Memories of Racism, Memories of Grace – Princeton Seminary Dining Hall

Very few seminary campuses compare to Princeton Theological Seminary in terms of sheer beauty. Anybody who’s visited the historic institution knows this. In fact, I heard through the grapevine that Miller Chapel was mentioned in Martha Stewart’s list of most beautiful places to get married. I haven’t been able to verify this, but I can easily see how it could very well be true. (The wife and I got hitched there.) Not enough can be said about the architecture, the greens and the surrounding area. The place looks absolutely gorgeous year-round. (Click on pics to see more photos.)

One place that typically gets overlooked in terms of aesthetic appeal is the Mackay Campus Center, especially the dining hall. The picture doesn’t do it justice. The tall, wide windows at the end of the hall let in copious amounts of sunlight and give students excellent views of the changing seasons as they eat, chat and study throughout the year. It also has two levels and massive chandeliers noticeably held up by only three or four large screws. We used to comment that if those things fell, they would kill half of the student population. I have many fond memories of that dining hall.

Unfortunately, it is also in this setting that I had one of my more memorable racist encounters. We don’t normally associate the modern seminary with racism, especially fairly liberal ones like Princeton (though certainly a spectrum of conservatives, moderates, and liberals are represented); however, racism is alive and well even there. Continue reading

Memories of Racism, Memories of Grace – My First Fight & Girls

My first schoolyard fight occurred in the 7th grade during a lunch recess. I was attending Memorial Middle School at the time. The yard itself was rather large. As you can see in the picture, it included three softball/baseball fields, a large intervening field connecting the three diamonds and a blacktop. Clearly it was impossible for teachers to keep track of all the kids, and the students knew this. So, quite often, in hidden corners and far-off tree lines, kids would engage in make-out sessions, look at porn magazines (no internet/wifi back then) and so on. This is also why my first fight was able to break out and last as long as it did. (By the way, to orient yourselves as to the point of this series of posts, it might be helpful to read at least the first half of the first entry.) Continue reading