Robert J. Hughes

Short Attention Span Culture

Thursday, January 3
Underwritten by: Rogers Department Store

High culture does indeed exist in the United States. There are those of us who choose Mozart over the Backstreet Boys and Bach over Brittney Spears, says Robert Hughes, arts columnist for the Wall Street Journal. While the mass media seems to focus almost exclusively on low-end pop-culture, Hughes questions if this other segment of the population-those that choose "The Marriage of Figaro" over "Oops, I Did it Again,"-- is begin dismissed by marketers. How do fine arts promoters, presenters and performers cope in an age of intellectual timidity on the part of the mass media? Hughes will focus his comments on the marketing of the arts: selling culture in a land of contradictions, to citizens who don't realize what they've got, in an age of short-attention spans.

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Jeremy Rifkin

The Bio-tech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World

Friday, January 4
Underwritten by: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of West Michigan

“The risks attendant to the Biotech Century are at least as ominous as the rewards are seductive,” writes Jeremy Rifkin in his 1998 bestseller The Biotech Century. Rifkin has been influential in shaping public policy by addressing the social, economic and ecological impact of scientific and technological changes. In his lecture, he will question whether the artificial creation of cloned animals means the end of nature and the substitution of a “bio-industrial” world. He will consider what it will mean to live in a world where babies are genetically engineered and customized in the womb. Rifkin will force each of us to put a mirror to our most deeply held values and ponder with him the ultimate question of the purpose and meaning of existence as we become engulfed in the biotech revolution.

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Charles Colson

Justice That Restores: How Christian Worldview Impacts the Justice System

Monday, January 7
Underwritten by: Spectrum Health - Butterworth Campus

Spending seven months at Alabama's Maxwell Prison for his involvement in the Watergate scandal changed Charles Colson's life. Since his incarceration more than 25 years ago, Colson has launched Prison Fellowship and built it into the world's largest prison outreach. His latest endeavor, the InnerChange Freedom Initiative, seeks to rehabilitate prisoners by bringing a biblical sense of justice to correction facilities in America. Colson recognizes that the American justice system is broken and he offers a better way. He believes that only a biblical understanding of human nature and God's redemptive role can produce justice. He presents his idea of restorative justice at a time when we, as Americans, are increasingly anxious to find the answer to the age-old question, "What is justice?"

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Fareed Zakaria

The Politics and Culture of the Global Economy

Tuesday, January 8
Underwritten by: Huntington Bank

To the popular mind - and most politicians - more democracy means more freedom. Not so, according to Fareed Zakaria, author of The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, which is described as “one of the most important books on global political trends to appear in the past decade.” Widely respected for his ability to spot economic and political trends around the world, Zakaria will shed light on the complex interaction between economics and politics, on America’s role in the world - particularly pertinent with allied forces attempting to bring freedom to Iraq by imposing democratic standards, and on the way in which democracy is changing every aspect of our lives - from economics and technology to politics and culture.

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John E Hare

Does Morality Need God?

Wednesday, January 9
Underwritten by: Peter and Pat Cook

To the popular mind - and most politicians - more democracy means more freedom. Not so, according to Fareed Zakaria, author of The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, which is described as “one of the most important books on global political trends to appear in the past decade.” Widely respected for his ability to spot economic and political trends around the world, Zakaria will shed light on the complex interaction between economics and politics, on America’s role in the world - particularly pertinent with allied forces attempting to bring freedom to Iraq by imposing democratic standards, and on the way in which democracy is changing every aspect of our lives - from economics and technology to politics and culture.

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Cantus - Vocal Ensemble

Lamentation and Exaltation

Thursday, January 10
Underwritten by: Friends of the January Series

Cantus, a choir of 12 male vocalists, was born in the fall of 1995 when a few college friends with a love of and passion for music decided to keep singing together after their days in their college male chorus ended. Now Cantus is a full-time, non-profit performing organization, Cantus’ repertory ranges from early music to folk songs and spirituals. They have been received enthusiastically at arts festivals, including the Newport Music Festival, and at the American Choral Directors Association conventions.

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N.T. (Tom) Wright

Freedom and Framework, Spirit and Truth: Recovering Biblical Worship

Friday, January 11
Underwritten by: Lawrence D Sr. & Dolores Bos

Nicholas Thomas Wright taught New Testament studies for 20 years at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities and served as the Bishop of Durham from 2003 until his retirement in 2010. He now serves as chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. Considered one of the world's leading Bible scholars, he has been featured on ABC News, The Colbert Report, Dateline, and Fresh Air.  Wright is the award-winning author of Simply Good News, Simply Jesus, Simply Christian, Surprised by Hope, How God Became King, Scripture and the Authority of God, Surprised by Scripture, and The Case for the Psalms, as well as the recent translation of the New Testament The Kingdom New Testament and the much heralded series Christian Origins and the Question of God. He has authored nearly 50 books including his most recent The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus's Crucifixion.

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Henry Louis Gates

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Enclopedia Africana

Monday, January 14
Underwritten by: Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey, P.L.C.

A 25-year old dream came to fruition in 1998 for Henry Louis Gates, Jr., when Encyclopedia Africana was released. This immense project includes the people, history and cultures of blacks throughout the world. He will speak about failed attempts made by W.E.B. Du Bois to put together a collection of this magnitude and ultimately his own success, which has drawn rave reviews. Gates work in African American studies is widely known and in 1997 he was recognized as one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Americans.” He currently serves as Chair of Afro-American Studies and Director of the Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Studies at Harvard, where his goal is to create “the greatest center of intellection concerning persons of African descent in both the Old World and the New World.”

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Marva Dawn

Corrupted Words Reclaimed

Tuesday, January 15
Underwritten by: Sandridge Bank, Schererville, IN

“Community” and “church”—most of us assume we know what these words mean, but do we really? Marva Dawn, noted theologian, author and Teaching Fellow at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C., contends that these words and others used in discussions of faith have lost their weight. Because of mishandling, misapplication and trivialization, some important words have lost their meaning. In this lecture, Dawn will redefine tainted words and renew the weight of lost words by recovering biblical insights and by prompting surprising turns away from cultural assumptions and conditionings. By comprehending the depth of words like “community” and “church,” we will be forced to review our perspective on some long-held beliefs.

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Jean Kilbourne

Slim Hopes: Advertising and the Obsession of Thinness

Wednesday, January 16
Underwritten by: Hospice of Michigan

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. She is the author of Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, paints a gripping portrait of how this barrage of advertising corrupts relationships and feeds an addictive mentality.

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James Peterson

Should We Change Our Genes?

Thursday, January 17
Underwritten by: Hospice of Michigan

While genes shape us powerfully, we can now, with the developing techniques of genetic intervention, increasingly shape our genes. But should we? James Peterson, associate professor of ethics at Wingate University in North Carolina, will consider the complexities of this controversial issue within a Christian context. He will contend that there are aspects of the physical world entrusted to us, including our genes, that could be better. As creative creatures made in God’s image, we are to carry on the God-given pattern of creation, fall, redemption. For Peterson this includes sustaining the bodies entrusted to us, restoring them when damaged and improving them when we can while remembering that the lasting import of our physical bodies will not be in what they become but in what kind of persons we become living and working through them.

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Marilynne Robinson

The Authority of Narrative

Friday, January 18
Underwritten by: J.C. Huizenga

Narrative is itself a powerful language of meaning. It differs from ordinary language as song differs from sound. From her perspective as a writer and teacher of writers, Marilynne Robinson, professor of creative writing at the University of Iowa and author of the acclaimed novel Housekeeping and a collection of essays entitled The Death of Adam, will reflect on the power of narrative to embody meaning which is at the same time complex conceptually and freighted emotionally. At its best, Robinson claims, narrative integrates modes of experience, which in discursive language are often expressed without human context, therefore inadequately. In all narrative humankind is entirely central, she asserts, and both fiction and Scripture would be read much more fruitfully if narrative were granted its value.

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John Leo

Is America Crazy?

Monday, January 21
Underwritten by: Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett LLP

As evidenced by the acceptance of amazing vulgarity featured on reality TV shows like Fear Factor or punishing small children for teasing under harassment laws or expelling students for pointing a finger at a teacher in a gun-wielding manner, it is obvious that something has gone awry in our culture. Popular columnist and contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report, John Leo will speak on the flight from traditional morality, restraint and common sense to an anything-goes philosophy. Leo’s column “On Society” reflects regularly on the “continuing campaign to make the culture even more deranged.” This humorous yet insightful look at our culture will leave you wondering how our society has gotten so off course and what we can do to straighten it out.

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Andrew Manze

Andrew Manze in Concert

Tuesday, January 22
Underwritten by: Charles W. Loosemore Foundation

Referred to as “the first modern superstar of the baroque violin, playing with extraordinary flair and improvisatory freedom,” Andrew Manze commands the respect of musicians and critics from around the world. His performances of violin repertoire from 1610 to 1830 have enthralled audiences in more than 30 countries. Manze’s credits include many award-winning recordings. At Calvin he performs with harpsichordist Richard Egarr. He too has earned a reputation as a premier artist. Among the works they will perform is Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue” reconstructed by Manze from the famous D minor organ work, Uccellini’s “Sonata over Toccata no. 5 and Corelli’s “Sonata ‘da chiesa’” and “Follia.” This exciting duo, who complement each other to perfection, is sure to delight the senses of both the young and old.

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Hanan Ashrawi

The Palestinian Question and New Global Realities

Wednesday, January 23
Underwritten by: John and Mary Loeks

Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian legislator and human rights activist, who was inspired as a child by the nationalist contributions made by her father, Daoud. A religious Christian, Daoud, always believed that women are capable of playing an active role in politics. This belief was instilled in Hanan from a tender age, motivating her to join the 'General Union of Palestinian Students', in Lebanon, when she was just twenty. Passionate about the cause of Palestinian independence, Ashrawi led the 'Intifada Political Committee' till 1993, when her homeland finally gained its freedom. Since then she has been involved in the politics of Palestine, as a member of the 'Third Way Party'.

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