Sunday, September 20, 2015

Home for Lunch

Thursday was a great day.  I came home for lunch, and look whom I found.  My daughter, Jenny, has gone back to work, and her husband, Nick, was out of town.  That meant that Desiree got thrown in the briar patch of watching our grandson all day long.  And here I am getting a piece of that delightful action.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Visit to TK

I stopped by the TK class last week and got to sit for a picture with the crew.  They were settling in nicely to the new school year, and I always enjoy the hugs and warm greetings.  

Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11

In the Upper School Cornerstone this morning, Mr. Gould asked the students if any of them remembered 9/11.  A few seniors, who were three or four years old in 2001, sheepishly half-raised their hands.  Most of the room was unresponsive.

I remember the years in the early part of the new century when we were holding assemblies to commemorate the event and were still dealing with the raw emotions among the Trinity community.

Now the event recedes into the historical background each year, and we wonder how to deal with it.

The faculty gathers each Friday for devotions, and this morning Ellen Van Tongeren led us in a time of remembrance, confession, prayer, and singing.  The American flag sat behind her, and the song she brought us was a prayer for the healing of the nations.  We prayed for people fleeing Syria, Central America, and Mexico, and we remembered our own people who were lost.  One person on staff shared how her daughter's life was changed forever by that event, how she headed with focus and determination into the military career that she is pursues still today.  One persons reminded us to pray for all Muslim people on this day.

Here is the hymn we sang:

O God of every nation,
of every race and land,
redeem the whole creation
with your almighty hand.
Where hate and fear divide us
and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us,
and heal our strife-torn world.

I left the devotion, glad to be in a community where we pray like this.  I walked out the front door and looked down the walkway to the gym and saw the picture I've pasted here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Senior Class Chooses School Verse

The Senior Class gathered at Camp Tekoa to choose the annual school verse
This year we have launched a new tradition at Trinity.  The senior class has come together to choose the Scripture verse that will guide the entire school through the year.

In the past, the Headmaster and a few other leaders were involved in the selection of the school verse, but we got this idea from another school and I am delighted to report that I've just come back from Camp Tekoa in Hendersonville, NC, where I spent last night working with the students to guide them to select this year's verse.

The students worked through a carefully designed process that gave a voice to every one of the forty seniors, and in the end they came together around one verse that they think (and I agree!) captures the Gospel message, reflects Trinity's mission in a clear way, and is relevant to Trinity today.  They began their work in their four advisories and then came together as a whole class to discuss, debate, share, pray, and then choose.  I'm very pleased with what they have done.

It was gratifying to see them engage earnestly on the project, and I look forward to their leadership through the year.

The class will announce their choice to the rest of the school on Monday, August 31, at the Opening Chapel (8:40 am).

The verse will hang in a prominent place in the Gold Gym this year, and then it will take its proper place among the hall of fame of previous verses hanging in the Blue Gym.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Letter from Birmingham Jail Panel with Faculty

Today the faculty and staff gathered at Trinity for our opening meeting.  We always focus on some key issues for the year, and today we hunkered down on the issue of diversity.

The entire faculty had read Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail for our faculty summer read.  It seemed like a wise choice at the end of a long year that started with Ferguson and just kept going.  And then came Charleston.

We invited a moderator and three panelists to help us "read" King's classic text anew.  (I spent a few minutes with the faculty explicating the "classic" nature of King's letter, unpacking its thickness, adaptability, and publicness.  See our Expanded Mission Statement--it has all three in abundance.)

Melvin Rosales, from Nicaragua, spoke passionately about the relevance of King's letter to the Hispanic community.  He did a powerful rewrite of King's eloquent prose in his own voice, with his own story embedded.  No one who heard him could walk away and think that racism is dead and gone and that issues of injustice are things of the past.

David Molpus, a friend from way back, former National Public Radio correspondent, spoke powerfully of his father's courageous stance as a white Baptist minister in Mississippi in the 1950s and 1960s.  He lost his job for standing up against segregation.  "I like to think that my Dad was one of the rare exceptions King talked about," said David.

Sharon Laisure also spoke on the panel.  She has experience in organizational development and human resource management with more than 30 years of executive level experience primarily in local government management.  Sharon spoke about her own story and then presented Trinity with several challenges and opportunities, ranging from hiring and recruitment practices to diversity dinners to pursuing relationships with people who are different.

Perrianne Davis, Trinity alumna parent and former board member, moderated the panel.

Perrianne knows Trinity well.  She offered an important perspective that surprised me.  Reading King's letter was hard for me this summer.  Good, but hard.  I easily imagined myself as one of the white moderates that King was challenging, and I wondered how he would challenge me today.  (My remarks to the faculty and staff arose from this posture--I talked about repentance, about Paul's story of his encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road).  Perrianne reminded us all that though we have a long way to go, Trinity has taken clear and strong action on this issue.  Our Diversity Policy is unique and uncompromising.  Today's panel shows our willingness to dive into these issues (there were some clear moments of discomfort, which is a good sign).  As she talked, I could imagine Trinity, with all of our challenges (why not more families of color by now?) as a sort of headlight (to grab one of King's powerful metaphors), trying to shine into the fogginess that we all find ourselves in.  We have so far to go, but several people commented on the distance we have come.

It's good to give thanks for that here at the beginning of a year when we intend to keep working this, stretching our institution to be more welcoming, learning to be the kind of place that supports families of color who choose Trinity for their children.  I think it was a morning well spent, and I am very grateful to our Diversity Coordinator, Adrienne Davis, who coordinated this and to our panelists who gave us so much time.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Stone Kenneth Bodnar

May I tell you about my grandson?

What are blogs for, if not for that?

After two days of head fakes, he finally decided to emerge into this wonderful, sin-soaked world, where he has reminded us all what a wonder it is just to be.  

Mother, father, and child are all well.  Praise God!

July 29, 2015, 6:21pm
7 lbs, 9.5 oz
20.5 in long

Nick & Jenny Bodnar

Jenny and Stone
Nick, Jenny, and Stone

Proud Pops
Gram (aka Des) and Stone

Uncle Teddy

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Traveling Seredipities

I am in the middle of a trip to Ireland and England with Desiree and her sister.  We completed our time in Ireland and have just arrived in Cambridge.

We visited the usual sites: the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainam Gaol, Trinity College Librry and the Book of Kells.  None of these disappointed, as we had planned on taking them in.

Trinity College Library with Desiree and Daiquiri

Des Goes to Kilmainam Gaol

How about a pint?

But there is something about the unexpected find on a trip, the happy serendipity that feels a little less touristy and authentic and personal.  So far I have had three.

On our first day in Dublin, we walked past a sign that read "Chester Beatty Library."  Later that day, after Des and her sister had gone to the hotel, I walked to find the place with such a name and asked, "Are the Chester Beatty biblical papyrii here."  Indeed they were.

The Chester Beatty Library

In the early part of the last century, several papyrii of biblical texts were published from a private collection by a mining mogul named Chester Beatty.  One is a rather complete collection of Paul's letters from the second century--an amazingly early date.  Pick up any Commentary on the Greek of Paul's letters you will hear the writer reference P46, the Chester Beatty papyrii. From it we have an early witness to the integrity of the biblical record and also a fairly good picture of the emerging biblical canon as far as Paul's letters go. Another papyrus fragment, P66, contains very early, second century record of John's Gospel (Chapter 19). Only a few fragmented lines, but corroborated by later texts this find is like discovering the steering mechanism of a BMW in an aboriginal dig--the rest of these car existed somewhere, and one wonders how it got where it did and when.  Anyway, I got to stare at the papyrii for a good half hour before they closed down the place.

One page of P46, containing much of the Pauline epistles.  This page is from 2 Corinthians 11.
The next day, Des and I got to visit an exhibit on Yeats at the National Library.  I wouldn't have known about this if our hotel hadn't been right around the corner.  We ran in one afternoon late, sure that it would be closed.  But they stayed open until 8 and is was free!  Lots of fascinating stuff, including several documentary style videos in rooms that had been appropriately appointed with Yeats paraphernalia.  One highlight was an area with 360 degree screens, with the poems themselves displayed on one screen and flanking screens showing interpretive images, as the likes of Sinead O'Connor and Seamus Heaney read the poems aloud.  Yeats himself read "The Lake Isle of Innisfree."

The latest serendipity was not an intellectual one, but touched another part of my life.  We arrived in the resort town of Killarney and went to the bike shop to rent bikes to ride around the park the next day.  Turns out there is a charity ride around the Ring of Kerry on the first Saturday of July each year. They were expecting 11,000 riders this year!  Derry at O'Sullivan's rented me a road bike and I did my own Ring of Kerry ride, all 180 km of it, on Friday, the day before the ride.  It was spectacular, with stunning views, quaint towns, stiff winds, challenging climbs, and lots of sheep.  And you could even say, technically, that it was the first to finish.  I bought a shirt to commemorate the occasion.

Renting a bike in Killarney

An early morning scene along the Ring of Kerry

Stunning View along the coast

The route was marked clearly with these mile signs along the way, all 180 km

Stopped in towns like this along the way for water and food.

Bought a shirt at the end

Now for Cambridge and Oxford, where our adventures are planned out more carefully.

Some of the colleges at Cambridge:

 At Oxford we followed the trail of Lewis and Tolkien:

And Churchill--Blenheim Palace 

C.S. Lewis' home, the Kilns

Lewis' Study

Lewis' Grave site

The house where Tolkien wrote The Hobbit

Lewis' rooms in Magdalen College