Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bryan College in 2017

Last weekend I went to Bryan College to see the solar eclipse. I'm glad I went and the weather cooperated completely. This visit to Dayton, Tennessee, also provided opportunities for me to have extended conversations with people I know and respect at the college about some of the controversies that have come up in recent years. I went into this with an open mind and asking broad, open-ended questions. One could call this a “listening tour” of sorts, though that implies having more plans than I had to do something with what I learned afterwards. My plan and hope was to listen to both sides, and I did. Some of these conversations did not touch on the controversies at all.

Based on what I had read and conversations I had even right after arriving in town, I anticipated finding a spirit of fear on campus and among the faculty. I did not find that.

At Bryan College and among its people, I found a warm spirit of gratitude to God for all that He is doing there at the college and people thankful for the opportunity to be part of that.

When gently probing under the surface, I also found pain. Enduring what feels like attacks leaves hurt.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse at Bryan College

At the suggestion of one of my old college roommates, I returned to the town where I went to college for a long weekend as it was in the path of totality for the solar eclipse.

I had read in the media like The Washington Post and some of the tech press that totality is worth the hype and distinctly different from a partial solar eclipse. I had an interest in talking to some people at my alma mater anyway, so even if the weather did not cooperate, I considered it worth the trip.

The Washington Post traffic blog also suggested that traffic heading toward locations in the path of totality was expected to build significantly starting 48 hours prior to the eclipse itself, so I made the 9-hour drive on Friday. (I had not checked to see what the traffic forecast was for the day after, and I expect I would have spent less time driving back today than I did yesterday. It was interesting having some of the traffic experience though: different license plates, etc. I noticed a lot of cars from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.)

The eclipse in Dayton was from approximately 1 to 4 PM with totality from about 2:32 PM to 2:34 PM. I set a couple alarms on my phone to help warn me and others around me when it would be the safe time to view the sun's corona without any solar glasses. It did not disappoint.

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