August 19, 2003
Fackler Named Calvin Lecturer
Mark Fackler has been named the Calvin Lecturer for 2003-2004. The post is co-sponsored by Calvin and the Christian Reformed Church's Campus Ministries effort. As the Calvin Lecturer, Fackler will visit four to six North American campuses (with at least one in Canada) that have a CRC Campus Minister.
There he will deliver one public lecture with broad appeal, meet with smaller groups of students and faculty and lead a seminar for Campus Ministry staff. And during Interim (in January) Fackler plans to speak at universities outside North America.
A professor of communication arts and sciences, Fackler has a whole raft of topics that he hopes to address in 2003-2004, but most are linked by their connections to media.
For example, one area of interest for Fackler is the continent of Africa, a place he has visited several times for extended stays as part of sabbatical projects. Africa, he says, has been described as a continent in chaos. HIV finds more victims there than anywhere else, government corruption is legendary and tribalism resists modernity. Poverty, food supply, ecological indifference, illiteracy and the danger of public dissent round out a short roster of problems facing the 54 nations below the Sahara. Is there a role for responsible media and publicly minded journalism in Africa he asks. And could a revival of public media there sharpen our own North American media?
Fackler also is intrigued by the internet. He notes that every medium in the public marketplace, save one, has linked freedom with responsibility to find reasonable balance between social values, customs and a person's right to think and learn freely. The one which defies this pattern, he says, is the internet.
A member of the Calvin communication arts and sciences department since 1998, Fackler also also has assisted in the production of Bible products for all ages, including work on the Life Application Bible Commentary and The Quest Study Bible as well as Max Lucado’s The Inspiration Study Bible and Tyndale House's The Family Resource Bible. So, one area he hopes to also cover next year in his talks on college campuses is Biblical literacy. He also uses the New Testament book of Philippians to look at the differences between work for hire and work for God and the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes to examine "post-modern angst in the pre-modern world."
Fackler has written books on such topics as media ethics, popular religious magazines and social ethics and the press. He is on the editorial advisory boards of both Christian History magazine and the Journal of Mass Media Ethics.