2009 Schedule
To listen to an archived presentation, click on the name of the presenter and follow the link. We have been given permission to archive eleven of the fifteen presentations.

Michael Mandelbaum: Thursday, January 3rd, 2008 Bill McKibben: Friday, January 4th, 2008 Sonja Nazario: Monday, January 7th, 2008 Chris Seiple: Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 Eleanor Clift: Wednesday, January 9th, 2008 Debra Rienstra: Thursday, January 10th, 2008 Ishmael Beah: Friday, January 11th, 2008 James Abbington: Monday, January 14th, 2008 Margaret Lowman: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 Timothy George: Wednesday, January 16th, 2008 Michael Griffin: Thursday, January 17th, 2008 Douglas Diekema: Friday, January 18th, 2008 Stages Theatre Company: Monday, January 21st, 2008 William Garvelink: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 Sigval Berg: Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
Wed 7th

John Witte, Jr.
Marking John Calvin's 500th Birthday:
"Separation of Church and State - Calvin Style: A 500th Anniversary Celebration"

Underwritten by: Barnes & Thornburg

Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He is the recipient of the 2008 National First Freedom Award for his contributions in advancing religious liberty in the United States. He is a specialist in legal history, marriage, religious liberty and the life of John Calvin. He is the author of 21 books and countless publications. He has won dozens of awards for his teaching and research. In this presentation he will address John Calvin's political legacy and its enduring lessons for us still today.

John Ortberg
"Faith and Doubt "
Underwritten by: The Center for Excellence in Preaching

Senior pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California. He is the best-selling author of many books including The Life You've Always Wanted, God is Closer Than You Think, Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box and his newly released Faith and Doubt. Ortberg served as a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church from 1994 to 2003 and holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Sandra Steingraber
Living Downstream: Health and the Environment
Underwritten by: Spectrum Health

Ecologist, author, and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert on the environmental links to cancer and reproductive health. Steingraber's highly acclaimed book , Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment presents cancer as a human rights issue. She is recognized for her ability to serve as a two-way translator between scientists and activists. In 1999, as part of international treaty negotiations, she briefed U.N. delegates in Geneva, Switzerland on dioxin contamination of breast milk. The Sierra Club heralded Steingraber as the new Rachel Carson.” Interviews with Steingraber have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, on National Public Radio, “The Today Show”, and “Now” with Bill Moyers. Formerly on faculty at Cornell University, Steingraber is currently a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Ithaca College.

* note: this presentation will not be archived on the web due to contractual restrictions
Victor Makari
"The Continuing Witness and the Future of the Church in the Middle East"
Underwritten by: Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning

Serves on the General Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as Coordinator of the Middle East and Asia Minor and as Coordinator/Executive Director of the Jinishian Memorial Program. Makari is a native to Egypt and has been a minister in the PCUSA since 1966. He has been involved in a variety of ministries locally, nationally and internationally. He has broad experiences in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and cooperation, both domestically and internationally.
Tues 13th

Deborah & Loren Haarsma
"Creation, Design, Evolution, and Human Origins"
Underwritten by: Peter C. Cook

Professors of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College. Deborah, with a Ph.D from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researches galaxies and cosmology; and Loren, with a Ph.D. from Harvard, studies electrical activity of nerve cells. Together, they have explored the science and theology of origins, speaking at numerous conferences, colleges and churches. In their book "Origins" they explore what both God's Word and God's world teach us about creation, the age of the earth, evolution, and intelligent design. Some views on origins reject modern science while others reject Christian theology, but there is a range of views that take both seriously. The Haarsmas summarize areas where Christians
agree, while sympathetically presenting the strengths and weaknesses of positions where Christians disagree.

-Immediately following this presentation there will be a follow-up discussion sponsored by CALL (Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning) in the mezzanine section of the auditorium. This discussion will be led by Rev. Scott Hoezee from Calvin Theological Seminary and is open to all.


Richard Norton Smith
"Lincoln at 200: The Measure of a President"
Underwritten by: Huntington Bank

Awarding-winning presidential historian and biographer, he is the former director of five presidential libraries, including the Gerald R. Ford Museum, and the author of many books. He is a regular face to viewers of C-SPAN , as well as The News Hour with Jim Lehrer , where he appears regularly as part of the show's round table of historians. In 2007 the ABC television network named him their presidential historian. He is currently a scholar in residence at George Mason University while he works on a biography of former New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller. Taking into account the start of a new presidency, Smith will meld Lincoln themes with what it takes to be a successful president.

* note: this presentation will not be archived on the web due to the presenter's wishes, recordings are available through our Campus Store

Helen Epstein
"The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS"
Underwritten by: Christian Reformed World Relief Committee

Writes frequently on public health for various publications, including The New York Review of Books and The New York Times Magazine . She has conducted extensive research on public health in developing countries for Human Rights Watch, the Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation and other organizations. She is a scientist, research scholar, consultant and writer having completed her doctorate at Cambridge University and post doctorate work at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of California, Davis. Her book, The Invisible Cure , has been referred to as “traveling into remote and hard-to-comprehend territory with an unblinking and sure-footed guide.” It's the product of more than a decade of research resulting in a book that the New York Times called “enlightening and troubling”.

Robert Rooy
"A Witness to Change: Profiling Microfinance and the Empowerment of Poor Families"
Underwritten by: Meijer, Inc.

Having worked as an assistant director on more than forty Hollywood productions, including Minority Report, Honeymoon in Vegas and the epic television series Lonesome Dove, Rooy now focuses his energy on creating media programs that engage and educate people about
important human issues. His company, Rooy Media LLC, has worked in more than twenty countries in partnership with such organizations as UNICEF, the Microcredit Summit Campaign, the Grameen Foundation and Rodale Institute. He is arguably one of the foremost chroniclers of microfinance, an innovative anti-poverty strategy that has helped millions of families escape poverty. To Our Credit, his seminal PBS documentary series featuring Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, introduced many Americans to this ground-breaking idea. It
was the first of a dozen programs he has produced on the subject and the first of several collaborations with Dr. Yunus. Rooy, a former president of Calvin Thespians, returns to his alma mater to share his journey of discovery, his belief in the power of people-centered development, and his commitment to using the powerful tool of film on behalf of the disenfranchised.

-On Thursday evening, January 15, there will be a showing of Rooy's film "To Our Credit: Bootstrap Banking and the World" which explores microcredit, an exciting new strategy to combat global poverty. Bytwerk Theatre, 8 p.m. followed
by Q&A.


Harold Dean Trulear
in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Beloved Community and Restorative Justice: Toward a Recovery of an Ethic of Restoration in the Churches' Response to Crime and Criminal Behavior"
Underwritten by: The Richard & Helen DeVos Foundation

Associate Professor of Applied Theology at Howard University School of Divinity and president of Globe Community Ministries in West Philadelphia, PA. His area of expertise is in social policy and religion and urban ministry. He is a fellow at The Center for Public Justice in Washington DC. His current work and passion is in the area of prisoner re-entry into society and the role of the church. This lecture will examine the restorative justice tradition of the Christian church and its relevance for persons returning from incarceration, their families, churches and communities.


Note: Prior to the Tuesday, January 20 January Series lecture, C-SPAN coverage of the Presidential Inauguration will be shown in the auditorium on the large screen. Come early (doors open at 11:30 a.m.) and watch this historical event during the "walk-in time" and stay for the presentation!

D. Michael Lindsay
"Powerful Faith: Evangelicals in American Culture"
Underwritten by: GMB Architects + Engineers

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Rice University. Faculty Associate of Leadership Rice and Assistant Director of the Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life. He is the author of two books, both with George Gallup, Jr., and has written many scholarly and popular essays. He has received numerous awards for his writing, teaching and speaking and writes a regular column for REV! magazine. His book, Faith in the Halls of Power , is based on personal interviews with over 300 prominent evangelical Americans including two former presidents, dozens of political and government leaders, more than 100 top business executives, plus Hollywood moguls, intellectuals, athletes, and other powerful individuals.


Christine Brennan
"From the Sidelines to the Locker Room"
Underwritten by: Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Sports columnist for USA Today , Brennan is the most widely read female sports journalist in the country. She is also an on-air commentator for ABC News and ESPN television, a radio commentator for NPR's Morning Edition , author of three books and is considered a leading voice on the Olympics, international sports, women's sports and other sport issues. She has won numerous media awards including induction into the Jim Murray Foundation Journalists' Hall of Fame. She gives a thoughtful and insightful look at the world of sports and will share her experiences of being a woman in a predominantly male field.

* note: this presentation will not be archived on the web due to contractual restrictions


David Kinnaman
"unChristian: How a New Generation Sees the Church and Why it Matters"
Underwritten by: Christian Reformed Home Missions

President and Strategic Leader of The Barna Group . As spokesperson for the firm's research, he is frequently quoted in major media outlets such as USA Today, Fox News, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal . He often speaks about ministry trends, today's teenagers, the profile of young leaders, and generational changes. He is the author of the best-selling book, unChristian in which he has compiled startling yet useful research for church leaders concerning how the unchurched view Christianity. Since joining Barna in 1995, David has designed and analyzed nearly 500 projects for a variety of clients, including Campus Crusade for Christ, Columbia House, Compassion International, Easter Seals, Focus on the Family, Prison Fellowship, Sony, World Vision, Zondervan and many others.

* note: this presentation will not be archived on the web due to contractual restrictions


Ayaan Hirsi Ali
"Refusing to be Silenced "
Underwritten by: Friends of the January Series

Named one of Time Magazine's “100 Most Influential People”, Ali is an award-winning humanitarian and courageous freedom fighter, standing as one of the most influential and outspoken political figures of our time having served as an elected member of Dutch Parliament for three years. She has been demonized by conservative Muslims worldwide, including her own clan and family, for speaking out against injustices done in the name of Islam. Determined to voice her views, Ali speaks about the importance of freedom of speech and the defense of the principles of the Enlightenment, the need to reform Islam, and the rights of Muslim women. She is author of the bestselling memoir, Infidel, and is currently a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She is working on a book to be published in 2009 which is a dialogue between western countries and Islam.

-Immediately following this presentation there will be a follow-up discussion sponsored by CALL (Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning) in the mezzanine section of the auditorium. This discussion will be led by Dr. Diane Obenchain from Calvin's Religion Department and is open to all.

* note: this presentation will not be archived on the web due to contractual restrictions


Xavier Davis Trio
"The Language of Jazz"
Underwritten by:
Israels Designs for Living

To many people, Jazz is something that is not very "listener-friendly." Often it may seem that the musicians are in their own world sharing secrets with the other musicians on stage. Even if people enjoy listening to Jazz, they still may not really understand what is going on. Xavier Davis, joined by bassist Brandon Owens and drummer E.J. Strickland to form the Xavier Davis Trio, will attempt to demystify Jazz. Attendees will leave with a greater appreciation for this American art form. This greater appreciation and understanding will hopefully lead to greater enjoyment when listening to this rich music.


Sharon Cohn Wu
"The Pursuit of Justice: Finding Courage Amidst the Chaos of Human Rights Abuses"
Underwritten by: Van Wyk Risk & Financial Management
Senior Vice President of Justice Operations for International Justice Mission, Ms. Wu oversees IJM’s operations in Africa, Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia, developing
intervention and investigation strategies and advocating with local and national authorities. Ms. Wu received a B.A. with Honors from University of Virginia, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum  laude. Prior to working at IJM, she was an associate with Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, representing private and governmental entities in litigation and international trade matters.  She regularly briefs government officials in the U.S. and abroad on various human rights issues and has provided interviews for The New York Times Magazine, CNN, FOX News, BBC World, “Dateline” and various other media outlets.

The January Series is held in the Calvin College Fine Arts Center.

Visitor Information

Parking & seating at the Fine Arts Center

Presentations begin at 12:30 PM (EST) and end promptly at 1:30 PM.

12:30 PM (EST)
11:30 AM (CST)
10:30 AM (MST)
9:30 AM (PST)

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