we were as fortunate as they.

On the other hand, we would do well to recall the Persian proverb, “I murmured because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” Personally I have been impressed by the Apostle Paul’s statement that he had learned in every circumstance to be content. He could be thankful in prosperity or adversity because he trusted in the loving purposes of a gracious Heavenly Father. We at Wheaton rejoice in the Lord’s provision of dedicated students, faculty, staff and trustees. We are profoundly grateful for the activities and opportunities He has made available to us.

We thank Him for your prayer interest and for your son or daughter who is on our campus. Above all we are grateful for God’s loving and purposeful direction in these uncertain and yet challenging days. That is why we invite you at this special season of the year to join with us in thanking Him for all these things — and especially for Himself.

Veritas

Has the pursuit of truth become irrelevant in the 21st century?

Truth matters—now more than ever. In recent years, I have watched the pursuit of truth wane in popular focus as well as intellectual discourse. A generation ago, Dr. Arthur Holmes ’50, M.A. ’52, encouraged graduates of Wheaton College to scrutinize carefully the truth in all realms of intellectual inquiry. Truth must emerge from biblical revelation in concert with the evidence God has proclaimed in His created order. Theory and evidence are married together, creating a symphony of insights that are relevant on and off campus.

I contend that the neglect of truth is potentially catastrophic for world civilizations, for truth is the gravity that draws human beings to the holiness of our Lord. Truth matters even more in a diverse, complex, and violent world for individuals and social systems alike.

Our Lord stated that possessing the truth makes us free. There has never been a riper time for Christians to pursue knowledge and truth than in this age of confusion. Talk shows promulgate specious ideas without sanctions. Other media outlets regress to levels of simplicity that often border on stupidity. Prophetic voices are muted by vacuous sound bites and petty sensationalism throughout popular culture. Like an epidemic of
obesity for the mind caused by the junk food of ideas, we languish in confusion as great visions and ideals atrophy under the oppression of relativism or the utter foolishness of dogmatism. The Columbia University historian, Jacques Barzun, has suggested in a recent monograph that our civilization has moved toward moral decadence. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned us generations ago about living in an age of guided missiles and misguided human beings.

Into this conceptual chaos, the students of Wheaton College must be educated to pursue truth, while recognizing the inherent biases, limitations, wounds, and pathologies of the human condition. Redemption must triumph over idiocy. Truth crushed to the ground must rise again. Good must prevail over evil, as Dr. Roger Depue (a Christian and former organizational leader of the FBI’s legendary Behavioral Science Unit) concludes in his recent book, Between Good and Evil, after decades of confronting the most horrendous evils among humankind.

At Wheaton, the legacy of Drs. Art Holmes, Merrill C. Tenney HON, Sam Schultz HON, Zondra Lindblade ’55, Norman Ewert, Donald Lake ’59, M.A. ’60, and many others, has created an intergenerational tapestry of truth where the integration of faith and learning can extend Christ’s kingdom to the problems of urban schools, crime, missions, inequalities, and churches.

Truth always matters at Wheaton College.

—–
Dr. Henry Lee Allen ’77, Professor of Sociology, teaches courses on the sociology of education, criminology, and urban sociology. He has consulted with the National Education Association, the FBI Academy, the American Bible Society, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Federal Correctional Facility in Pekin (Ill.), the Kettering Foundation, and the Aspen Institute. Dr. Allen has published many scholarly articles about the sociology of higher education and faith and learning. (The above statement was included at the time of publication — Wheaton Magazine, Spring 2007)

Wheaton Academy

AcademyDawn Earl, Director of Alumni Relations at Wheaton Academy, has published Celebrating God’s Unfolding Story: 160 Years and Beyond (2014), relating the history of the school.

Covering its inception in 1853 to the present, Earl’s captivating narrative chronicles the various personalities and historical events which have shaped the development of Wheaton Academy. Researching widely, Earl used many photos and other materials from the Wheaton College (IL) Archives.

 

Gold Star Profile: William Rees Lloyd

ReesIn honor of Veteran’s Day, the following article is reproduced from a 1947 newspaper, profiling Wheaton College Gold Star veteran William Rees Lloyd, killed in action on May 6, 1942, during World War II.

Ensign William Rees Lloyd, USNR, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elias R. Lloyd of Monticello, has been issued his permanent citation for his Navy Cross from the Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, for the President. Ensign Lloyd earned the award during the final Japanese assult on Corregidor. Lloyd consistently disregarded all personal danger as he directed his men with unfaltering skill and ingenuity in the defense of his assigned beach area.

Rees was further recognized when a destroyer escort vessel was named in his honor. The U.S.S. Lloyd was christened in the Charleston Navy Yard in South Carolina. His mother, Mrs. Ella Lee Lloyd, performing the christening, remarked, “I hope that the ship will carry on the work until God gives us peace.” Representing Wheaton College was Harold Lindsell, Rees’s classmate, then teaching at Colombia Bible College. As a student at Wheaton, Lloyd was a member of the Excelsior Literary Society. He participated in track, cross-country and junior varsity football; and in his senior year he placed among the “pre-meds.”

Rees2

 

On Becoming a Father

God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, Cod has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” — Galatians 4:4-6

In the spring of 1998, shortly after Easter, my wife, Karen, and I traveled to Guatemala to meet our first child, Magdalena. We sat expectantly in our hotel room that morning, talking and praying, trying to quiet our hearts caught in the sway of so much emotion. At noon there was a knock; in walked our lawyer, our translator, and Maria, Magdalena’s foster mother.

Maria placed three-and-a-half-month- old Magdalena in Karen’s arms, and we both shed tears of joy and relief. Maria had dressed Magdalena up for the occasion and wrapped a white ribbon around her head. She was beautiful.

When we sat down to talk about things like bottles and diapers, Karen took notes while Maria sat next to me with Magdalena on her lap. Magdalena and I locked gazes and seemed to recognize each other immediately, father and daughter. She smiled. I was in love. “Go to your papa,” Maria said, presenting her to me.

This meeting heralded the end of a long wait. We had submitted our application at the beginning of Advent, making the anticipation of the Christ child very special that year. The story of Mary took on new meaning for me; she was a young woman who conceived a child out of wedlock.Joseph married her, never mind social stigma or scorn. He loved Jesus, and adopted him as his son. Our Savior was not born into ideal or fortunate circumstances. I understood this more deeply now.

Magdalena was born on New Year’s Day. We were notified shortly afterward. The wait until our spring meeting seemed interminable; we could hardly bear it.

But during that time a friend, also an adoptive father, said to me that our way of building a family mirrors the gospel. The Old Testament, he suggested, is about biology, who begat whom, the salvation of Israel and the Jewish people. The New Testament is about adoption, the grace of God extended to all of us as a free gift, regardless of the circumstances of our birth. God woos us to come, see His face, and find our true identity. We all can become God’s children.

We repeated the adoption process four years later when our son, Teodor, came to us and completed our family. When I look back, I see that as I anticipated my children’s homecomings, I might have had a small glimpse of God’s yearning for each of us.

Greg Halvorsen Schreck,Chair and Associate Professor of Art, has taught photography at Wheaton since 1989, in addition to accepting commissions as a fine art and portrait photographer He and his wife, Karen Halvorsen Schreck ’84, and their two children, Magdalena and Teodor, live in Wheaton. (Wheaton Magazine, Autumn 2006).

 

One way to skin…

CatsOctober is the traditional month for lengthening shadows and grinning pumpkins, so perhaps it is not inappropriate to publish these photos of the Class of 1936, proudly displaying their Biology specimens — a bevy of skinned cats. Our modern sensibilities might be offended, but these students, posing behind Blanchard Hall with their professor, Dr. James B. Mack, seem quite pleased with their ghoulish laboratory project.

Cats2

Ellul Research

Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), sociologist, author and professor, frequently addresses the intersection of technology, morality and faith. EllulHis influential books include The Technological Society and The Ethics of Freedom. As social media advances and pervades entertainment, business and politics, Ellul’s predictions become ever more relevant. Several new books examine his prescient theories and research.

Vleet, Jacob E. Van. Dialectical Theology and Jacques Ellul An Introductory Exposition. Lanham: Fortress Press, 2014​. http://www.amazon.com/Dialectical-Theology-Jacques-Ellul-Introductory/dp/1451470398/

Shaw, Jeffrey M. Illusions of Freedom: Thomas Merton and Jacques Ellul on Technology and the Human Condition. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 2014. http://www.amazon.com/Illusions-Freedom-Jacques-Technology-Condition/dp/1625640587

Ellul, Jacques, Samir Younes, David Lovekin, and Michael Johnson. The Empire of Non-Sense: Art in the Technological Society. Winterbourne: Papadakis, 2014. http://www.amazon.com/The-Empire-Non-Sense-TecHnological-Society/dp/190650640X

The papers of Jacques Ellul (SC-16) are archived at Wheaton College (IL) Special Collections.

 

 

Through Winding Ways

BirdThe following text, describing Wheaton College founder, Jonathan Blanchard, and his son, Charles, is excerpted from the prologue to Through Winding Ways (1939) by Zenobia Bird (Laura LeFevre). This is one of at least three novels, including The Tower, The Mask and the Grave (2000) by Betty Smartt Carter and The Silver Trumpet (1930) by John Wesley Inglis, featuring Wheaton College as its setting.

A man stood looking at a lone college building, small, plain, but sturdily built — his citadel, and then he turned and gazed long and far into the distant future. The wide prairie, flat and treeless, stretched out before him. That huddle of houses was the nearby village, while here and there an occasional farmhouse with young orchard and freshly planted shade trees gladdened the view and broke the monotony of the miles.

He was not given to dreaming, this pioneer from rock-ribbed Vermont, but a mighty vision gripped his soul. He was a born educator and an evangelist. The low hill upon which he stood was consecrated ground, dedicated in prayer to the cause of Christian education. Others had chosen the spot and launched the venture, but God had called him to captain the enterprise and lead on to vaster endeavor. As he looked with kindling eyes down the vista of the years, in vision he saw them, a troop of young men and women trained in the college that was to be, and going out as laborers in the Master’s vineyard to win souls for Christ and His Kingdom.

A quarter of a century rolled by, and in his place stood another Valiant-for-Truth, his son. Part of the dream of father and son has been fulfilled. On the hill now rose a stately white stone edifice of noble proportions, not supplanting, but surrounding and embodying in itself that which first had been. In the forefront of the building a Norman tower of simple beauty and dignity overlooked all the landscape. The bell in the turret was cast for its own noble purpose and bore in Latin the motto of the college, “For Christ and His Kingdom.”

This man for long years labored indefatigably to build a great college that would honor and glorify the Savior of the world. With painstaking care he laid the foundation solidly on the Rock, Christ Jesus himself the chief cornerstone. Into the spiritual structure, as real to the builder as the college walls of cut stone, there was built with purpose sure the sincere teaching of the Word of God.