Oh Lord, won't you buy me...
(Tim) What's the connection between denominations, denominationally-affiliated Christian liberal arts colleges, a denomination's church planting demographics, and Mammon?
When Mary Lee and I were first married, we joined a church newly planted by the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in Madison, Wisconsin. Soon after arriving there, I saw a denominational flier thumb tacked to the church bulletin board that explained the denomination's church planting demographic vision. It said something like, "We have done studies of our denomination's constituency and find that RCA church plants do best in upper middle class, highly educated neighborhoods and communities."
Our small congregation of 75 or so was filled with souls who fit the RCA church-planting mold much better than Mary Lee and I. Three who stand out were Del Smith, Senior Telecommunications Counsel at Jones Day; the philosopher Keith Yandell; and the historian of science, David Lindberg. Of course, our church building was on Madison's far west side and included several who lived in Shorewood Hills.
Do you ever find yourself wondering if what Jesus said is still true today--that those who would follow Him must deny ourselves and take up our crosses?
Years ago I saw a cartoon that pictured...
a man sitting at a bar with a drink in his hand, announcing to the bartender: "I had a happy birth, a happy childhood, a happy adolescence; I married happily; I'm having a happy middle age; and I'm looking forward to a happy old age and a happy death." It could be written by any of our denominations' church planting agencies or college presidents, couldn't it?
These thoughts after running across this press release issued yesterday by Christian liberal arts Houghton College upon the occasion of the celebration of their 125th anniversary:
HOUGHTON, N.Y. —Houghton College welcomed back thousands of alumni, friends and parents this weekend to commemorate 125 years of “Celebrating the Journey… Transforming the World.”
Festivities began on Thursday with the naming of the Campus Center Lounge in honor of Robert Van Dyk, class of 1975. Van Dyk has been a supporter of campus projects that directly impact the student body including the fitness center and Java 101.
A ceremony was held on Friday morning celebrating the opening of Houghton’s new Business Investment Center. Equipped with a 24-foot-long stock ticker streaming the latest quotes, LCD screens showing market commentators and their predictions, and four dual-screen trader stations presenting market research results the Investment Center serves as trading room, a classroom and a study area for Houghton business students.
The Founder’s Day Convocation included multi media presentations highlighting the past 125 years of Houghton’s rich history. During the convocation Wilson and Eleanor Greatbatch were awarded the Houghton Medal and Paul Young, Houghton College professor of psychology, was recognized as Alumnus of the Year.
On Friday afternoon 39 alumni participated in panel discussions reflecting on their professional journeys. Areas of discussion included creation care, medicine, law, business, communication and cultures, service and justice, ministry, research and development and education.
In the evening the Ortlip Art Gallery celebrated the works of Houghton College Art Alumni in a reception for the exhibit, “Celebrating the Visual Arts." Following the art reception James Barcus, class of 1959, presented a lecture. The evening concluded with a celebration and fireworks on the Quad.
Saturday highlights included the grand parade, alumni house renovation kick-off and a festival on the Quad, which included a Ferris wheel, games and rides. The College Choir, comprised of alumni and current students, presented a concert on Saturday night, followed by a birthday cake celebration and Spot.
125th celebration activities concluded on Sunday with a joint worship service at Wesley Chapel.
"Transforming the world" through panel discussions of "creation care," exhibits "celebrating the visual arts," and twenty-four foot wide stock tickers? It could as easily be Gordon, Wesmont, Wheaton, or Covenant, couldn't it?
Sadly, this press release communicates all too well the vision of our denominational church planting agencies and liberal arts colleges.
As Pink Floyd put it, "Money, it's a hit; don't give me that do goody good..."