Monthly Archives: January 2014

From “For Christ and His Kingdom” to the Magic Kingdom

CosgroveNo common book cites among its Acknowledgements celebrities such as Walt Disney, Bob Hope, Steve Allen and Jack LaLanne along with theologian E.J. Carnell and evangelist Charles E. Fuller, but Joseph Patrick Cosgrove (’54), producer, director and broadcaster, happily thanks  these and others in his memoir, Walt Dreamers Me (2013), for contributing to the rich diversity of his life.

Originally from Boston, Cosgrove includes a few entries about his days at Wheaton College. A sampling:

Arrival – Wheaton College. With a letter of recommendation from Dr. Ockenga, I am off to Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. I am the only one from my neighborhood seeking higher education. I am now on my journey of life and closer to my goal of going to California.

Overwhelmed College Daze. Taking a full load of classes and working full time to pay tuition overwhelms me and I withdraw from Wheaton at the end of six weeks and return to Boston. As I meet with my pastor, Dr. Harold Ockenga, I am convinced to return to Wheaton after only one missing week. Dr. Ockenga personally pays for my first semester and arranges with the college Dean for my return to college life. Dr. Ockenga has become a father figure to me. There is no going back to Boston. I am off and running and work long hours through each summer and spring break to pay my living expenses as well as my tuition and books.

The Learned Campus Lessons. Living in a college dormitory and attending college class is a challenge for me. Daily chapel is mandatory at Wheaton College in 1950. Wheaton is a well-known and conservative evangelical institution with a reputation for high scholarship. I learn as much working in factories and doing construction work as I do in the classroom. Students at Wheaton must sign a pledge not to dance, play cards, smoke, gamble or attend the theater, opera or stage plays. I sign because I do not have the time or money to do these things anyway. Because I saw firsthand what alcohol did to my father, I do not drink or smoke.

Christmas Comes in October. As Head Cheerleader I decide to celebrate Christmas in October. The City of Wheaton decides to let me borrow city Christmas decorations. Overnight the Wheaton College campus is decorated with Santa Claus and his reindeer. Music of the season, from “White Christmas” to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” as recorded by Bing Crosby and the Andrews sisters, rocks the campus the next day. I am called to the Dean’s office to explain myself. The Dean is a bit rattled by my antics but the campus cheers me.

California: Here Comes Joe! In the fall of 1954, I began classes at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. Founded in 1947 by media pioneer Charles E. Fuller and Dr. Harold John Ockenga, Fuller Seminary is an innovative and inclusive graduate school situated in the heart of downtown Pasadena. Dr. Ockenga is featured speaker at my graduation at Wheaton College and afterward he enrolls me for the Fall Semester at Fuller Seminary. I find graduate school a real challenge compared to college.

Settling in California, he begins his career as a broadcaster and occasional employee of Disney, while also campaigning for Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. He also directs and produces fitness guru Jack LaLanne’s first media kit and “Jack’s Big Swim for Fitness.”

Summing up his life lessons, Cosgrove writes: 1) Follow your dreams. 2) Keep focused doing it. 3) Use your imagination and fantasy to create your vision. 4) Be optimistic. 5) Keep learning something new. 6) Be open minded. 7) Team up with talented people of like minds and attitudes. 8) Engage and entertain others through storytelling and music.


Campus Cakewalk

b9071Wheaton College enjoys a tradition of self-referentially “doing up” its landmarks as tempting refreshments, usually presented at ceremonies or celebrations.

For instance, this cake, a replica of the newly constructed Memorial Student Student Center, was served at the grand opening in 1951. The ribbon was cut by Mrs. J.G. Read, mother of Gold Star son Lt. Glenn Read, a Flying Fortress Navigator reported missing over the English Channel during WWII. The first slice was extracted by Glenn Heck, Student Council Chairman. 1500 guests attended the open house.

A few years later this appealing sheet cake, shaped like an open Bible, was served at the 1965 inauguration of Dr. Hudson Armerding, fifth president of Wheaton College. The previous presidents and their administrative tenures are cited in the frosting, along with an illustration of the iconic limestone Tower from Blanchard Hall. a11336

a10621Dr. V. Raymond Edman, former president of Wheaton College, now serving as Chancellor, was treated to this birthday cake in 1966, presented by the student body. The greeting inscribed in frosting reads, “Happy Birthday, Prexy,” next to yet another representation of the Tower, a flag waving atop.

Below, this impressive gingerbread Edman Chapel was created by twins Kay and Karen Chamberlain, who displayed it in the lobby of the Memorial Student Chapel in 1992. Accompanying the display is a list of ingredients.


Blanchard Hall appears again as a magnificent gingerbread house in a 2013 Wheaton College promotional video, featuring Dr. Philip Ryken and family (including Miss Karoline Ryken, pictured) at Christmas. image1




Doing & Being

I have always enjoyed being outside—as a little girl swaying in the tops of evergreens while hiding from my siblings, or lying in sweet-smelling grass looking for shapes in the summer clouds. I visit past moments often in my heart—times when I walked near the ocean that my soul became closely attuned to hearing myself think and God speak.

Some folks believe they have to be “earthy” to deeply appreciate Creation. Not so. We all desperately need the healing balm of nature—a display that can calm and simplify our lives while drawing us nearer to our Creator.

Henri Nouwen suggests in his books The Way of the Heart and Out of Solitude, that we are often motivated by the compulsions of society to measure our self-worth by the many things we can accomplish—some of which are not as necessary as we might think.

I struggle with this compulsion. Yet God’s Creation teaches me about the tension between “being” and “doing.” All things created by God display his glory by simply being what God created them to be. And so, I find myself longing for times of solitude—times of throwing pottery, walking in a park, visiting the ocean bottom, admiring the trees outside my office window, or watching spiders jump along my windowsill.

Nouwen points out that when we let society define us, we take on “false selves.” We get caught up by selfish ambition, doing things that are prestigious and pleasing to our peers, and—so we think—to God. Sometimes in our Christian duty we get the doing part confused with the being part. We think of the things we are to do that will bring him glory more so than what we are to be.

The relationship between being and doing became clearer to me as I related to my sister, Rob, throughout her battle with cancer. Before her illness, I was much better at doing the work of my career than in being there for those who needed me, So, naturally Rob found it difficult to believe that I really cared deeply for her because my work took up so much of my life.

After I turned down two permanent job offers so I could live near her and later took a job in Minnesota near her home, she was finally able to fully realize my love for her.

But more importantly, God began to communicate his love for her through me. Rob eventually moved to Virginia to live with my older sister, Sandy, and I later chose to go there to be with Rob during her last months of life.

During my sister’s battle with cancer, God taught me a lot about the difference between being and doing. I learned what it meant to be myself, to be what God had intended me to be—a channel of his love and grace for Rob. This may not seem like a profound revelation, but it is important for all of us to be reminded that it is not what we do that is most important, but rather what we end up being or becoming.

There is a balance, of course. But God calls us to be his people, to be people who are in close communion with him, and to be our true selves, human beings created in his image to bring glory to him.

The following statement was included at the time of publication (Wheaton Magazine, Summer 1997)

Dr. Nadine Folino, Assistant Professor of Biology earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Cincinnati, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in zoology from the University of New Hampshire. She is an enthusiastic marine biologist specializing in invertebrate zoology. Her hobbies include pottety, sports of all kinds biking, skiing, and running-cooking, and camping. Dr. Folino enjoys Creation greatly seeing God’s creativeness expressed in all of earth’s many and varied “critters.”

Out with the Old

Natural studies had long been featured in the Wheaton College curriculum, but the ever-increasing interest in science indicated to the administration that a modern facility was needed to house the biology, physics and mathematics departments. The proposed structure would adjoin the existing Breyer chemistry building, and would include 20 faculty offices, six class rooms, 14 instructional laboratories, 15 faculty or student research labs and a reference room for housing specialized journals and handbooks representing all the sciences. It would also feature an exhibit hall for the recently acquired Perry Mastodon, displayed in a glass enclosure facing the quadrangle lawn. This plan, designed in Georgian style, was initially proposed: SB1

After further discussion, the plan was revised, prompted by economic factors, provision of additional space, the possibility of future expansion and the desire for a more contemporary motif. Like the previous plan, this design allowed for a telescope and observatory on its roof. Groundbreaking began on June 1, 1969. Armerding Science Building (below) opened in 1971 and served admirably for the next thirty-nine years until the state-of-the-art Meyer Science Center opened in 2010.SB2


Sweet Smelling Savor

The delicacy and sweetness of fragrance is enticing. Fragrant scents, whether floating in the breezes of meadows or crushed into oil or other compounds, add, through their signature aromas, variety and fascination to our lives. A summer walk through flowers in high meadows, a stroll through a pine forest in early winter, or a visit to a greenhouse of orchids shortly before Easter can spark our imaginations and stir waves of nostalgia. In contrast to those pleasant fragrances, however, there are also unpleasant odors whose characteristic aura we find distinctly offensive.

Substances that emit fragrance played an important role in the Old Testament sacrificial rites. The sacrifice was the central feature of worship for God’s people as they approached His holy presence. As we read Old Testament scriptures, we see the call for daily sacrificial offerings in order to atone for sin (Lev. 1:4). The sacrificial animal was slaughtered, and its blood atoned for sin.The aroma of the sacrifices that were consumed on the altar was a sweet smell, pleasing to the Lord (Lev. 1:9,13,17 NIV).

These paradoxical images of destruction and acceptability in God’s sight appear in the most compelling prophetic passage that points to the atoning work of the Great Sacrifice, Jesus Christ. “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:4-6). “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12).

These Old Testament institutions and the prophetic voice all found their complete fulfillment in the atoning work of Christ. He was both sacrifice and high priest (Hebrews 9). Further, His resurrection means that the finality of death has been removed from us and we can anticipate living forever with Him. It is the culmination of the glory of Christian hope, and as adoptees, we have been promised inheritance, which is beyond our greatest imagination—we will share in the glory of Christ forever—a sweet fragrance indeed.

I am intrigued by the Apostle Paul’s use of this imagery in 2 Corinthians 2:14- 16: “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”

God has prepared us to be vessels through which the fragrance of Christ, notably the knowledge of Him, is spread. Just as fragrance diffuses from its source with differing degrees of intensity, so also we, each as a unique creation of God, are called to spread that precious fragrance in our own ways. The Lord Jesus shapes our beliefs, behavior, and character. Our confidence rests in Christ and the message of His transforming work, and, as a sweet savor, these are pervasive.

Paul points to the saved in Christ and then to those who are perishing. The fragrance that we bring in the gospel message is life-giving to the former but to the latter is a deadly smell. It is our challenge to make certain that we do not allow the subtle temptations of the world to pollute the savor but instead remain dedicated to serving with justice, mercy, and humility.

The following statement was included at the time of publication (Wheaton Magazine, Winter 2001)

Dr. Dorothy F. Chappell, Dean of Natural and Social Sciences, is deeply committed to Christian higher education and served on the faculty of Wheaton College for 17 years. Following a five-and-a-half-year term as academic dean at Gordon College and serving on Wheaton’s Board of Trustees, she is now in her second year of full-time administrative duties at Wheaton. She has received awards for research and teaching and has interests in the biochemistry and ultrastructure of green algae; ethics; and Christian faculty scholarship.