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.

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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 Llloyd

ReesIn honor of Veteran’s Day, the following article is reproduced from a 1947 newspaper, profiling Wheaton College Gold Star veteran William Rees Llloyd, 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.”

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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.

 

Breaking the Unwritten Rules

One need not be well-versed in the intricate details of rules of etiquette to know some basic truths about the unspoken rules of “polite” conversation. There are two topics that a polite guest never broaches at a dinner party: politics and religion.

Why might etiquette books warn people to steer clear of these subjects? Why are discussions of religion and politics so often taboo? It seems to me that the answer is quite straightforward: many individuals have very strong, deeply held beliefs about both.

Conversations about religion and politics tap into core values and beliefs, so these discussions can easily become deeply personal and polarizing.

Consequently, far too few people engage in open and honest communication that crosses religious and ideological lines.

As a scholar of American politics who teaches at Wheaton, I constantly examine the intersection of religious and political worldviews. Although tackling these subjects is not always comfortable and easy, such conversations are not only valuable—they are essential. To understand American politics today, one needs to understand the ways in which religious values and beliefs inform political behavior. To enter political debates about candidates and public policy, one needs working knowledge of the structure and limitations of American government.

I often hear people voice frustration with public discourse about Christianity and politics. From mainstream media portrayals that often fail to “get” religion, to the caricatures of Christians as single-minded ideologues, popular notions of faith and politics are often oversimplified and flawed. Compounding this problem, some churches preach ideology and single-issue politics instead of training parishioners to think biblically and theologically about politics and public policy. American Christians have very few resources to help them develop a thoughtful and informed approach to political issues and elections.

During my sabbatical next year, I will be writing a book tentatively titled Before Left and Right: what Every Christian Needs to Know about American Politics. Instead of repeating dogmatic arguments from the political left or right, this project will describe key elements of the American political system and help Christians apply their faith to their voting and civic participation. Drawing upon themes from 1 Corinthians 12 and 13, I build a case for politics as a means of demonstrating love in action and building the body of Christ.

This book will not claim to provide the only Christian interpretation of politics and political issues; instead, it begins with two central assumptions: first, that we all “see through a glass, darkly” and therefore should exercise humility when discussing politics; and second, that the diversity of the body of Christ makes room for Christians to disagree on many political matters. My hope is to educate and inform readers so that they will be equipped to serve Christ and His kingdom in the public square.

—–
Dr. Amy E. Black, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations, who earned her Ph.D. from M.I.T., specializes in American politics and currently serves as the vice president and president-elect of Christians in Political Science. She and her husband, Dan Treier, assistant professor of theological studies at Wheaton, have found that religion and politics can indeed make an excellent combination. (Wheaton Magazine, Spring 2006)

Michener on Buechner

James A. Michener authored more than 40 books, mostly massive historical sagas set in a particular geographic location, such as Hawaii, Poland and Texas. He published his first novel, Tales of the South Pacific, at 40 and continued writing until his death at 90 in 1997. His literary career is  noted for constant worldwide traveling and meticulous research, often incorporating history into his fictional narratives. MichenerIn his memoir, The World is My Home (1992), he reflects on certain novelists he admires and supports, including, somewhat surprisingly, Frederick Buechner.

In the lecture on the literary scene I reviewed the work of some half dozen writers but with special emphasis on two who had captured my imagination and for whom I had great hopes. I sold a lot of books for these two young men. The first had attended Princeton University and was either contemplating or beginning a career in the Presbyterian ministry in which he would later excel. Frederick Buechner had a style of great elegance, so highly polished that he reminded me of Wharton at her best. He liked long sentences dealing with, for example, the sensibilities of urbane parents who sent their sons to places like Princeton, and I used to read aloud with great effect several passages from his novel A Long Day’s Dying, in which single sentences ran on for half a page. At the end of each segment I would tell my audience: “I could not in a hundred years write like Mr. Buechner, nor would I want to, but I esteem him as one of the best young writers today and feel sure he will maintain that reputation in the decades ahead.”

Michener adds a footnote, “He has. From his industrious pen has continued to flow a unique mix of intelligent novels and masterfully argued religious essays. His reputation is solid.”

The papers of Frederick Buechner (SC-05) are archives at Wheaton College (IL) Special Collections.