April 28, 2017 | Harding Read |
President Bruce McLarty announced the selection of Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place for the 2017-18 Harding Read. The University’s campus read initiative began fall 2016 to encourage the campus community to read a book together and engage in conversation both in and out of the classroom.
The Hiding Place tells the story of Ten Boom and her family and their work with the Dutch underground during World War 2. Ten Boom and her older sister were eventually arrested and sent to a concentration camp themselves. The book chronicles their lives, the danger they were in, and the faith that helped them through it.
Last year, McLarty chose Eric Metaxas’ Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery as the 2016-17 Harding Read.
“It was embraced wholeheartedly by this campus, and it turned out to be a wonderful success as our first Harding Read,” McLarty said. “As we started looking for the book for next year, I thought I would love to go back and do biography one more time, and I would love for it to be a biography of a woman.”
McLarty asked faculty members for suggestions for this year’s book, and he read and researched approximately 50 books from the titles recommended to him and books he thought campus would be interested in. After reading Metaxas’ Seven Women, McLarty revisited the story of Corrie Ten Boom, who was one of the women featured in the book.
“It’s a powerful message of a very profound faith lived out in a very dark time, and it’s very convicting today,” McLarty said. “‘The Lord says it, and therefore we do it’ was their take on life and on Scripture, and it made a huge impression on me. It is going to be a wonderful connection next year with the fruits of the spirit, which is our theme in chapel.”
After McLarty read The Hiding Place, he was convinced it should be the book for the 2017-18 school year. He plans to secure nine different speakers for chapel to examine each fruit of the spirit with a corresponding section of the book. The American Studies Institute is working to include a Holocaust survivor in its Distinguished Lecture Series speaker lineup next year.
Students are encouraged to read the book over the summer to prepare for next school year. Incoming freshmen will receive a free copy of the book at Summer Stampede, a summer orientation program, and the book will also be available in the bookstore at a discount to faculty members. Faculty across campus incorporated last year’s Harding Read book into their semesters, and McLarty hopes others will join them next year.
“I hope the Ten Boom family walks with these students for the rest of their lives, and I hope students consider them friends and spiritual mentors as they face all kinds of challenges in our own time,” he said. “A common read works very strongly in the direction of a community of mission.”
Participation in Harding Read is not a required component of students’ curriculum, but the entire Harding community is invited to read the book and partake in conversations from chapel, classes and online discussions.
“When we have a shared experience, it strengthens community, and for people to know this year who William Wilberforce is made us all a little bit closer,” McLarty said. “Next year, knowing who the Ten Boom family is and what they did is going to tie us a little more closely together, and it ties us together around the mission of Harding.”