January Series 2015

You are invited to the Calvin College January Series beginning January 7, 2015 and continuing weekdays through January 27 right here at Fellowship Church. Each lecture will be shown via a “live feed” from Calvin College from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Our church is one of 40+ remote webcast sites across the continent. For information about the speakers and topics, visit the January Series website at www.calvin.edu/january/2015 . Don’t miss out on this chance to hear fabulous lectures and experience a piece of Calvin College right here in Big Rapids.

Presentations begin 12:30 p.m. EST

Click for more information about the speaker or to listen via streaming audio.

Wednesday,January 7

Bobette Buster
“Storytelling and the Arc of Transformation”

Underwritten by John & Mary Loeks and the Center for Excellence in Preaching

Bobette Buster is a story consultant, lecturer, adjunct professor at USC Film School and screenwriter who works with major studios, including Disney and Pixar, and in top film programs all over the world. In each of the last 15 years, films from her students ranked in the Top 10 box-office worldwide, and have won all the major awards. She is the author of DO STORY: How To Tell Your Story So The World Listens. She suggests, if the 20th Century is dubbed the Industrial Age, the 21st Century be dubbed the Age of Story. From the advent of blogging to the continued popularity of feature films, we’ve become a society that runs on narrative. Using film clips from scores of beloved movies, this “story expert” will explain how storytelling actually works.

Thursday,January 8

Dr. William Hurlbut
“Chemicals to Consciousness: the Mystery of the Human Mind”

Underwritten by I.C.N. Foundation

Dr. Hurlbut is a physician and consulting professor at the Neuroscience Institute of Stanford University Medical Center. After receiving his undergraduate and medical training at Stanford, he completed postdoctoral studes in theology and medical ethics at Stanford and the Institut Catholique de Paris. In addition to teaching, he served for eight years on the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics. He has also worked with NASA on projects in astrobiology and since 1998 has been a member of the Chemical and Biological Warfare working group at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation. He will share with us the beauty and mystery of the human brain from a faith perspective.

Friday,January 9

Bryan Stevenson
“Why Mass Incarceration Defines Us as a Society”

Underwritten by Barnes & Thornburg, LLP

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a law practice in Alabama dedicated to defending some of America’s most rejected and marginalized people. His efforts have reversed death penalties for dozens of condemned prisoners. He discusses the explosive rise in inmate populations, the disproportionate use of the death penalty against people of color and the use of life senteces against minors as part of a continuum running through the South’s ugly history of racial inequality, from slavery to Jim Crow to lynching. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called Stevenson “America’s young Nelson Mandela.” He has recently published his debut novel Just Mercy, available in Fall 2014. He is the winner of a number of awards including the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in social justice. This past year his work on behalf of incarcerated minors thrust him into the spotlight. Using scientific and criminological data, he has argued for a new understanding of adolescents and culpability. His efforts led to a Supreme Court ruling effectively barring mandatory life sentences without parole for minors. As a result, approximately 2,000 such cases in the United States may be reviewed.

Monday,January 12

Craig Detweiler
“iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives”

Underwritten by Wedgwood Christian Services

We wake up to our iPhones and sign off to Facebook. In between, we’re texting, downloading, and streaming—inundated with information from Google, Hulu and iTunes. How do we filter all our media to discern what matters? Craig Detweiler, who has his PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary, is a professor of communication and director of the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture at Pepperdine University where they are asking these kinds of questions. He is also an author, award-winning filmmaker, and cultural commentator who has been featured on CNN, NPR, and in the New York Times. In his book “iGods” he interacts with major symbols of our distracted age – like Apple, Amazon, YouTube and Twitter – to investigate the impact of the technologies and cultural phenomena that drives us.

Tuesday,January 13

Tova Friedman
“Kinderlager: Reflections of a Child Holocaust Survivor”

Underwritten by Ringnalda Insurance Agency

The number reads A27633 and it’s been tattooed on her forearm for over 70 years. Tova Friedman is one of the youngest known survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp. She entered the camp with her mother and father at the age of 5 and despite being led into the gas chambers she miraculously survived. She was one of the 7,000 prisoners found alive during the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet army in January 1945 – this January marks the 70th anniversary of their liberation. She and two other women among the children liberated were interviewed by Holland, Michigan author Milton Nieuwsma for the 1998 book “Kinderlager: An Oral History of Young Holocaust Survivors” which was made into a PBS documentary in 2005. Tova’s parents also both survived and the family eventually immigrated to New York in 1950. She went on to attend the City College of New York and to receive a masters of social work at Rutgers University. Friedman has spent a great deal of her life working for the Jewish community. She lived in Israel from 1967 to 1977 with her husband and four children, and she taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is the retired director of Jewish Family Service for Somerset County in New Jersey.

Wednesday,January 14

Detroit visionary replaces Chicago mayor in January Series lineupCalvin College is excited to announce a new edition to its impressive 2015 January Series lineup. Josh Linkner, the CEO of Detroit Venture Partners, will be speaking on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, at the college’s award-winning lecture series.

Linkner, a New York Times bestselling author who has been named “Detroit Executive of the Year, the region’s “CEO of the Year” and “Michiganian of the Year,” is a driving force in Detroit’s comeback. Linkner is helping to rebuild his hometown of Detroit by backing passionate entrepreneurs who can make an impact through their own innovative ideas. His talk on Wednesday, aims to energize audiences with the power of possibility. It’s also a cautionary tale of how Detroit, once a birthplace of innovation and a vibrant city, succumbed to the evil forces of protectionism, blame and bureaucracy.

“Josh loves the city of Detroit and is committed to helping that city reinvent itself,” said Kristi Potter, director of The January Series. “And that idea that we need to constantly reinvent ourselves is something that we can learn from and apply to our cities, to our businesses and to our individual lives.”


Thursday,January 15

James Fishkin
“When the People Speak: Deliberate Democracy”

In Partnership with the Calvin Center for Social Research

James Fishkin holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University where he is professor of Communication and professor of Political Science. He is also director of Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy and chair of the Department of Communication. He is the author of a number of books and is best known for developing Deliberative Polling, a practice of public consultation that employs random samples of the citizenry to explore how opinions would change if they were more informed. Professor Fishkin and his collaborators have conducted Deliberative Polls in the US, Britain, Australia, Denmark, Bulgaria, China, Greece and other countries as well as in locations across the United States.

Friday,January 16

Roxana Saberi
“On the Streets of Tehran”

Underwritten by Van Wyk Risk Solutions

An Iranian-American journalist, author and human rights advocate, Roxana Saberi moved to Iran in 2003 to work as the Iran correspondent for the U.S.-based Feature Story News. She filed reports for organizations such as NPR, BBC, ABC Radio and Fox News and was working on a book about Iran when she was arrested on January 31, 2009. Saberi was sentenced to eight years in Evin Prison on a trumped-up charge of espionage. In May 2009, following an international uproar, an Iranian court overturned the sentence and she was released. After returning to the United States, Saberi wrote Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran. She has spoken across the United States and has traveled to Europe, South America, and the Middle East to speak with the public, media, and government officials about Iran, human rights, and overcoming adversity.

Monday,January 19

Alyce Claerbaut
“Billy Strayhorn: Beyond the Peaceful Side”

Underwritten by Friends of the January Series

As a jazz advocate and promoter, Alyce Claerbaut served as the president of the Northeastern Illinois University Jazz Society and was co-founder of the Skokie Valley Jazz Ensemble in the 1980’s. She has been involved in the arts scene primarily in Chicago with membership on grants panels for the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and as a panel member for the Illinois Arts Council. She served the Chicago Jazz Orchestra from 2003-2010, two years as Director of Public Relations and five years as Executive Director. Ms. Claerbaut’s formal music training includes concentration in applied voice. She has sung professionally in many types of settings – jazz, classical, art song, popular song, with a specialty in choral repertoire. She is the niece of the famed Billy Strayhorn, contemporary to Duke Ellington, and is currently the president of Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc., a family-owned music publishing company. In this role she interacts with music publishers, producers and educators, particularly in jazz. Ms. Claerbaut is a Calvin alum and was instrumental in helping to bring Duke Ellington to perform in the Calvin Fieldhouse in 1967. Billy Strayhorn’s only solo recording during the Ellington years was a record called “The Peaceful Side” which features him on the piano playing the titles that he considered his favorites. Calvin welcomes Ms. Claerbaut back to campus as she helps us explore his life through those songs as his expression of who he was.

Tuesday,January 20

Dr. David Katz
“The Rational Un-fattening of America’s Families”

Underwritten by Holland Home

Director and co-founder of the Yale Prevention Research Center, Dr. Katz is recognized as one of America’s top physicians in preventative medicine by the Consumers’ Research Council of America and is the recipient of many awards for his contributions to public health and medical education. He is a prominent voice in health and medicine in the media, serving as ABC News’ medical consultant. He speaks routinely at conferences and meetings throughout the US and around the world. He is a recognized thought leader in nutrition, chronic disease prevention/health promotion, weight management, and integrative medicine. He is the principal inventor of the Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI) used in the NuVal Nutritional guidance System. As an expert health consultant, Dr. Katz addresses the challenges in our “obesigenic” environment, and describes the blend of public politics and personal empowerment needed to take us toward a healthier future.

Wednesday,January 21

Elizabeth Dias
“Covering TIME”

Underwritten by Holland Litho Printing Services

A graduate of Wheaton College and Princeton Theological Seminary, where she received her master of divinity degree, Ms. Dias is a correspondent for TIME Magazine covering religion and politics. She has written cover stories on Pope Francis, Trayvon Martin, and American Christianity, including The Latino Reformation and Barbara Brown Taylor. She will share with us what is involved in being a correspondent for a major news magazine, what it is like covering Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama, how politics affect religious stories, and what she anticipates will be the future stories.

Thursday,January 22

Adm. James Stavridis
“A Navy Admiral’s Thoughts on Global Security”

Underwritten by Meijer, Inc. and The Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation

James Stavridis recently accepted the role as dean of The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University. A retired Admiral in the U.S. Navy, he led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander. He also served as Commander of U.S. Southern Command, with responsibility for all military operations in Latin America from 2006-2009. A Fletcher PhD, he won the Gullion prize as outstanding student and has published five books and over a hundred articles. His focus is on innovation, strategic communication and planning, and creating security through international, interagency, and public/private partnerships in this turbulent 21st century. He sees dialogue and collaboration, between nations, and between public and private sectors, as key to the future of security. As a Navy officer, he thinks deeply about protecting the value of our “global commons.” And he’s a rare high-ranking military officer who tweets, blogs and accepts friends on Facebook.

Friday,January 23

Larry Louters
“Demonstrating the Wonders of Chemistry:  Discovering God’s Majesty in the Minuscule”

Underwritten by Jeff & Shirley Hoogstra

Professor Louters is one of Calvin’s most-beloved professors, becoming one of four Calvin profs to be listed in The Princeton Review’s Top 300 Professors and earning both the college’s Professor of the Year and Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching.  To Calvin students he’s known as a caring teacher and a wonderful research mentor, leading research projects relevant to diabetes and cancer with up to five students each summer. He has initiated and continues to direct summer Chemistry Camps for middle school students and local fifth graders who visit his annual spring “Chem Demos Program” know him as the crazy science guy who blows things up and makes test tubes glow in the dark.  Prof. Louters will use chemical demonstrations to illustrate the wonders of chemistry and share how his passion for his work has strengthened his faith through the years.

Monday,January 26

Paul Marshall
“Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians”

Underwritten by The Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning and The Christian Reformed Church in North America

Paul Marshall is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom in Washington DC, a distinguished senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of Religion at Baylor University, a senior fellow at the Leimena Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia, and is a visiting professor at the graduate school of the State Islamic University, also in Jakarta. He is the author and editor of over twenty books on religion and politics, especially religious freedom. According to the Pew Research Center, Newsweek, and the Economist, among others, Christians are the world’s most widely persecuted religious group and yet many Westerners are unaware that so many followers of Christ live under governments and among people who are often openly hostile to their faith. They think martyrdom became a rarity long ago. Dr. Marshall will offer a glimpse at the modern-day life of Christians worldwide and provide insight on this global pattern of increasing violence.

Tuesday,January 27

Jerry Sittser
“Adversity and Spiritual Formation”

Underwritten by The Richard & Helen DeVos Foundation and I.C.N. Foundation

Chair of the theology department at Whitworth College, Jerry Sittser is the author of several books including A Grace Disguised, A Grace Revealed, The Will of God as a Way of Life, and Water from a Deep Well. He holds a master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and a doctorate in history from the University of Chicago. During his presentation he will weave in a little of his own personal story of loss as he focuses on how adversity in general and suffering in particular can be formative in the Christian life.