Saturday, June 21, 2014

Going Upscale Tonight With Alumni From Gordon College's Jerusalem and Athens Forum

Union League of Philadelphia
I took Amtrak into Philadelphia tonight to spend some time with alumni from Gordon College's honors program: Jerusalem and Athens Forum.  Tal Howard, a professor of history at Gordon, a prolific author, and the director of the program, asked me to lead a discussion on a few chapters of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction.  The event was held in the library of the Philadelphia Union League and it was followed by a nice dinner in one of the League's restaurants.  The discussion was part of a full weekend of activity in Philadelphia, including a worship service tomorrow at the Arch St. Quaker Meeting House and visits to Independence Hall, the Art Museum (where they will all run up the stairs like Rocky), and the Constitution Center.

I thought we had some good conversation, both during the book discussion and at dinner.  We not only talked about American history, but we discussed the way Gordon College students perceived Messiah College and vice-versa.  (And was surprised by what I learned on this front). Conversation also turned to a comparison between Jersey beaches and Alabama beaches (Tal is from Alabama), evangelical churches and intellectuals, Gordon's (relatively) new president, and Messiah College soccer. (This year Gordon apparently stole a recruit away from the might Falcons).

Though I joked throughout the evening about the way Messiah College competes with Gordon for students (both are northeastern Christian colleges), I was very impressed with the quality of these Gordon alums.  Though some of them were several years out of college, they remained very engaged intellectually.  The fact that the Jerusalem and Athens Forum attracts this kind of student and provides these kinds of experiences for them after they leave college is a testament to the program that Tal is running.

Time to head home and start packing for a week in New York City.  Stay tuned.