Dr. Charles Adams is professor of engineering emeritus at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. As he explains in one of his essays: "I grew up in the 1950s as a kind of rootless, middle class American, in the suburbs outside of New York City. My mother was a nominal Protestant, my father a Catholic, and the identities of my grandparents, great-grandparents, or other ancestors were essentially unknown and irrelevant to me. My worldview was shaped more by the Brooklyn Dodgers, Davy Crockett, and Hopalong Cassidy than by the ethnic or cultic origins of my relatives. But by God's grace I came under the influence of Reformed preaching as a child. Then, at just the right time in my adolescent development, I was befriended by a radical, counter-cultural Dutchman, who made me aware of the Kuyperian, Dutch neo-Calvinist worldview and community. ... Since that time I've come to realize that the Lord works his covenant faithfulness through generations of people in community with each other, people bound together by a common desire to live obediently before his face" (70).
After marriage and graduating from Newark College of Engineering, Adams, along with his wife, Pam, moved to Connecticut where Charlie worked for Pratt and Whitney Aircraft. There, two sons were born to them and they adopted a third. The couple looked for a church in Connecticut similar to the Orthodox Presbyterian church they had attended in New Jersey and found the Avery Street Christian Reformed Church in South Windsor. He taught junior high Sunday School there and came to realize that teaching was what he wanted to do.
The family decided to move back to New Jersey where Adams began his teaching career at Eastern Christian High School. He often said that he was amazed that Eastern Christian would pay him for doing something he found so enjoyable. In 1979, after eight years of teaching high school, he moved to the college level and took on the challenge of starting Dordt College's engineering program. Adams designed the courses, helped hire professors, and was instrumental in designing the original building. Today, several of his former students are professors of engineering at the college.
His technical expertise and philosophical bent notwithstanding, Adams celebrated the "tapestry" of God's good creation with his family and with his students. At home, he became a photographer and built furniture from wood. In addition to his artistic abilities, Adams was a reader-novels, theology, philosophy, you name it, including authors like John Calvin, Søren Kierkegaard, and Charles Dickens. While not a performer, Adams' love of music is evident in the broad range of classical to folk music recordings he collected over the years (the largest collection of which is by his favorite musician Bob Dylan).
Throughout his life, Adams has been thankful to the Lord for the ways the spectacles of Christian faith allowed him to glimpse the fabric of God's good creation-as he says in another essay, "to perceive the jewels in the tapestry and the threads tying those jewels together into a unity." At the same time, he often reminded himself and others that "even with those spectacles, we only see, as the Apostle Paul says, 'as through a glass, darkly'" (427).