Tincaps Game

As an end of the year celebration, and a fantastic good-bye party, the Honors program spent an evening at the Tincaps game in Fort Wayne, IN. The night included Coney Island hot dogs, a surprising first pitch and of course, baseball. I want to thank all of you who helped put this together – I was thoroughly impressed by your secret-keeping skills! Thanks to all who attended!!


ImageI got to throw out the first pitch. It was quite the surprise! I was very touched by all the thoughtfulness that went into this night – thank you all!

ImageLibby, Nicole, Katie and Brayton – some great people (and expressions) in this picture!

ImageThe whole group!

ImageAnd Brayton’s sweet victory…




Reflections on a Calvin College conference

In the process of writing my senior English thesis, Dr. Baker suggested I submit it to the undergraduate section of the Midwestern Conference for Christianity and Literature at Calvin College. I did, and to my surprise, got accepted to present my paper to fellow undergrads as well as professors at the conference. The process of preparing my paper for the presentation was a great learning experience…and of course, getting to attend the conference and hear papers from others, as well as eat delicious food and hear the Pulitzer prize winning author Marilyn Robinson was a real treat! My paper was about identity re-creation in the context of metanarrative, and looked at the non-Fiction work “Country of My Skull” by South African author Antjie Krog. This book tracks the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa set up at the end of apartheid, through the eyes of a white, Afrikaans poet.

Since the Conference was back-to-back with the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin, I was able to spend an entire weekend at the college, going to workshops and hearing speakers and writers. Here are some of my favorite quotes and incidents from the weekend:

-“We need the courage of risking respect towards whoever we encounter”. (Marilyn Robinson)

– Spilling my cup of trail-mix all over the floor, and having the surrounding professors help me clean it up and comfort me by comparing it to the coin scene in Ellison’s “Battle Royale.” I love English people.

–“People are incandescent with the spark of God’s glory, and this is opposed to the “instincts” and “urges” that science says we are.” (Marilyn Robinson)

–Eating fancy food that I don’t even know how to pronounce.

–Getting to hear Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigerian writer of “Purple Hibiscus” fame)talk about her writing.

— “A story is a country where you can both stand together for a while in the space after a big question.There’s no answer unless you tell a story–the only way to tiptoe towards glory is through story.” (Brian Doyle, author.)

I’m so thankful the Honor’s Guild made this learning experience possible, and would highly recommend that honors students keep their eyes open for the next conference in two years.

— Stephanie Binion, Class of 2012


This past November (yes this blog is not timely but it is still fun!) we hosted our 2nd annual Pie Open House!  It was a great success with hundreds of campus visitors to the Honors Lodge enjoying about 30 different kinds of pie. Many were homemade by Honors students and they were DELICIOUS!  Check out these pictures and make sure you join us next year!


Reflection on James Madison

On November 9, I listened to James H. Madison speak on the subject of his book A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America.  He focused mainly on the lynching in Marion in 1930, in which two black residents were brutally murdered and whose corpses were displayed for the town to see after being accused of murder and rape.

I think at a few points in his lecture, my mouth literally hung open and my heart felt ashamed to acknowledge people could do something so awful.  I understand black citizens were considered second-class at the time (if not worse), but I don’t understand how people could show up at a lynching laughing and treating it like a social event.  I doubt they would have acted the same way to even an animal, which is sickening to think they would degrade humans to such a level.

Today in America we don’t have the same level of racial violence so frequently (although, unfortunately, it still does occur).  We pride ourselves on respecting diversity and being tolerant of many different backgrounds.  However, while a culture may change in certain ways, people do not.  If people could display such awful qualities 80 years ago, I’ll bet people today are just as capable of acting with such brutality.  Perhaps we don’t look down upon African-Americans or have lynching social events, but are there other areas we act so brutally in?  Or, perhaps we do not act so brutally, but we think so brutally.  I certainly have looked down upon others for what I perceive as inferiority.  I am not proud of this, but as a human, it is natural—natural, but not right.

Here at Taylor, do we treat any group of people as second-class citizens?  Sometimes I feel we put a pedestal on spiritual things.  What if I skip this women’s programming event, that Spiritual Renewal night, this Bible study meeting, or that wing church?  Will I be as good of a Christian?  While the answer is irrelevant because we need faith and not works, sometimes I feel there is a pressure on campus to do spiritual things because they are seen as better than other categories of life.  This, though, goes against Galatians 1:10: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (ESV).

I wonder how people rationalized their views and behaviors toward blacks in 1930.  We may not struggle with the particular issue of racism like our country did then (though we still have work to do in that area), but I think we need to be careful of looking down on others for arbitrary reasons and then determining their worth based on that.  We are not who decides anyone’s worth—that is God’s job and it would be best to avoid usurping it at all costs.  Matthew 7:1-2 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (ESV). While our actions may not incite such dramatic violence as in 1930, the root of that action lies in thought and still occurs today—we must be careful to control these thoughts lest they build and eventually result in something we will be ashamed of later.

—Taylor Blake, sophomore in the Honors Program

Honors at the Symphony

This past month I went with the Honors Guild on a trip to the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis. We actually went to Indy last fall to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art, but this year we attended Rogers and Hammerstein at the Movies, an arrangement of Rogers and Hammerstein songs from films such as Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music, performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

One of the things I love about Honors is that we get to do stuff like this. I love live music and old theatres—the Hilbert is absolutely beautiful to look at—so basically, I was really excited to be there. The orchestra itself was fantastic, although they did something I hadn’t expected; they’d hung a large screen over the stage, which showed scenes from the various movies as the musicians played along with the characters’ singing. It was kind of an unusual experience, but the live music actually really made the scenes come alive. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen very many of the films by Rogers and Hammerstein, but after hearing so many of their songs, I really want to catch up on what I’ve been missing!

It can get kind of busy at Taylor—there’s class, homework, councils and clubs, small group, etc.—so it can be very easy to forget about the outside world, or that we need to take a break. That’s one of the reasons I think trips like this are so beneficial. It’s wonderful to see something of another city, to visit a theatre or museum, eat at Noodles & Co. (I recommend their macaroni and cheese with meatballs), and just get to know the other people in the Honors Guild. Even the van ride was memorable: I met several new people, played a very amusing storytelling game, and sang Christmas carols about two weeks too soon. It was fantastic.

I’m already looking forward to whatever we have planned next.

—Chelsea Molin, sophomore in the Honors Program

The Long Run

The Long Run

(The long version cause you care just as much about running as I do. Congratulations, you’ve decided that you can read a longer article written by some guy who loves running way too much)

The marathon is a distance that only few truly love. There is no doubt that I love running, but for the most part, I love the variability of running. I can go out and run a quick ¼ mile, ½ mile, or mile or I can stretch the distance to 5 or 10 kilometers or even a half or full marathon. Like I said, I love the variability of running and in turn I love running. But I don’t love the marathon. There are few that do: professional marathoners (who are actually quite fast over the 26.2 mile distance or ultramarathoners, who run marathons as part of their training runs for their own longer races (like 50 and 100 miles long, crazy).

So why did I just train for 6 months to run the Chicago Marathon? Because for me, running is about glorifying God. It’s about becoming centered (and not in that mystical, chanting sort of centered). Running for me and the time I spend running is time I spend away from the rest of civilization. Yes, I may run through a city on a training run and have to stop for cars (I usually don’t), but while I am running, I am by myself. It allows me time to think. To think about life, school, my future, relationships, and of course running. Training for a marathon involves running for a long time which allows me to think for a long time about all these issues. Running is part of my worship of God; by giving my best out there on the roads, I am giving my first fruits to God, giving back to him with the gift he has given me.

Now of course everyone who ever runs would love to be faster. We say, “I’d love to run a sub 5 minute mile or a 1.5 hour half marathon.” But what runners lose sight of is that God has given them this gift, and to push themselves over the edge (possibly with injury or with competitiveness) is not glorifying God.

Another way to glorify God through running would be running to benefit charity. This finally hit me about July of this summer as I was training to run the Chicago Marathon in October. I was watching a training video online of Ryan Hall and Josh Cox, two phenomenal runners that are both Christians (Hall holds both American records in both the half and full marathons and Cox holds the American record of 50K). They had both run for Team World Vision to raise money for children in Africa as well as money to dig wells for clean water and just improve the overall quality of life over there.

I remember sitting in my apartment this summer, at my desk, and thinking to myself, “You’ve been running all these years to make your own name great, to post great times, and to break records. You’ve been doing it all wrong. It’s not about you; it’s about Him and his people.” So when I picked myself up from the verbal beatdown I gave myself, I decided to join Team World Vision and run to raise money for kids in Africa.

So true Biblical running (if I can call it that) is using the speed and endurance God gave you to run a few miles and hopefully benefit someone else, and probably sweating a little in the process.

—Brayton Kiedrowski, Senior in the Honors Program


(The short version for those that don’t have patience or want to get the VO2max up)

The marathon is a distance that taxes both the human body and the mind; it is as much a mind game as it is a test of one’s preparation for physically moving one’s legs for 26.2 miles. When it comes to preparing for a marathon, physical training is required whether one has a running background (possibly cross country and track in high school) or using a set plan one found online or elsewhere. But many first time marathoners and even seasoned veterans struggle with finishing 26.2 miles even though they have run 3, or even 4, 20 mile runs in the course of their training.

There are, I believe, two main motivators when it comes to marathon running: personal motivation and charitable motivation. Personal motivation can take the shape of wanting to complete one’s first marathon, desiring to run a Boston qualifying time, or set a personal record (for those non-runners: The Boston Marathon is the oldest and most prestigious marathon but a runner must run a qualifying time in his or her age group to be able to register for Boston; also a personal record is the fastest time a runner has covered a distance in the recent past). For both my first and second marathons, I had personal motivation: first to run a marathon and then to PR (yes PR is a verb; it means to set a personal record).

I don’t intend to take away the weight that self-motivation holds but the most important motivation one can have is charitable motivation. Now it’s not like someone is holding a gun to your head and saying, “If you don’t finish this race, I will shoot you,” (and most of the time the money that you may have raised has already been raised before the race even starts) but the idea that you are not running for yourself is, in itself, a great motivator.

This may put in your mind the idea that a runner would desire to just complete a marathon and not actually race it. But I would discourage you from this idea. My hope is that someone would see charity runners (especially those capable of racing a marathon versus completing a marathon) giving their all in the race and because of this, be prompted to give to the organization which that runner is running for. Maybe, maybe.

—Brayton Kiedrowski, Senior in the Honors Program