A Busy Day on the Local Circuit

It has been a busy day.

This morning I heard a great talk on Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by my colleague Jim LaGrand. Jim was delivering a plenary address to the 700+ students taking Messiah’s first year CORE class–“Created and Called for Community.” “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is one of the required readings in this course. (Yesterday I taught Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” for the first time. I loved it! Tomorrow is Robert Putnam’s “Bowling Alone.”)

Then it was off to the West Shore Country Club to do a book talk and signing for The Way of Improvement Leads Home with the Harrisburg-area chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Thanks to Karen Schmidt for the invitation. The audience was very receptive to the story of Philip Vickers Fithian. During the Q&A we had a great opportunity to talk about the importance of history and how it is being presented and taught in public schools. (One woman even asked about the controversy in Texas). Many books were sold and signed!

After eight years of teaching at an Anabaptist college that does not fly an American flag, I could not help but notice the contrast between the culture of Messiah College and the culture of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The meeting today began with prayer, followed by the pledge of allegiance, followed by the recitation of a creed proclaiming American greatness, followed by the joint singing of the Star Spangled Banner. It has actually been a while since I have been around this kind of intense patriotism.

I then returned to my office at Messiah where I had three very productive and enjoyable meetings with students. One was with a non-traditional student taking my Created and Called for Community course. (I love non-traditional students–they are so much more motivated than the normal undergraduate). Another was with a student who will soon be working for me as a research intern. And the last was with a student writing a senior honors thesis under my supervision.

I finished the day at Bethany Village talking about George Whitefield as part of a panel on the history of American Methodism.

Overall not a bad day. Now it’s time to catch up on some college basketball. Spring Break starts Saturday!