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Educating the Deaf

Gallaudet University, the first university in the United States focusing on educating deaf people, was named in honor of the founder's father, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Thomas was born in Philadelphia in 1787. His father was George Washington's secretary when he was president. The family moved to Connecticut, and Gallaudet earned his masters degree at Yale University. He pursued theological studies in preparation to being a pastor.

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | August 7, 2014

Wilberforce and Social Change

William Wilberforce is well-known for his decades-long persistence getting legislation passed to outlaw the slave trade in the British Empire. He and a group of Christians called the Clapham Sect (because that is where they were from) were motivated by their Biblical belief in human value and the value of God's creation to pursue other ways of solving other social ills. Their campaigns were carried out through a variety of organizations and legislation that they backed. Their goal was to “eliminate public corruption and promote religion in the hearts of the people....

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | July 31, 2014

Wedgwood Abolitionist

You may be familiar with Wedgwood pottery. One of the most distinct of Josiah Wedgwood's designs is jasper ware – most commonly with blue or green glaze with classic figures applied in white. He was a well known potter in the 18th century, and was also an abolitionist and innovative business man. He was born in England in 1730 to a family of potters. They were dissenters of the Church of England, and his biblical values ran deep.

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | July 24, 2014

Salt and Light in 19th Century England

Titus Salt was a contemporary of of John Cadbury, whom I wrote about last Thursday, and there are similarities in their stories. Salt expanded his father's wool manufacturing business and became quite successful. He innovated a method of manufacturing alpaca wool, which Charles Dickens even mentioned in one of his books.

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | July 17, 2014

Cadbury Chocolate and Christianity

Cadbury Chocolate was founded by a Quaker, John Cadbury, who has a strong sense of social responsibility motivated by his Christian convictions. His family were anti-slavery and campaigned for abolition. John opened a grocery store in 1824 and hoped that selling drinking chocolate would be an alternative beverage to alcohol. He was concerned that alcoholism led to poverty when people couldn't work. He devoted himself to social causes after handing over the business to his sons 35 years later.

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | July 10, 2014

John Witherspoon – Pastor, Professor, and Patriot

John Witherspoon was born in Scotland in 1723 and emigrated to the colony of New Jersey when he was called as president of Princeton University in 1768. Those who heard his sermons said he was a gifted, though not flowery, speaker. He strengthened the curriculum taught at Princeton and emphasized the importance of a well-educated clergy, which was one of the primary purposes of the university at that time.

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | July 3, 2014

Men Have Forgotten God

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn played a major role in the collapse of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago. He exposed the reality of Soviet prison camps and was also a critic of the West. The basis for his observations was his Christianity.

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | June 26, 2014

Religious Toleration

Thomas Helwys was one of the early Puritans in 17th century England. He and his fellow Protestant believers met in secret to avoid punishment for dissenting with the state religion. Helwys' wife was imprisoned and banished after her sentence. Helwys wrote the first defense of religious liberty in English, challenging the religious authority of King James I.

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | June 19, 2014

Generations of Medical Missionaries

Rev. Dr. John Scudder, Sr., founded the first Western Medical Mission in Asia in Ceylon in 1819. He also founded a family of medical missionaries whose combined service covers four generations, 42 members, and 1100 yeas of service, mostly in India.

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | June 12, 2014

A Reverent Scientist

William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, helped lay the foundation for modern physics. He was also a mathematician, engineer, and inventor. His most significant work was developing the laws of thermodynamics with James Joule. He invented submarine telegraphy and worked on the project laying the trans-Atlantic telegraph line. He was the first scientist to be honored with a peerage and received 21 honorary degrees. His work "portended the relativity theory and quantum theory."

Blog Post | Christianity & Culture | Melinda Penner | June 5, 2014