Andrea Palpant Dilley (’00) Advises “Change Wisely, Dude”


Check out EL alum Andrea Palpant Dilley’s latest post for Duke Divinity on churches’ changes to attract 20-somethings. An excerpt:

“In 2007, when my husband and I moved from Arizona to Austin, Texas, and went in search of a church, we skipped the nondenominationals and went straight to the traditionals. We found an Anglican church where every Sunday morning we now watch clergy process up the aisle wearing white vestments and carrying a 6-foot cross.

We take communion from an ordained priest who holds a chalice of blood-red wine and lays a hand of blessing on our children. We sing the Lord’s Prayer and recite from the Book of Common Prayer — in which not once in 1,001 pages does the word ‘dude’ ever appear.

In my 20s, liturgy seemed rote, but now in my 30s, it reminds me that I’m part of an institution much larger and older than myself. As the poet Czeslaw Milosz said, ‘The sacred exists and is stronger than all our rebellions.’

Both my doubt and my faith, and even my ongoing frustrations with the church itself, are part of a tradition that started before I was born and will continue after I die. I rest in the assurance that I have something to lean against, something to resist and, more importantly, something that resists me.”

The Dude logo above is from here.

Laura Bloxham’s Tales of Summer 2013 Reading (Part One)

east of eden

by Dr. Laura Bloxham

“I’ll want to hear,” Samuel said.  “I eat stories like grapes.”

–John Steinbeck, East of Eden


I’ve eaten a bunch of grapes so far this summer.  For my somewhat structured reading, a couple of reading groups, I’ve read two notable stories.  Actually, I’m still reading one of them, Steinbeck’s East of Eden, with the group of young women, now in their mid-twenties, who are meeting for the fifth summer.  We read big books, usually, classics often.  East of Eden is full of biblical parallels to chew on, commentary on the growth of the West, progress, depth and surprises, plus good old narrative pull.

detective inspector huss

For the Kick Ass Women Readers, who read kick ass women authors who write about kick ass women characters, I read Helene Tursten’s Detective Inspector Huss, a mystery with a main character who is a European judo champ, a police detective, a wife, and mother.  There are conflicts all over the place, including with the men in her department, as well as the bad guys.


Jenny Brown, in the Kick Ass group, recommended, no, forced me to read one of her favorites, John Crowley’s The Translator.  Now it is one of my favorites.  A young female student finding her way meets a Russian poet on registration day of her first year in college.  But there’s more to both of their stories.  And lots of good poetry, thoughts about translation, the power of words, not to say about politics, including the Cuban Missile Crisis.  A gripping journey for the characters and the reader.


The best of the rest of the grapes is Michel Quint’s tiny novella, In Our Strange Gardens.  It’s an extremely poignant Holocaust story that Vic Bobb passed on to me.  And now I’ve passed it on.

Laura Bloxham is a Seattle native who grew up in the Seattle Public Library, where she spent the Saturdays of her youth — those Saturdays, anyway, when she was not watching Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris on the Game of the Week. Laura has her undergraduate degree from Whitworth, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington State University. She has become a generalist in the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing on British, American, and some world literature. Her current favorite courses are Modern World Literature, British Romantics, Southern Writers, Jane Austen, and Holocaust Literature. Laura facilitates a murder-mystery study group that includes Whitworth faculty and administrators.


EL Alum Amy Schroeder (’09) Chosen As Lilly Grad Fellow

amy shroeder

Congrats to Amy Schroeder (’09), one of 16 graduate students chosen this year for the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program!

The Whitworth web site reports: “After graduating from Whitworth, Schroeder taught literature courses for a year at Payap University, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. During this time she developed a strong interest in pursuing her Christian vocation, which she says has led her toward becoming an English professor.

‘The English department at Whitworth taught me to love the difficulty of poetry; I probably would not have pursued it further had I not had such excellent literature professors,’ Schroeder says.

Amy will soon begin her Ph.D. at Baylor.

Read the article here.

Nanda Navis (’12) On Living and Working in Cairo

nanda navis egypt

by Nanda Navis (’12)

Each morning of late, I have been waking up to the hot summer sun of Cairo. I’ve taken to sleeping on the couch, since the living room is the only room in our house with a/c and my room is so stuffy it only cools down to about 80 degrees, with the fan on high.

For the past ten months I have been waking up to varying levels of street noise, taking a cab, the metro, and another cab to get to work each morning. The key to life, I have discovered, is flexibility. Traffic may be awful and make you late to work. Power outages may cut your fans and Internet off. Protests may keep you home from work for a week. But no matter what, you can always count on two things: sunshine and Egyptian hospitality.

nanda navis mcc

When I get to work every morning, within the first twenty minutes I am offered tea. There are times when I almost dread going to someone’s house, because I know I will eat more food than I do on Thanksgiving. Egyptian mamas tend to insist that you keep eating and drinking tea even when you feel like you are going to burst. Hospitality has taken on a whole new meaning after living here.

Each day brings new challenges and opportunities. I have not been able to fully appreciate them, but that is part of the learning that has to happen. Each Egyptian is willing to stand up for for their country and their beliefs; to fight to make it better, to give more opportunities to the people, and to be free to worship their God. Their spirit and hope sustains them through revolution and upheaval. Even when you feel like you do not have gifts to give or cannot help, never underestimate yourself. Though I have only been here for a year, my ability to speak and write in English has proved to be remarkably valuable to the organizations I work with and even a little help has improved communication between organizations.

nanda navis volunteer

Nanda Navis, ’12, is living and working in Cairo, Egypt for a year-long term with Mennonite Central Committee. Her placement is in two locations, the Deaf Unit and EpiscoCare; both organizations are associated with the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt. As a 23 year old who has lived in nine different countries, being overseas isn’t new, but being sans-family and working as a volunteer is. She spends a lot of time on the computer working with foreign donors, designing publications or websites for both organizations, taking pictures for said publications and hanging out with adorable deaf Egyptian children, as well as drinking a lot of tea and Nescafé. For more glimpses of life in Egypt, check out Nanda’s tumblr and blog