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Resource Guide to Speakers and Programs

November 2011: Please note that this information is current as of fall 2010, but the information is no longer being actively maintained.

Search these pages for speakers from Calvin College who are willing to make presentations for church, school and community groups. Please contact speakers by e-mail with your questions and requests. The inviting party is responsible for travel costs and honorarium.

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Aay, Henk
Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies | website

  • Biblical Religion and the Environment: Taking Stock of the Situation
  • The Church and the Environment
  • Children’s Eco-fiction: An analysis of environmental issues as presented in works of fiction written for children
  • Selected Topics in the Geography of the Netherlands: A geographical analysis of important aspects of Dutch culture
  • A Christian Worldview and Geography: An examination of the significance of a Christian worldview for the field of geography

Abadeer, Adel
Professor of Economics | website

  • Seeking redemptive diversity in Christian institutions
  • Dilemmas of minority groups in institutions and in societies
  • The dilemma of Christian minorities in majority Muslim countries
  • Ideologies/norms and how they marginalize women in many societies/countries in less-developed countries
  • Gender discrimination in less-developed countries
  • Introduction to Islam; the different facets of Islam and Islamic teachings
  • A Christian's view on Islamic teaching/thoughts
  • The good side of globalization: it is good for the poor

Adams, Joel
Professor of Computer Science

  • Building Your Own Supercomputer: How supercomputers work, and how you can build one yourself
  • Iceland: Land Of Fire And Ice: A photo travelog around Iceland's ring road
  • Digital Creativity: Demonstrations of software packages that simplify computer
    animation, unleashing creativity

Baron, Henry
Professor of English, Emeritus

  • Lent: From Requiem to Resurrection Symphony; a Lenten Journey through tears and triumph with readings, slides and music
  • Christmas Faith—confronting the beauty and the burden of the Incarnation through readings, slides and music
  • WWII Remembered: the war years in Holland through the eyes of a child:  Stories of courage and fear, violence and faith; and reflections on its lasting impact.
  • "The Immigrant Experience: promised land or vale of tears?"  Personal stories of the Dutch whose quest for a better life did not always lead to "milk and honey."
  • "Reminiscing with Sietze Buning: truth through tears and laughter."  Readings (with comments) from Stan Wiersma's unique folk poetry that celebrates and sometimes censures the special character of the Dutch immigrant culture and tradition from which he came.

Bierling, Marilyn
Professor of Spanish

  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Bierma, Nathan
Communications and Research Coordinator, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship | website

  • Bringing Heaven Down To Earth: A Reformed View of Heaven and Hope
  • A Christian Journalist's Perspective on the News Media
  • A Christian Perspective on Language, Languages, and Language Debates
  • 15 Words from Hebrew and Greek that Every Bible Reader Should Know
  • Crafting Words for Worship

Bolt, Robert
Professor of History, Emeritus

  • The Call of the Wild—a slide illustrated visit to Churchill, Manitoba, in October when polar bears are roaming about
  • The Influence of Religion on Certain 20th Century American Presidents.
  • Abraham Lincoln: His Humor and His Religion.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Involvement in His Hyde Park Church.
  • Humor of Presidents Ford and Lincoln is compared and contrasted
  • Prelude to Pearl Harbor
  • President Abraham Lincoln on his Religion

Boonstra, Harry
Theological Librarian, Emeritus

Bosma, Carl
See Calvin Theological Seminary speakers list

Bouma III, Hessel
Professor of Biology

The following computer-illustrated talks, each 40-60 minutes, are on topics in Christian biomedical ethics:

  • Human Stem Cells: Promises and Perils (2 sessions).  The current science, ethics and public policy issues surrounding human adult and embryonic stem cells that are being touted as the long-sought treatment of most chronic conditions and diseases.
  • Euthanasia: Dying Amidst Technology.  I. Withholding and withdrawing Medical Treatments.  Under what circumstances might we forgo medical treatments and how can we make our wishes known through advance directives if our capacities are diminished?
  • Euthanasia: Dying Amidst Technology.  II. Physician-Assisted Suicide and/or Voluntary Euthanasia.  Under what circumstances, if any, might we contemplate ending our own lives and seeking the assistance of health care practitioners through physician-assisted suicide (e.g., states of Oregon and Washington) or voluntary euthanasia (e.g., Netherlands) to do so?
  • Neither Male nor Female, God Created Them: Biomedical and Ethical Issues in Intersexuality (1 or 2 sessions). Each year, a small number of children are born with ambiguous genitalia—intersexed rather than clearly male or female.  Why does this occur, and what can and should be done, and ought we to understand our sexuality? 

Bratt, James
Professor of History

  • The CRC Past and Present—2-3 talks including a review of the development of the CRC, current trends and conflicts
  • Viewpoints: Exploring the Reformed Tradition—discussion series CRC Publications reader by this title.
  • American Reformed Theologians: Jonathan Edwards, Charles Hodge, John Nevin, H. Richard Niebuhr, etc.
  • Abraham Kuyper: A single talk or a series on the life and work of this giant figure in Reformed history.
  • Gathered at the River: Grand Rapids Church History—the major themes and findings in this book published in 1993
  • The United States: A Christian Nation? This two-part series explores the issue of whether the United States was founded as a Christian nation--and the persistent controversy over that question. The first session shows why the answer to the question is negative. The second session shows how, by the time of the Civil War, the answer had turned into a positive. That is to say, the US was not founded as a Christian nation but it soon became one. From the two sessions together, we should get a better understanding of what is (and what is not) at stake in the question and the answers; of why the argument on the issue has gone on for so long and with such heat; and what the proper stance of a Christian ought to be--for the good of the church as well as of the nation.

Bratt, Kenneth
Professor of Classics

  • The Mediterranean World at the Time of Christ (illustrated)—a study of the 1st century political, cultural and religious factors which contributed to the spread of the gospel.
  • Archaeology and the Acts of the Apostles (illustrated)—a study of Paul’s missionary journeys (especially the second), with special attention to the archaeological evidence.
  • Corinth (or Rome or Philippi): Archaeology and the Epistles of Paul (illustrated)—a study of the earliest European churches, drawing on the epistles of Paul and recent archaeological discoveries on site.
  • Advent (or Lent) in Early Christian Art and Literature (illustrated)—a meditative presentation on the principal feasts of the Christian year, using poetry and art from the early Christian tradition.
  • The Ancient Olympics (illustrated)—Ancient Greek athletics, contrasted with the modern games in both their athletic and cultural aspects.

Note: Professor Bratt also offers support services to high-school teachers of Latin and ancient literature.

Bratt, Wallace
Professor of Germanic Languages, Emeritus

  • Germany 20 Years After the Fall of the Wall

Brink, Emily
See Calvin Theological Seminary speakers list

Bytwerk, Randall
Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences | website

  • How to Give a Speech: The Basics of Public Speaking
  • The ABCs of Persuasion and How to Avoid Being Persuaded
  • The Propaganda of the Holocaust: The methods Hitler used to rouse hatred against the Jews
  • Film Propaganda in World War II: How the U.S. and Germany used movies to persuade

Carlson, Neil
Assistant Director, Center for Social Research

  • Making Peace with Political Ideology:  Why All Christians Should be Liberals AND Conservatives AND Moderates
  • Religious Congregations and Social Services in Kent County, Michigan
  • Measuring Spiritual Health among CRC Congregations and Pastors
  • Data Analysis and Visualization with Tableau
  • Technology Tutorials on a wide range of software and services

Cooper, Dale
Chaplain emeritus; Calvin Institute for Christian Worship; Congregational and Ministry Studies Department, adjunct professor.

  • A Few Things I’ve Learned Since the Time I Thought I Knew it All
  • Reflections from the Seat of a 1941 John Deere “B”
  • Spiritual Companionship:  Learning to walk together—in Christ
  • Joy: The Serious Business of Heaven
  • Hope: The Serious Business of Earth
  • Ten Things I’d Like to Teach My Spiritual Children 
  • Aiming to Grow Old Well

Cooper, John
See Calvin Theological Seminary speakers list

Gordon, Bethany A.
Assistant Professor of Nursing and Parish Nurse/Faith Community Nurse Educator, Emerita

•Parish nursing/faith community nursing: another opportunity for ministry.
Learn about this additional avenue to enhance the health promotion of congregation members and friends. Most persons spend more time in church than at a doctor or health care provider's office. The church then can be a natural place to offer programs about and visit with members about their health --body, mind and spirit.

Greidanus, Anna
Professor of Art

  • 20th Century Women in Art
  • The Cutting Edge of Contemporary American Ceramics
  • Exploring Personal Creativity Through Mixed Media Visual Art Exercises – This hands-on workshop can be presented in a single session or series. For various age groups and levels of experience.
  • Art and Spirituality

Groenhout, Ruth
Professor of Philosophy

2009-2010 Lecturer, Calvin Worldview Lectureship

  • Care and Justice in Medicine
    Suitable for an academic audience. Disciplines: Philosophy, Medicine, Nursing, Health Sciences, Religious Studies, Sociology.
  • Medical Dilemmas: Care and Technology
    Suitable for generally educated audience. Of particular relevance for those interested in Health Care, Public Policy, and Ethics.
  • Christians, Technology, and Health Care
    Suitable for general audiences, Christian and non-Christian alike, with an interest in the relationship between faith and the culture of medicine.

Haarsma, Deborah
Professor of Physics and Astronomy | website

  • Origins: Creation, Design, and Evolution
  • A Universe of Wonder: An Astronomer Looks at Creation (1 hour)
  • The Heavens Declare the Glory of God (10-30 minute chapel/worship service)
  • Engaging Science in the Life of Your Congregation Through Worship, Creation Care, and Education
  • Science as a Christian Vocation

Haarsma, Loren
Professor of Physics and Astronomy

• Origins: Creation, Intelligent Design, and Evolution
• Where Science meets Worldviews: Science, Atheism, and Christianity.
• Neuroscience, the brain, behavior, and the soul.
• Science and God's providence: natural laws, chance, and miracles.
• Science as a Christian vocation

Hamersma, John
Professor of Music, Emeritus

• Some Secrets of Sin and Salvation in the Organ Hymns of Bach—A lecture recital for adult education and other church meetings

Harms, Richard
Curator of the Calvin Archives

  • Black Baseball in West Michigan, 1900-1960
  • Grand Rapids Church Architecture, 1846-1945
  • The History of Grand Rapids
  • Grand Rapids Goes to War: The World War II Homefront
  • The Lumber and Timber Industry in Lower Michigan During the 19th Century
  • Grand Rapids During the Great Depression
  • A Postcard Tour of Grand Rapids, 1900-1920
  • Ramon Park: West Michigan’s Amusement Park, 1876-1955
  • America’s Pastime in West Michigan: Baseball 1880-1960
  • The Native People of West Michigan
  • Flooding in the Grand River Valley, 1886-1950

Hoekema, David
Professor of Philosophy

Available to speak on topics related to social justice, peace and war, and the arts in society; also on religion, politics and culture in West Africa, South Africa, and Russia.  Sample titles of some recent church and community presentations (some illustrated with photographs):

  • “Africa’s Wealth:  Some Lessons on Tradition, Family, Religion and Politics”
  • “Christianity and Toleration:  Why Christians Should Stand Up for Their Enemies  As Well As Their Friends”
  • “Who Are the Peacemakers?  Christian Witness to War and Violence” (with reference to the Study Report on Peace and War adopted by the 2003 Synod of the Christian Reformed Church) 
  • “The Inevitable War That Wasn’t:  Achievements and Challenges in the New South Africa”

Holwerda, David
See Calvin Theological Seminary speakers list

Katerberg, William
Professor of History

  • Connected Critics:  The Vocation of the Christian Scholar and Teacher
  • Deepest Peril, Last Stands:  Violence and Power in American History
  • Loyalists & Revolutionaries? Canada and the United States Compared
  • Intelligent Barbarism: The Cultural Psychology of Violence in the American West
  • Get Real? Visions of Utopia and Apocalypse in American Science Fiction
  • Holy Terror:  Religion and Violence in the American West

Kim, Young Richard
Assistant Professor of History

Topics include:

  • Historical context of early Christianity
  • heresy and orthodoxy in the early Church
  • development of Trinitarian theology in early Christianity
  • church Fathers
  • ancient Mediterranean history and culture

Klooster, Beverly
Professor of Biology, Emerita

  • Use and Abuse of Antibiotics—How is it that the antibiotics developed to treat infectious diseases no longer work?
  • Microorganisms: Our Unseen Friends and Allies
  • Nutrition: Which Approach is Better? Vitamin pills or foods
  • Christianity and Politics

Luttikhuizen, Henry
Professor of Art History

  • Art and Compassion: Depictions of Christ’s Passion in the history of art
  • The Nativity in the Visual Arts: Images of Christians in the history of art
  • How Art Reveals God in Nature: Pictures of general revelation
  • Modern Art and Religion: The religious commitments underlying 20th Century painting.

Maag, Karen
Director, H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies

  • Life in Reformation Geneva: a vivid account of the transformations that the reformation caused Geneva in the 16th Century
  • Pastors and Churches in the 16th Century Calvinist communities
  • Geneva Under Siege (with slides): Describes in detail the attempt to attack Geneva by night in December 1602. Suitable for young people and adult classes

Mellema, Gregory
Professor of Philosophy

• Business Ethics: A Christian approach to decision making in business organizations.

Meyer, Nancy
Women's Athletic Director

• "Want to Lead Others?  Learn to Lead Yourself First"

Miller, Daniel
Professor of History

  • Two Versions of the Cold War in Latin America—conservatives and liberals have very different memories of US-Latin American relations. Who’s right?
  • The History of Christianity in Latin America
      a. The Colonial Catholic Church
      b. The New Catholic Church
      c. The Growth of Protestantism
  • America Before Columbus—a slide presentation on the Maya & Aztec civilizations of Mexico and Central America.
  • Latin American Updates—a discussion of particular nations and topics with emphasis on issues of concern to North American Christians.
  • After Appomattox: What Ken Burns and Glory Didn’t Tell You about the Civil War—race relations in the U.S.
  • U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction:
    • Southern Slavery, National Racism
    • "A war to preserve 'The Union as it was' becomes a 'War to end slavery' and "War to the last ditch.'"
    • "Grant's Virginia Campaign of 1864: Strategic Brilliance or Organized Butchery?"

Monsma, George
Professor of Economics and Business, Emeritus

  • Poverty in America: A Christian Economist’s View—a discussion of the causes of poverty in the United States and options for Christians who want to work to alleviate it.
  • Economic Stewardship and Justice—one talk or a series on our callings as stewards of God’s world.
  • Access to Health Care in the United States.
    The U.S. is the only moderate or high income country that doesn't provide all its citizens with financial access to health care. This situation will be discussed in one or two talks in light of Christian principles of justice. Policies which could increase justice in this area will be evaluated.

Mulder, Mark
Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Work

  • Poverty in the United States: A discussion of the foundations of poverty in the U.S.
  • Spirituality in U2: An analysis of the role of spirituality in the art/music of U2.
  • Congregational Adaptation to Neighborhood Change in Southeast Grand Rapids: A report on congregations from one denomination pursued various strategies in response to changing neighborhood demographics.
  • Reconciliation in Cities and Neighborhoods: A talk about how reconciliation in urban neighborhoods might begin with taking "places" more seriously

Noe, David
Assistant Professor of Classical Languages

  • General classical topics, include church history, St. Augustine, and Hellenistic philosophy.
  • Augustine and the Donatist Controversy: One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
  • The Persecutions of Diocletian: How Christians Learned to Live (and die) in a Roman World
  • Classical and Christian Virtues: Charity and the Development of Christian Community
  • Pleasure, Pain, and Living according to Nature: Understanding Paul's Audience in Acts 17
  • The Origin of Original Sin: Augustine's Arguments with the Pelagians

Overvoorde, Chris
Professor of Art, Emeritus | website

  • Art as a Necessary Occupation: Why Every Community Needs Artists (a slide lecture)
  • Beyond Images: Art and the Christian Life (a slide lecture)
  • The Christian Artist: Art as a Response (a slide lecture)
  • The “Grace” Story: What We Have Done Visually at Grace Christian Reformed Church (a slide lecture)
  • Dutch Art: The Art of the People (a slide lecture)
  • History of Dutch Painting (a series of slide lectures)
  • How Fine Art Prints are Made (slide lectures)
  • The Foundation of Van Gogh and Mondrian: 19th Century Dutch Painting (a slide lecture)
  • My Journey in Art: A Personal Reflection (a slide lecture)
  • Stories of Faith: Fifteen Heroes of Calvin College and the Christian Reformed Church (an illustrated lecture on the residence hall paintings)
  • Prairie Visions: A Prairie Study of Space and Productivity

Pettinga, Jeff
Professor of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport, Emeritus

  • Physical Education Curriculum: What the modern curriculum in physical education should include.
  • School Health Education Programs and “New Age” Thinking: Do school health programs have a “New Age” value system?
  • “Recruiting” the High School Senior Athlete: What are the factors considered?
  • History of Sports: What does the past tell us about the current state and future state of sports?
  • Coaching Baseball—Clinic setting: How to improve your baseball skills.

Post, Arden
Professor of Education, Emerita

Workshops for Teachers:

  • A Balanced Literacy Program in the 21st Century—presents current and future trends in teaching reading/language arts, reviews research and makes suggestions for teaching
  • Book Censorship—reviews current issues and how schools can deal with parent concerns
  • Building a Classroom Literacy Community—examines key components by which we can set up or evaluate the literacy learning in our classrooms
  • Childrens’ Choices—Using children’s favorite books in the classroom to teach literacy
  • Creating a Christian Teaching and Learning Community—reviews writings and discussions and presents some questions for schools to consider
  • Holiday Reading/Writing Connection—presents children’s books and reading/writing activities to correspond to 10 annual holidays
  • M-O-T-I-V-A-T-I-O-N to Read—presents new questionnaires for students and ingredients we may be missing
  • Multicultural Children’s Literature—presents a five-phase literature study that can occur over five days or five weeks and can be adapted for many ethnic groups
  • Phonics Today—presents observations of how teachers are incorporating phonics into their classrooms
  • Poetry from A-Z—gives patterns for a multitude of poetry from the silly to the sublime, from simple to complex
  • Study Skills—involves teachers in examining those skills needed for students to effectively learn in their classrooms
  • Teachers as Readers (TaR) Groups—suggests ways of setting up monthly book clubs of teachers who share children’s literature and teaching ideas
  • Teachers’ Ten Top Literary Practices—presents the results of research into elementary teachers’ literacy activities

Presentations for PTAs, churches, community groups:

  • Adolescence—a look at the characteristics of this age and suggestions for relating to adolescents
  • Adoption and Childbirth—a discussion of the ways God builds our families
  • Collegial Relationships in our Schools—a devotional and some hard facts
  • Communication in the Christian Family and Decision Making in the Christian Family—a two-part series for church or civic groups
  • Desires of your Heart—a devotional for educators and others
  • Developing Responsibility in Children—an interactive presentation for parents
  • Grandparents Share Books with Grandchildren—children’s books about grandparents
  • The Middle Schooler—a factual and humorous look at past and present students and schools
  • Tips for Teaching All God’s Children—a list of 10 timely tips for Sunday School Teachers
  • The Ups and Downs of the Christian Life—a comparison of our lives to the psalmist David

Schaefer, Kurt
Professor of Economics | website

  • American Experiments with Poverty Policy
  • Husband, Wife, Parent, Child, Master, Slave: The Economic Context of the New Testament Household Codes

Scheer, Greg
Music Associate, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Greg Scheer's website with more workshop options

  • From Global Song to Heart Song
    From the German carol “Silent Night” to the Swedish hymn “How Great Thou Art,” our faith has always reverberated with the voices of the saints in all times and in all places. In this session we will explore how voices from all over the world can enrich our worship here in North America. We will sing examples from the new Global Songs for Worship songbook and CD.
  • Art of Worship Team Leadership workshop
    Your church has a worship team, but how do you help them reach the next level? This intensive training includes instruction in the role of the worship team, vocals and vocal harmony, guitar, piano, bass, drums, putting all the instruments together, and a demonstration rehearsal. The curriculum is aimed toward team leaders, but anyone who is on a worship team or hopes to lead one in the future will benefit.
  • The Psalms in Modern Worship
    Theoretically we see the importance of the Psalms in worship, but in practice how often do we use any more than short quotations from the most “user friendly” Psalms? This session will look at different methods of Psalm-singing through the ages, making suggestions for adapting and combining those techniques for modern worship settings.
  • Mentoring Worship Artists
    How can we move from directing people to helping them grow? Greg Scheer’s story of mentoring and being mentored is a launching point for a discussion of how we can best grow those who are involved in our worship ministries for the good of God’s kingdom.
  • The Other 87.5% of the Worship Iceberg
    Too often we concentrate only on the things we see in worship. If you want to affect worship renewal in your church, work below the surface. This is an especially good session for pastors and musicians from the same church to attend together.
  • Worship: What's Next?
    People tend to see the 60s (Jesus People, CCM, P&W) as worship’s watershed: either the renewal of worship or the end of tradition, the beginning of narcissism and the collapse of quality. Placing recent worship trends in a larger context allows to more accurately predict future trends.
  • Congregational Songwriting Workshop
    If we are to "sing a new song to the Lord," we must first compose them! This workshop will begin by outlining the traits of great congregational songs throughout the ages, and then move into a discussion of participants' songs. Bring one or two completed (or nearly completed) congregational songs of any style that you would like to present and discuss with the class.

Schoone-Jongen, Robert
Assistant Professor of History

  • Biblical Kings and American Presidents
    Since George Washington first swore to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” on April 30, 1789, forty-three people have occupied the office of president.  Some rose to historical immortality, others sank into the ranks of villains.  And some have been assigned to both camps.  Many simply have been forgotten.

    What were the presidents like--as people, politicians, and public figures? 

    For Christians this leads to the question of what we should seek in our leaders.  One way to approach this question is to look at one of the Bible’s lengthier portraits of a godly ruler found in Psalm 72.  Then comes the hard part of the assignment—comparing our personal measures of good leadership with the standards scripture presents for our consideration.

  • Sojourners in the Land: America and Immigration, Then and Now
    People have been on the move since the beginning of recorded history.  That means immigration is an old, old story, one that touches each of us. This historical theme can promote a better of understand who we are and where we came from.  The Bible also speaks of immigrants and how they were to be treated.  By looking at both the Bible and history we can come to a better appreciation for the process of immigration, its causes and its results.  We can examine both the role immigration has played in molding the United States and the current issues that surround immigration.  Finally, it is important to look at immigration with reference to biblical advice about hosting the “strangers that are within your gates.” 

Selles, Otto
Professor of French

  • Jesus Laughed? Humor and Religion
  • Charismatics or Fanatics? The French-Calvinist "Multiplier" Sect (Montpellier, 1720-1723)
  • Tolerance: Virtue or Vice?

Shoemaker, Allen
Professor of Psychology

  • Christian Perpectives on Self-Esteem—how compatible is self-esteem with humility and pride? What factors affect our self-esteem?
  • The humor of Christ—Sayings of Jesus that the Jews of His day found humorous but are lost on Western audiences
  • Understanding Those Going Through Divorce: How can we as Christians understand and help others who are going through divorce?

Smidt, Corwin
Professor of Political Science; Executive Director of the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics | website

  • Christians in Politics or Christian Politics: Issues in Transforming Culture for Christ
  • The New Religious Order of American Politics
  • The Political Characteristics of American Evangelical Christians
  • The Politics of Protestant Clergy in Contemporary America
  • The Christian Right in American Politics: Contributions and Liabilities
  • Islam and Politics
  • The Religious Beliefs of Evangelical College Students Today: Continuity or Change?
  • The Role of Media in the Presidential Selection Process

Smith, David
Professor of German; Director, Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning | website

  • Spiritual Development Across the Curriculum (1 or 2 talks or a workshop, with practical examples from several curriculum areas)
  • How should Christians teach? (And related topics regarding Christian education and the relationship of faith to teaching and learning. Material ranges from an overview lecture to a week-long workshop. See also )
  • Learning from the Stranger: Christians and Cultural Diversity (1 or 2 talks)

Smith, James K.A.
Professor of Philosophy | website

Here are some topics that Prof. Smith is available to speak on:

  • postmodernism
  • worship, worldview, and "secular liturgies"
  • Pentecostal/charismatic spirituality
  • Pentecostalism and the Reformed tradition
  • Christian cultural criticism
  • "The New Calvinism and the Reformed Tradition"

Steenwyk, Steven
Professors of Physics | website

  • Now That’s Cool—demonstrations with liquid air, intended primarily for youth groups aged 9–14 to experience the amazing effects of extreme cold on material.
  • An Electrifying Performance—demonstrations of some of the amazing effects of electricity—intended for youth groups aged 9–14.
  • Comets, The Swords of Heaven—Legends and facts about comets, meteors and asteroids with video illustrations highlighting their potential threat to life on earth.

Stronks, Gloria
Professor of Education, Emerita

  • Christian Schools Throughout the World: some parents want Christian education for the values and morals, others for the good education and caring teachers, and others realize that disciple of Jesus Christ through the experiences of their children. 
  • When Christians Teach in Public Schools - how can they legally teach with authenticity according to their world and life views?
  • Real Boys and Golden Girls: A comparison of the ways private and public middle school boys and girls respond to schooling, to school relationships and to classroom work.
  • Will Our Children Have Faith? — findings of a research study concerning the faith journeys of middle school students in Christian schools can be used in teaching Bible or in planning worship for the school and church.
  • Planning Curriculum with a Christian Perspective in Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Schools: What role do state benchmarks and standards play?
  • Middle School Years:What is happening to destroy the dreams and heroes of young adolescents? Can we use the developmental needs of middle school students to create an excellent Christian discipleship curriculum for them?

Tiemstra, John
Professor of Economics | website

  • Recycling: Is Recycling Economically Wise? Do we do too little or too much?
  • Regulating and Deregulating Business—the purposes and problems with regulation of business and the record of deregulation since the late 1970s.
  • Christian Responsibilities of Consumers and Business—one talk or a series on the Biblical themes concerning economic life and how we can apply them today.
  • Organ Building in Northern Europe—one talk or a series with slides and recordings on the development of the organ and its music in France, Germany and the Netherlands from 1400 to 1900.
  • Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff or the Big Easy?—how increasing equality in the U.S. economy and taking better care of the poor will make the economy work better.
  • Globalization—The growth of global trade and investment raises ethical questions about the environment and poverty.
  • Financial Crisis and the Culture of Risk--How have Christians' attitudes toward risk changed over the last fifty years? How has this affected our financial system? Is financial globalization a good thing in a world where the assessment of risk has become more difficult?

Timmer, James
Professor of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport

  • A Christian Perspective on Interscholastic Athletics
  • A Christian Perspective on Physical Education
  • Intercollegiate Athletics and Higher Education—a lecture on the inconsistencies between the goals of higher education and Division I athletic programs

Triezenberg, Glenn
Director of Career Services

  • Creating Enemy Images: An Inside Look at Interpersonal Problem-Solving and Conflict Management—this one to three hour presentation/workshop focuses on how individuals, groups, and organizations produce conflict and what each can do to manage and grow in the face of conflict.
  • Where the Jobs Are: Fantasies, Facts and Forecasts—Does a college degree, particularly one from Calvin, make a difference in today’s job market? Which careers are hot and which ones aren’t? How should a student decide on a career? This session will address these and other real world questions as well as provide the opportunity for questions and group discussion.

Van Andel, Glen
Professor of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport, Emeritus

  • When I Relax I Feel Guilty—the hectic pace of an active lifestyle often results in the worship of our work, working at our play, and playing at our worship.
  • Vacations with a Vision: What Christians Should Know—vacations need to be viewed like the Old Testament sabbath, a period of time when we restore our relationship with God, others, and His creation.

Vander Leest, Steve
Professor of Engineering

  • Technology in Worship: An interactive discussion on appropriate use of technology that is right for your worship service and fits your congregation.
  • Man-made Disasters and Technology Failures: A look at how our gadgets and machines can fail us -- from the infamous catastrophes of the Titanic or the space shuttle Challenger to everyday dangers of technologies like automobiles or cell-phones. How do we make responsible use of technology? How safe are we?
  • Stressed out in a Modern World: Technology is a wonderful gift of God and a powerful tool, but it can also get the best of us. In this presentation we'll look at the Biblical basis for technology and scriptural principles for using it appropriately. We'll examine how technology can amplify sin (think of road rage or internet porn) but how it can also be an instrument in the hand of redemptive agents (think of penicillin, wheelchairs, or gospel radio). The presentation concludes with some thoughts on wise personal use of technology.
  • Systematic Problem-Solving and Decision-Making: Learn an organized, team-based approach to solving big problems. You will learn how to carefully specify the problem and identify the stakeholders. You will learn brainstorming techniques to come up with several creative alternatives and use decision criteria that document the priorities and values of each team member. You will see how to develop a decision matrix that maps out and weighs the choices, helping the group to discuss the issues honestly and make progress towards a consensus decision.

Van Der Weele, Steve
Professor of English, Emeritus

  • A Study of the Poem “The Hound of Heaven”—the classic literary account of the working of God’s irresistible grace.
  • An Overview of Dante’s Divine Comedy—Dante, the pilgrim, goes on a journey which teaches him the effects of sin, and shows him how to practice the virtues and how to achieve eternal life.
  • Vondel: Part of our Literary Heritage—Vondel’s achievement in his biblical play Jepthah.
  • Samuel Johnson as a Christian Warrior, 300th Anniversary—Samuel Johnson, in his life and work, emerges as an 18th Century servant, sage and saint
  • C.S. Lewis: Man for all Seasons—why does Lewis still appeal to many readers decades after his death?
  • Our Hungarian Experience—slide illustrated.
  • Impersonation of Albert Einstein
  • Impersonation of Benjamin Franklin

Vande Streek, Kevin
Professor of Physical Education; Men's Basketball Coach

  • Raising Championship Children—a perspective on parenting relating coaching experience with the challenge of raising four sons
  • Christianity in Sport—How a Christian can look at sport in today’s society
  • Coach-Athlete-Parent-Principal-Board Relationships—a discussion on the role of each in the high school setting

Van Reken, Calvin
See Calvin Theological Seminary speakers list

Van't Hof, Ellen
Professor of Dance

  • Sacred Dance: What Is It? (a lecture-demonstration)
  • Dance and the Arts in Elementary Education
  • Sacred Dance Workshop—a single workshop or series of workshops to introduce sacred dance—learning dances and creating our own.
  • Dancing Across the Intelligences—A workshop that explains and explores Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences from the perspective of creative dance.
  • The Klompendance: Tulip Time in Holland, Mich.—An investigation of the origin and history of the wooden-shoe dance.
  • Finding Their Own Dance: Reawakening the Alutiiq Arts--a discussion and presentation of a documentary film produced in Alaska  during a fall 2006 sabbatical

Weima, Jeffrey
See Calvin Theological Seminary speakers list

Whitekettle, Richard
Professor of Religion

  • The Psalms: The Mirror of the Soul—a look at how the Psalms grapple with the joys and sorrows of life
  • The Triumphs and Tragedies of Saul, David and Solomon—a look at the political and spiritual life of the first three kings of Israel
  • Thus Says the Lord: The Prophets of Israel—a look at those Israelites who were called by God to speak to a nation and world gone awry
  • Sexual Intercourse, Menstruation and Childbirth in Old Testament Law—a look at why sexual intercourse, menstruation and childbirth made men and women “unclean” according to Old Testament law (Lev. 12 and 15)
  • The Ant, the Hippopotamus and Israelite Wisdom Literature—a look at how the Old Testament wisdom writers answered the two questions, “How does the world work?” and “How should I live?”
  • The Sacrificial Theology of Dead Lambs and a Living Jesus—a look at how God used the sacrificial system to restore the divine/human relationship, and how the death of Jesus Christ is the culmination of this process of restoration
  • Creation, Fall, and Disintegration: The Stories and Story Line of Genesis 1-11
    Why is only the man kicked out of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:24?  Why does God not like the fruit that Cain brings him in Genesis 4:5?  And why, in Genesis 11, is the Tower of Babel story followed by a boring genealogy?  These days people spend a lot of time and energy thinking and arguing about whether the stories in Genesis 1-11 are true or not.  We won’t do that.  We will look at things like plot and setting and structure and themes.  In other words, we’ll look at the stories in Genesis 1-11 as stories…stories which were and are intended to tell the reader something about how the world was made, about what the world is like, about what went wrong with the world, and about what God did and did not do about that wrongness.  Thus, we’ll look at the stories as the foundational opening of the entire biblical story which finishes well over a thousand chapters later.

Zylstra, Uko
Professor of Biology Emeritus

  • Biotechnology and Food Security: The Ethics of Genetically Modified Foods
  • Environmental Stewardship and the Kingdom of God
  • Creation, Evolution and Life—A critical examination of the meanings of creation and evolution.
  • The Christian and World Hunger—An examination of population, environmental resources, and their relation to world hunger.
  • The Genetic Age: Are we ready for it?—A review of the recent developments and potential of biotechnology and a consideration of the ethics of genetic engineering.
  • Intelligent Design: Is this the appropriate response to how we should understand how God interacts with the creation?