Category Archives: Calvin College

The administration is stepping up its game this year

Firstly, I apologize for sucking at life and not updating. My summer has been quite full since I am a quasi-alumni now looking for a job. But my last paper was handed in at the beginning of the month and I am now officially done with Calvin forever!

…That was, until the “Memo”.

Some background: The administration is always finding ways to fuck with the college, some years they focus on the students (note the “controversy” over every issue of the spoof and even going so far as to try to shut it down or threatening the writers with expulsion) and others they like to focus on the professors (the booting out of Dr Isom last year). These shenanigans usually occur right before the end of spring semester, probably with the intent then that they would soon be forgotten.

This year, the administration decided to up its game and mess with the college early…way early, during the summer. Towards the end of this summer all staff received a memo telling them that it is “unacceptable” to advocate for gay marriage in any way. The board claims that it is only a clarification of previous decisions, but we can safely say that judging by the “WTF?” responses by most of the faculty that this is not so.

It appears that some faculty actually attempt to think for themselves and form their own opinions outside of what the synod says. Gay marriage joins the long list of things that the board is very passionate about, including:

  • believing that the Belgic Confession, Hiedleburg Catachism and Canons of Dordt are way rad
  • attending a CRC church (a list of acceptable churches is available upon request)
  • putting their kids into Christian schools
  • make the college look good
  • be all that they can be in regards to being decent human beings
  • [source:http://www.calvin.edu/admin/provost/fac_hb/chap_3/3_6.htm]

As you can see from the list, the Calvin board is all about addressing all sorts of controversial topics, just like the synod is (the issue of women clergy/women participating in synod not included).

The board is clearly wistfully looking back on the days (circa 1920, the board members must be ancient) that they had control over the minute details of student and faculty life. Gone are the days when you could simply order a professor to stand outside the movie theater to catch students coming out of The Covered Wagon. Now everybody wants academic freedoms and shit like that.

And the fact that professors quit after the Isom incident and others might surely think twice about staying at Calvin after this is just icing on the cake to the board! And, if it stirs up all sorts of outrage amongst the student body then that’s cool too!

I think that everyone still at the college should be on their guard this year, after such a strong start so early surely they have a big surprise for the college in the winter/spring.

The Covered Wagon was one of the greatest films of 1923

"The Covered Wagon" was one of the greatest films of 1923

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DCM

Alright, so I mentioned DCM a few times already this month so I guess I should talk about it some.

All students suffer through experience several things during their first year, the academic ones being Prelude and DCM. DCM stands for Developing a Christian Mind but students know it by names like “Destroying a Christian Mentality” (in fact, I had to look up what DCM actually stood for, as I’ve always known it by the latter name). It is typically taken by first year students during Interim, the January term, although a few classes are offered second semester.

What sort of classes are offered?

Many classes are “Christian responses” to stuff, like ” A Christian response to Refugees”. Also their are many directly about God, such as classes about his will, multisensory worship, infinity, etc. And then there are literary classes, math, etc, etc. There are even classes all about overdone phrases like discernment and vocation! The most hilarious interim class I ever saw was when they were offering a class about aliens my freshman year, I petitioned so hard to get into the class but the registar hates me.

What will happen?

Plenaries are required. Kinda like Prelude. And, oh yeah, it will cover all the “introduction to a Christian mind” stuff that was crammed down your throat everyday of Prelude. But the level of what you are required to read will decrease exponentially (in terms of quality, not quantity). Think that they Prelude packet, with endless articles where the writers waxes long and inanely about vocation, quiet time with God, parking garages and the church and short term missions trips (which I considered the least inane of the articles, for it dealt with fact instead of long-winded feelings) made the “mission statement” of the college look kinda bad since Prelude and DCM are, in the words of the powers that be, “a first-year core course that introduces students to the central intellectual project of Calvin College”?

Then get ready for Cornelius Plantinga, he is proof positive that the seminary really has no standards when it comes to the ability to reason or a command of the English language! This man used to be president of the seminary, for real. I burned his text at the end of Prelude. I hate book burning but I could not bear to bring myself to call Plantinga’s work a “book”.

How to cope:

Candy during the planaries. The sugar will keep you awake, especially during the really dull documentary on suburban sprawl.And never state that you don’t foresee having kids in the near future or that any and all censorship is bad, you will get bitched out by the conservative douchebag in your class.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I took a class on banned books and grew to love Mark Twain (and learned that Margaret Atwood books give me nightmares, but I also wake up at night and think that zombies are in the kitchen so it doesn’t say as much about Atwood’s novels as it does about me) and led to many questions like, “they turned “The Color Purple” into a musical? WTF?” Oh, and there are broomball tournaments in the dorms during Interim.

If I were to teach a DCM class it would be called, A Christian response to alien dysfunctional families in trailer parks

If I were to teach a DCM class it would be called, "A Christian response to alien dysfunctional families in trailer parks"