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  • March 31, 2017–April 1, 2017
  • Meeter Center Lecture Hall

During each of our five workshop times, one option is attending a presentation of academic papers selected for the festival. The full list of FFM 2017 Academic Panels is below. Each panel will be held in the Meeter Center Lecture Hall.

Panel One: Hip Hop - Friday 2:45 P.M.

Benjamin Goff: “The Gospel According to Kanye”

Benjamin Goff is the Editor-in-Chief of the online publication The Stone, focusing on American film culture and the history and cultural implications of Hip Hop culture. His pieces have been syndicated in The Odyssey Online, Film Party, and others. Benjamin works at Magnolia Pictures where he was a part of the marketing team for the recently Oscar-nominated film I Am Not Your Negro. He is also a part of the Film Curation team at the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. Benjamin is a graduate of Baylor University in Waco, TX.

Joshua Heavin: “I’m Past Patiently Waiting” (Hamilton)

Joshua Heavin is a PhD student in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen, Trinity College Bristol. He graduated from Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas in May of 2016, and is currently writing a dissertation on Participation with Christ in the Pauline Epistles. Over the last decade Joshua has worked for several churches and a banking software company in Texas, and is a licentiate of the North Texas Presbytery (PCA).

Panel Two: Literary Connections - Friday - 4:15 P.M.

Damian J Ference: “Flannery O’Connor: The Muse of Musicians”

Father Damian Ference is a priest of the diocese of Cleveland.  He serves at Borromeo Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio as Director of Human Formation and Assistant Professor of Philosophy. In addition to writing for Word on Fire, Father Ference has published articles in a wide variety of periodicals, including America, Catholic Universe Bulletin, Commonweal, Dappled Things, Emmanuel,, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Human Development, Pastoral Life, Seminary Journal, The Plain Dealer, The Priest, U.S. Catholic and Worship.  Ference also regularly preaches retreats and parish missions.  He is the founder and director of {TOLLE LEGE} Summer Institute and is a lifetime member of the Flannery O’Connor Society.

Dianna Anderson: “Who is Capital H.I.M.?”

Dianna Anderson is the author of two books: Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity (Jericho, 2015) and Problematic (forthcoming from Potomac Press, 2018). She has an MA in English Literature from Baylor (’10) and an MSt in Women’s Studies from Oxford University (’16). She lives in St. Paul, MN, and works as a staff writer for the website ShareBlue.

Panel Three: The Experience of Music - Saturday, 11 A.M.

David Fuentes: “This is Your Heart on Music”

David Fuentes is Professor of Composition and Theory at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he composes concert and liturgical music for chamber ensembles, solo instruments, orchestra, and chorus.He also writes music for theater, musical theater, film, television, dance, and integrative collaborations with visual artists, here and abroad. Fuentes has been invited to lecture on contemporary composers, film music, music vocation, and the place of music in human flourishing. He is currently working on This is Your Heart on Music, a book which explores ways to make everyday music listening more devotional—inviting the Spirit to challenge and encourage us through the songs we love most.

Micah van Dijk: “Why are We in a Band?”

Micah van Dijk obtained a Master’s of Popular Music Studies (Music Industries Focus) from the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2014.  He researched the motivations musicians have towards live performance. Building on the work of Dr. Al Wolters (Creation Regained) and Andy Crouch (Culture Making), Micah speaks to youth and young adults, teaching discernment skills and providing space to practice critical thinking towards popular music.   Micah also DJ’s, manages a band, writes music reviews for magazines, and organizes music events at Redeemer University College, where he is the part-time First Year Experience Coordinator. (

Panel Four: Cultural History - Saturday, 2 P.M.

David Nantais: “Rock Pulpit”

David Nantais is the director of mission and community benefit at St. Mary Mercy hospital in Livonia, MI, and adjunct professor of philosophy and religious studies at University of Detroit Mercy.  Nantais earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from University of Detroit Mercy, a Masters in the subject from Iowa State University, a Masters in Philosophy with a concentration in Health Care Ethics from Loyola University Chicago, and a Masters in Theological Studies from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  He has published a number of articles focused on the intersection of popular culture and spirituality, and his first book, Rock-a My Soul: An Invitation to Rock Your Religion was published by Liturgical Press in 2011.  Nantais lives in the city of Detroit with his wife, Carrie and two sons, Liam and Theo.  He is an avid drummer and has played in rock bands for over twenty-five years.

Micah Clark: “Scoring Sermons of Horror”

Micah Clark graduated from Wheaton College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music in Composition. While at Wheaton, he won the Presidential Scholarship in Music, Composition Competition Prize, the Josephine Halvorsen Composition Prize, the Chamber Music Competition, Best Original Score at the Wheaton College Film Festival, and was inducted into the Wheaton College Honor Society. He received a scholarship to pursue a Masters in Music Composition at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he studied with Roger Redgate. While there, he co-founded the Goldsmiths Improvising Composers Ensemble and co-taught a student lecture series on current issues and subjects in New Music. He graduated with merit in 2012. Since then, Micah has enjoyed a wide range of jobs in music education, church music, sales, and advertising. Remaining active as a composer in the Chicago area, he also enjoys reading, writing, film, cooking, and the great outdoors.

Panel Five: Folk - Saturday, 4 P.M.

Justin Stover: “Freak-folk Flag Fly: Harry Smith”

Justin Stover is a freelance journalist, podcaster, and folk-music enthusiast. His writings have appeared in Pitchfork, Relevant Magazine, REVUE, and various other publications across the country. He has presented papers at various conferences, including Calvin Festival of Faith & Music. Justin currently and actively maintains the blod and podcast Blue Collar Songwriting at

Ben Dixon: “The Theology of Bob Dylan”

Ben Dixon is an MDiv student at Princeton Theological Seminary. His previous publications include an essay in Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought and a Kale and Caramelized Onion Pizza recipe in Vegetarian Times. He is a music lover and amateur theologian.

Joseph Novak: “I Will Hang My Head Low” (The Decemberists)

The Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Novak is currently the Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Flint, Michigan. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Novak holds degrees from Cornerstone University (B.S.), and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div., Ph.D. in Theology). His doctoral work was in the area of Liturgical Studies and his dissertation focused on the Reformed Liturgical Tradition. While writing his dissertation, he was a Visiting Scholar at Calvin College through the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He is a long-time fan of The Decemberists as well as of coffee, science-fiction, and playing outside with his three children. Novak and his wife, Katie, and their family reside in the Greater Flint area.

Location details

From the CFAC West entrance, cross the parking lot towards the Hekman library. Go up the stairs to your left and you’ll be in the library lobby. The Meeter Center is on the South side of the library lobby.

March 2017
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