Bobette Buster

Storytelling and the Arc of Transformation

Wednesday, January 7
Underwritten by: John & Mary Loeks and the Center for Excellence in Preaching

Note: Due to contractual restrictions, this presentation was not recorded or archived.

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 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.

Learn more »


Dr. William Hurlbut

Chemicals to Consciousness: the Mystery of the Human Mind

Thursday, January 8
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. Learn more »


Bryan Stevenson

Why Mass Incarceration Defines Us as a Society

Friday, January 9
Underwritten by: Barnes & Thornburg, LLP

Note: Due to contractual restrictions, this presentation is not recorded or archived.

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 sentences 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 recently published his debut novel Just Mercy 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. Learn more »


Craig Detweiler

iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives

Monday, January 12
Underwritten by: Wedgwood Christian Services

Craig Detweiler is an author, filmmaker, theologian, and cultural commentator recently named the third president of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology.  Previously he was professor of Communication and creative director of the Institute for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University. He is the author of several books on technology and culture including iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives and most recently Selfies: Searching for the Image of God in a Digital Age.  Craig’s cultural commentary has been featured on ABC’s Nightline, CNN, Fox News, NPR, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Learn more »


Tova Friedman

Kinderlager: Reflections of a Child Holocaust Survivor

Tuesday, January 13
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. Friedman’s parents also survived and the family eventually immigrated to New York in 1950. Friedman went on to attend the City College of New York and to receive a masters of social work at Rutgers University. She has spent a great deal of her life working for the Jewish community. Friedman 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. Learn more »


Josh Linkner

The Road to Reinvention: Lessons from the Front Lines of Detroit’s Rebirth

Wednesday, January 14
Underwritten by: GMB Architects + Engineers and Miller Johnson

Venture capitalist, tech entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author of Disciplined Dreaming and The Road to Reinvention, and a top-rated innovation keynote speaker. As Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, he helps startups disrupt the old guard while helping to rebuild his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Josh is on a mission to drive innovation, creativity and reinvention in individual lives, businesses and cities. And he also plays a mean jazz guitar.

Learn more »


James Fishkin

When the People Speak: Deliberate Democracy

Thursday, January 15
Underwritten by: 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. Learn more »


Roxana Saberi

On the Streets of Tehran

Friday, January 16

Note: Due to contractual restrictions, the presentation is not recorded or archived.

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. Learn more »


Alyce Claerbaut

Billy Strayhorn: Beyond the Peaceful Side

Monday, January 19
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 1980s. 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 and 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 alumna 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 Strayhorn's life through those songs as his expression of who he was. Learn more »


Dr. David Katz

The Rational Un-fattening of America’s Families

Tuesday, January 20
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. Learn more »


Elizabeth Dias

Covering TIME

Wednesday, January 21
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. Learn more »


Admiral James Stavridis

A Navy Admiral’s Thoughts on Global Security

Thursday, January 22
Underwritten by: Meijer, Inc. and The Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation

Note: Due to contractual restrictions, the presentation is not recorded or archived.

From 2009 to 2013, Admiral James Stavridis led the NATO Alliance in global operations as Supreme Allied Commander; he was responsible for cyber security and counter piracy. Admiral Stavridis is a sought-after expert in geopolitics—particularly relations between the U.S. and China.

Learn more »


Larry Louters

Demonstrating the Wonders of Chemistry: Discovering God’s Majesty in the Minuscule

Friday, January 23
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 award and the 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” and 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. Learn more »


Paul Marshall

Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians

Monday, January 26
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. Learn more »


Jerry Sittser

Adversity and Spiritual Formation

Tuesday, January 27
Underwritten by: 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 some 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. Learn more »