Road Trip: Traveling back in time to "the Grove"

Posted by tom | Sep 23, 2011


In a few hours, through the help of family and friends (thank-you!), Theresa and I will once again make our way back to our alma mater Grove City College. Why? 15th year class reunion at Homecoming.

Above is what I looked like when I began -- Theresa did not authorize the release of 1st-Year photos. But when I have time in the next couple weeks I'll look for photos of high school sweethearts off to college together :)


IVMF-GCC Outreach

Posted by tom | Apr 4, 2011

Having just returned from 'the Grove,' where I partnered with Jade ('10, First Year Medical Student at PSU-Hershey Medical Center, President of Penn State Hershey Christian Medical Society/CMDA), the email from the current IVMF-GCC staff (Paul Hassell) caught my attention. 

Pray for the chapter as they

  • start outreach to GCC with proxe stations at the two dining halls and the union.
  • sell raffle tickets to help women in Mali Africa.
  • host prayer vigil for the next 40 hours and a joint meeting with a documentary film on slavery.

Pray that God will meet students and help them both engage the issue but also think more deeply about our broken world and what the kingdom calls them to in response to his love and grace. Pray for the lost students that are good at hiding out at GCC, that the gospel will find them.

Great Lakes Update

Posted by tom | Mar 27, 2010

While serving on the prayer team at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Spring Leadership Team Meetings, I connected with a number of friends from across the movement.  With regard to Great Lakes, I particularly appreciated the opportunity to

  1. be one of the first at the Spring Meetings to see pictures of Ronen Lewis (born 3/22/2010), i.e., the first grandchild of Fred Bailey, Great Lakes East regional director.  May God the Father richly bless Ronen.  May Ronan truly utter joyful sounds/song to the Lord.
  2. room with York Moore and learn more about his current work with The Price of Life Outreach.
  3. chat with Grove City's College's current campus staff member, i.e., Paul Hassell, regarding the increasing involvement of Missionary Kids (MK's) in the InterVarsity Mission Fellowship (IVMF) chapter of which Theresa and I were members.  He shared that they particularly resonated with a series on multi-cultural ministry, which led to an MK panel for large group.  Excellent idea to bridge multi-cultural, bi-cultural, and cross-cultural ministry, wish I could have been there to hear some of the stories.  Reminded me of the joy of growing in Christ as a member of IVMF.
  4. discuss the Emerging Scholars Network with several interested staff.  Pray for new opportunities to develop in Great Lakes.
PS.  For those connected with InterVarsity Staff in Great Lakes/GFM:  Today, while at a gathering of the Brethren in Christ's Atlantic Conference, I met a couple who knew Christian Anible and Cam Anderson.  They shared memories from several decades back about their time on Michigan Tech and Cedar Campus.  I wish that I would have written down their names! It was a great encouragement to share memories of God's great work through Christian and Cam during their time with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  We miss Christian greatly, but know that his musical gifts are being offered in the presence of our King right now.

40 days of Modern Psalms & Ancient Hope

Posted by tom | Jan 6, 2009

Check this out.  I received the below email from my subscription to  Great to watch a godly, passionate musician in process!

So I changed my strings and finally started to do a little picking.... grabbed the stack of new lyrics Code-named "40 days of Modern Psalms & Ancient Hope."  Day 10 floated to the top and here it is - raw and unpolished.


In case you missed David's story, visit the earlier post Cancer has returned to David Bailey.

Calvin’s Crucial Contribution to Anglicanism

Posted by tom | Oct 17, 2008

Thank-you to Miller for passing along a link to Justyn Terry's lecture on Calvin’s Crucial Contribution to Anglicanism from Grove City's recent Evangelical Scholarship Conference (Note:  2008-2009 lecture schedule posted here). Justyn Terry is President of Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry, where he also serves as Professor of Systematic Theology. By-the-way, the page demonstrates how much our alma mater has stepped into the technological age as it includes notes in Word, Powerpoint (w/a great plug for of Trinity Episcopal School of Ministry at the end), and video.

With regard to the content, I really appreciated Terry's consideration of    

  1. The three-legged stool with a priority to Scripture. 
  2. The Church as ‘political society’ and ‘supernatural society’ – with divine purpose, i.e., the mystical church 
  3. The things necessary/essential to salvation and accessories/indifferent
  4. Stress on the faith of believer in the Lord's Supper and not how Christ is present/not present

May the Lord grant, that we may engage in contemplating the mysteries of his heavenly wisdom with really increasing devotion, to his glory and to our edification. Amen. -- John Calvin, used at the beginning of his lectures.

If Christianity is truth, it ought to

Posted by tom | Jul 24, 2008

Miller, who is thankful for the months he was able to be close to Francis and Edith Schaeffer at Swiss L'Abri and go with them on their Christmas vacation at the Matterhorn area, passed along the below quote from  Colin Duriez's Francis Schaeffer:  An Authentic Life.


Pray for Jim Bibza

Posted by tom | Jan 28, 2008

Jim Bibza, Professor of Religion, suffered a heart attack on the morning of Saturday, January 19. He tried to push through it, but on Tuesday, January 22 he went to the hospital for tests and it was confirmed that he had a heart attack on Saturday. He had successful double bypass surgery on Friday, January 25 at Butler Memorial Hospital. Pray for his continuing recovery.

Free Seminary Classes on I-Tunes

Posted by tom | Dec 20, 2007

Miller passed along the Reformed Theological Seminary's I-tunes link for the opportunity download/listen to free lectures by John Frame from his classes on Ethics, Apologetics, and History of Philosophy/Christian Thought. I've never explored I-tunes as a resource for free lectures, but a quick search revealed quite a lot including Dr. Hoffecker's The Church and the World. Hoffecker was one my most influential mentors at Grove City College. God used his gifts to open my eyes to faith and disciple me in my college years (Note:  he co-officiated our wedding at Manheim BIC with Keith Tyson . . . our 12th anniversary will be on Jan 6.  Time is moving along right along). Merry Christmas!

GCC Sports Moment

Posted by tom | Aug 23, 2007

The recent Grove City College alum mailing focused on sports.  Buried in various factoids (e.g., longest continuous sport being football since 1892, the exploits of fullback R.J. Bowers which propelled him into the NFL, 20 athletes named coSIDA Academic All-Americans in the last few years, more than 275 students compete in club sports, 32 intramural sports in operation), one found the relationship of the athletic program to the unique story/vision of our alma mater:

In the 1970s the College began building its women's intercollegiate program.  Alumni will recall that from the mid 1970s until the 1980s, we were involved in our famous Title IX case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In that landmark case, some of our opponents across the country cried out that we were anti-female (Title IX is the federal law abou equity and non-gender bias in intercollegiate sports).  Fifth President Dr. Charles S. MacKenzie was careful to point out that we opposed this new law only because we didn't take federal money.  He added that our support for the building of women's sports program would continue because we believe it was the right thing to do, not because it was mandated by the federal government.

How have Dr. MacKenzie's words played out?  Today we have a robust intercollegiate program for both men and women.  In fact, we have 10 women's NCAA Division III teams and nine men's teams.  More than 420 women and men compete at the College on the intercollegiate level.  Because no athletic scholarships are given in Division III competition, our students play for one primary reason -- it's what is in their heart.

As our summer vacations come to a close, take a moment to ask the question whether your family, neighborhood, business, alma mater, local congregation, local/state/federal government remembers it's guiding story and steps forward through that vision in daily decision making.  If not, has a positive new direction been taken or has one's story/purpose just faded from memory due to a lack of attention?  Take some time to pray for God's Word to be the primary story for one's decision-making and to provide insight as one serves into the various secondary callings into which He's placed you.

Hillsdale College Will Reject State Funds, as Well as Federal Money

Posted by tom | Aug 14, 2007

The above title says it all. 

Principia College, a small Christian Science institution in Illinois, is believed to be the only other college that declines both federal and state money.

Not surprisingly, our alma mater Grove City College is also mentioned in the Chronicle of Higher Education article.  Although the Grove does not accept federal funds, the college intends to continue to let its students accept state money, as long as there are no ties to federal dollars.

The importance of dressing well

Posted by tom | Jul 13, 2007

I must confess that I don't find dressing well a significant part of Making the most of college. During my decade at CMU I noticed a significant decline of the proportion of the student body which dressed oddly and a movement toward the more socially acceptable.  Possibly there was a change in the available applicants, maybe it was the economic reality that computer scientists/engineers were no longer going to be handed jobs for sure, but the Goths no longer are spread out on the floor near the center stairwell on the second floor of student center.

In high school, I had issues with dress at a summer program and I confess that I had an edge to me during the program, my senior year in high school, and my freshman year at Grove City College.

 I desired to wear what I wanted to wear to make a statement (i.e., as an expression of my being/personhood/identity) and I don't have much a sense of what is socially acceptable, its not intuitive.  Now Theresa buys the clothes (giving me a limited range) and advises me how to enable people to look beyond my appearence in order to listen to my words. Yes, there is discipline in this embodiment, but I must confess that socially acceptable dress as a vehicle for being heard still rubs me the wrong way (although my range for public expression may be more limited than others). Every now and then, I get away with something more creative . . . that is becoming harder and harder to do w/Hayley and Ellen keeping their eyes on me also ;-) Here's a part I found of particular interest, I wonder whether this rings true to you:

dressing well promotes respect for you. We are not just minds trapped in a skin suit. We are embodied creatures, whole people made in the image of God. We are made to do everything we do with all of us—body, soul, mind, and spirit. This means we don't exercise well when we're bored, we don't worship well when we're hungry, and we learn best when we take care of ourselves. I had a professor who was devoted to waking up at 4 a.m. every morning so he could exercise for about two hours before starting the rest of his day. He said he did it because staying physically fit helped keep his mind in shape as well . . . (More)

Bowersox family is home

Posted by tom | Apr 25, 2007
We rejoice with the Bowersox family.  By God's grace, they are home.  For an update go to

Bowersox family united in Liberia

Earlier posts include:

10th Reunion and more
Bowersox family prayers

Save the Wren Cross

Posted by tom | Apr 4, 2007

If you were an alum of William and Mary would you sign the petition and/or withhold money for the removal of the cross (note:  if you are a William and Mary alum did you sign the petition)?  Quite a fascinating news item with the cross returning under glass, noting it as a gift to the school with a unique Anglican heritage.  I found William & Mary’s Chapel at a Crossroad an excellent consideration of the situation.

Interestingly enough Pitt was a downtown Presbyterian log cabin college, what money can do in moving the campus to Oakland and the Cathedral of Learning.  The building of the large nondenominational (but clearly Christian influenced) Heinz Chapel came from the money of the founder of Heinz, an advocate for Methodism and the YMCA (note: his son a strong Presbyterian who attended Shadyside Presbyterian).  Pitt secularized over time, but due to its bailout several decades ago it is a public institution.  With the stained glass and neo-gothic architecture, the desacrilization is much more difficult than at Wm & Mary, it serves as the space for weddings, concerts, and various special events.  If you're the alum of a college with religious roots, where would you place your alma mater on a spectrum of embracing its heritage, acknowledging its heritage but moving in a new direction, covering up its heritage, or disowning its heritage?  Nothing like the scandal of the cross.

F&M's transformative moments

Posted by tom | Feb 7, 2007

Check out the NY Times' piece on Rural Colleges Seek New Edge and Urbanize. I admit that F&M (Franklin & Marshall College)'s coffee shop is quite good, a rare opportunity for the community to come to campus. And faculty living close to campus in a small city such as Lancaster reminds me of the faculty families being involved in Grove City and at Grove City College. I found knowing faculty families (husband, wife, kids -- some of whom I went to college with), visiting their homes, seeing their faith in action one of the most significant parts of my education at the Grove

But when I come across statements such as It’s often said of a college education, "It’s a shame it’s wasted on the young,” I am disturbed by how much of these explorations little more than the provision of an entertainment driven package to address the desires of the young and the old. Yes, this will provide more to cash for college facilities, but toward what end? The institution's educational goals will need to be clearly outlined. We must be wary of romanticizing the interactions between young and old when the focus is on goods and services and not toward a shared common good.

Roman Catholic orders which provide education on-site as part of their community's purpose provides a beautiful picture of linking retirement communities and college campuses (or retired faculty at any institution which continue to mentor, periodically speak, research part-time, etc) . . . and I might add, returns us to the origin of the university. May God grant grace and insight to those which administrate and teach institutions in Higher Education, particularly those still connected to religious bodies. That these colleges and universities would give testimony to ways in which the community, both young and old, might bless one-another, breaking down the town-gown distinction in the pursuit of growth in heart, soul, mind, and strength.

The Dirty Dozen

Posted by tom | Jan 14, 2007

Thanks to Peter for forwarding From Top Conservative Colleges to 'The Dirty Dozen' found at Christian Post, an online Christian news service. Good to see Grove City College's continued testimony to how an institution when placed under the Lordship of Christ can change direction through a renewed sense of purpose, perseverance, and intellectual/academic focus applied in a particular location. Please join me in prayer that the Light of Christ continues to shine and work out, by the power of the Spirit submitted to the Father, through the people of God on campuses such Occidental College, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, UC-Berkeley, and Hollins University.

Ari Lucas Stehney

Posted by tom | Dec 24, 2006

Baby Eden has a new playmate :-) Marcy just gave us a call.

Ari Lucas Stehney

Born Friday, December 22nd

7lbs., 13 oz

21 inches

He's perfect. Came home today. Waiting for the link to the pics . . .

Can't wait to visit this spring :-)

Natural Law

Posted by tom | Nov 30, 2006

and the Protestant Moral Tradition was forward to me by a friend in IVCF's Graduate and Faculty Ministry. Good stuff, written by Stephen J. Grabill, executive editor of Acton Institute's Journal of Markets & Morality. Give this short piece a read.

Stem Cells Two Ways

Posted by tom | Nov 9, 2006

I had the opportunity to see Durwood Ray, one of our Grove City College Biology Professors, at Harvest (IVCF-Western PA's undergrad fall conference) where he was once again serving as a member of the prayer team. He gave me a sneak peek of this Washington Times piece, check it out. Durwood also shared that his son Andrew was returning to the Pittsburgh area to serve in a local congregation.

10th Reunion and more

Posted by tom | Oct 15, 2006

Back to the Grove! So great to see friends that had disappeared, such as Jason Berry (and meet his wife Angela), and see friends that we had stayed in touch w/but hadn't seen for a decade, Hi! to Angel and Chris and your 4 amazing kids! We also had lots of time w/those we've seen the most . . . Janine and Byrn, Marcy & Arlan, Libby, Peter and Becky, and the Baileys to name a few. Hoping to stay in touch more w/so many of you (and have you over when the house is finished).

How about Arlan, the honorary member of the class, carrying the banner w/Ethan (Grunden) and one of our student helpers! Here's a couple of other pics. By-the-way, I'd love to post some pics of your family and/or your great homecoming pics in my "friends are like family" section. Please forward them my direction via email.

Congrats to Starry and Justin for their engagment, wish we would have had some time to catch-up at the IVMF reunion :-)

PS. Here's a link to a pic of Trevor James Brandt. Just heard Stephanie (Fleming) Coyer had her 3rd son, Samuel, on Sept 4 and that Robin is expecting. Missed you at homecoming :( If you haven't already, check Peter and Becky (Dunbar) Bowersox's blog for updates on the kids they're adopting from Liberia.

Bowersox family prayers

Posted by tom | Oct 6, 2006

Take a moment to visit Peter and Becky's blog to learn about (or be updated on) their children Garty, Patience, and Joshua. In particularly pray for healing for

1. Garty, who has pneumonia and appears to have malaria

2. Becky, who has a nasty case of poison oak that has made her arms very painful, swollen, and barely able to bend.

Lord God, merciful Father, care for the little ones. Watch over them in all their innocence. Guard, guide, protect. They are so vulnerable in this world gone awry. Famine, violence, and abuse abound. They have no shield, no defense. Be their shield, O Lord. Be their defense. El Shaddai, send your holy angels to protect the children. Protect them as they skip down the street. Protect them as they play on the school grounds. Protect them as they sleep through the night. Protect them from all physical harm. Protect them from all emotional harm. Protect them from all spiritual harm. Keep them from the influence of the evil one: from evil friendships, from evil thoughts, from evil acts [And be with those such as Peter and Becky through whom you act in this creation. Provide them with vision, direction, and strength. May they be your model, you light, your presence]. This I ask in the strong name of Jesus who always welcomed the little ones into his presence. Amen.

Trevor James Brandt

Posted by tom | Sep 19, 2006

Trevor Brandt, 9/19/2006, 7 lbs  15 oz, 19.5  inches

7 lbs, 4 oz

born 1:30am

to Jen & Randy Brandt

"A Great Experience" . . . I believe that referred to holding the newborn (and possibly a quick delivery). Theresa's visiting Jen and Trevor in Lancaster right now. More when she returns, but no picture as she forgot the digital camera and I believe the Brandts have yet to acquire one :-(

Mass Transit, the way

Posted by tom | Aug 25, 2006

to connect w/people. Fellow Grove City College Alum Christina Garber recognized me while I was pouring over my email on AmTrak. She shared about the community of IVMF alum w/a vision for the renewal of Altoona. Looking forward to visiting later in the fall to learn more about this work and meet a Christian faculty on the PSU-Altoona campus with whom they are connected. Note: pictures from visits to Pittsburgh will be posted at 06 Ministry Tour(currently there are a few of the Horseshoe Curve along with one of Hyjunjin and Roger) . . .


Waiting for the

Posted by tom | Aug 14, 2006

re-appraisal. Hope to wrap-up the mortgage aspect and start building by early September. In other news:

1. On Saturday, had a great time w/friends from Grove City College: passed along E.T. (to Jen and Randy), feasted on crepes (thank-you Becky), cooled off poolside w/Hawaiian shaved ice (thank-you Arlan and Marcy)

2. Continue to become part of the family of God at Elizabethtown Brethren-in-Christ as last night we partied w/the Followers Fellowship Group over homemade vanilla, peach, and ginger ice cream (29 kids w/parents in tow). We had a number of conversations regarding services/physicians in the area to address Eden's health concerns and our pioneering work among faculty in South Central PA.

3. Move to the Ginders on Monday, August 21

4. Hayley and Ellen start at Donegal Springs Elementary School on August 28.

Thank-you to Marcy &

Posted by tom | Aug 10, 2006

Arlan for allowing me to borrow The Paradox of Choice, some of you might remember that I picked it up in a spring visit to D.C. along with Freakonomics. I'll be returning it to them at a pool party w/friends from the Grove on Saturday at Jen and Randy Brandt's. As a fitting conclusion to these posts and as a preparation for our coming time together

Perhaps most important, if you limit the number of choices you make and the number of options you consider, you're going to have more time available for what's important than people who are plagued by one decision after another, always in search of the best. You could use that time wisdely by getting to know more deeply your lovers, your children, your parents, your friends, your patients, your clients, your students. The real challenge in life is . . .


Students as Customers

Posted by tom | Aug 7, 2006

In Shopping for Knowledge (pp.14-17) Barry Schwartz explores

1. the loss of general education requirements, in particular the capstone course which was intended to teach students how to use their college education to live a good and an ethical life, both as indiviudals and as members of society and 2. the purchasing of goods such as classes and degrees.

I cannot help but agree with his conclusion (which by the way emphasizes to me the need for parents, students, and local congregrations to walk through the preparation for and consideration of various forms of higher education),

Now students are required to make choices about education that may affect them the rest of their lives. And they are forced to make these choices at a point in their intellectual development when they may lack the resources to make them intelligently.

I'd be curious as to how this Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College would suggest an new direction for his campus, for higher education. He comments later in the book the confusion of bright Swathmore students with many opportunities for future direction and how it precipitates what another author has termed the Quarterlife Crisis. And at the end, the value of social relationships to the whole economy, but how is this imparted? Few students bring it with them to the campus.

In my view, campuses should return to the core curriculum in general, of course our alma mater Grove City College did not

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