Mary Hulst

Why Millennials Are the Hope of the Church

Wednesday, January 3
Underwritten by: Jeff & Shirley Hoogstra

Mary Hulst has served as the Calvin College Chaplain since 2009 where she integrates her love for scripture with her love for college students. She preaches for students weekly on Sunday evenings at the Calvin LOFT services (Living Our Faith Together). Known as “Pastor Mary” on campus, she loves to meet with any student to talk about life, faith, or anything else. When her schedule allows, Dr. Hulst also lectures around the country on preaching, teaches workshops for preachers, and consults with churches and search committees on how to listen to sermons.

Files for January Series 2018 talk: Questions for Faith Stories (PDF | DOCX)

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David R. Williams

Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick?

Thursday, January 4
Underwritten by: John & Mary Loeks

David Williams is the Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His research has helped us understand the ways in which race, racism, socioeconomic status, stress, health behaviors, and religious involvement can affect physical and mental health. In 2014, Thomas Reuters ranked Williams as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.

January Series Presentation Slides

Organizations referenced in Dr. Williams' talk:

Purpose Build Communities
U.S. Dream Academy

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Randy Lewis

No Greatness without Goodness: How a Father’s Love Changed a Company and Sparked a Movement

Friday, January 5
Underwritten by: Bruce & Mary Okkema and the Calvin Center for Innovation in Business

Randy Lewis bet his career that he could create an inclusive workplace at one of America’s biggest corporations where people with disabilities could not just succeed, but thrive. No Greatness without Goodness is the story of a corporate executive who, after watching the world through the eyes of his own child with autism, realized that we all have a greater responsibility to make the world a better place for everyone, including those with disabilities.  As the Senior Vice President of Walgreens, Randy created thousands of full-time jobs for people with disabilities and has created a model to follow for other employers in the United States and around the world.  He gives a firsthand account of what it takes to lead with courage in order to change people’s lives for the better.

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Shane Claiborne

Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why it’s Killing Us

Monday, January 8
Underwritten by: The Center for Excellence in Preaching

Shane Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist, and best-selling author who worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta and founded The Simple Way, a faith community in inner-city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world.  He heads up Red Letter Christians, a movement of folks who are committed to living "as if Jesus meant the things he said." Shane is a champion for grace, which has led him to jail advocating for the homeless, and to places like Iraq and Afghanistan to stand against war. And now grace fuels his passion to end the death penalty. 

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Pashon Murray

Detroit Dirt: Zero Waste from the Ground Up

Tuesday, January 9
Underwritten by: Grand Rapids Christian School Foundation

Pashon Murray has an unrelenting drive for waste reduction, recycling, and reuse of materials. She is helping to change the carbon footprint of Detroit through revitalizing neighborhoods, finding solutions for everyday waste, and eliminating trips to the landfill. In 2010 Murray co-founded Detroit Dirt, a local composting and biomass collection company that specializes in providing compost and biomass solutions for the metro Detroit community. In May of 2014, Newsweek named Murray as one of its “13 Women in Business to Bet On” and in 2015 she was invited to present her innovative business plan at the White House.

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John Inazu

Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving through Deep Differences

Wednesday, January 10
Underwritten by: Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics

John Inazu is the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion at Washington University in St. Louis and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He teaches courses in criminal law, the First Amendment, and religion and law. His scholarship focuses on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion, and related issues of political and legal theory. John’s book, Confident Pluralism, argues that we can and must live together peaceably in spite of deep and sometimes irresolvable differences over politics, religion, sexuality, and other important matters.

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Laura Sumner Truax

Love Let Go: Radical Generosity for the Real World

Thursday, January 11
Underwritten by: Holland Home and I.C.N. Foundation

Rev. Laura Sumner Truax is the senior pastor of LaSalle Street Church, a non-denominational church in downtown Chicago.  She holds degrees in divinity, pastoral studies, and spirituality from Loyola University Divinity School and is currently working toward her Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.  She also serves as a teaching pastor for World Vision and for the University of Chicago Divinity School and is the author of two books.  In Love Let Go she shares how her church community was transformed by the startling truth that money can buy happiness – when you give it away – and explores the connection of human flourishing to generosity.

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Caroline Webb

How to Have a Good Day: Using Behavioral Science to Improve Everyday Life

Friday, January 12
Underwritten by: Calvin Center for Innovation in Business

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

Caroline Webb is a management consultant, economist and renowned leadership coach who has worked with hundreds of organizations to help their employees be more productive, energized, and successful – first as a partner at McKinsey, where she continues to serve as a Senior Advisor, and now as CEO of her own firm, Sevenshift.  She specializes in showing people how to transform their life and work for the better by applying insights from the behavioral sciences: behavioral economics, psychology and neuroscience.  Her book on that topic, How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life has been hailed as one of the “top must-read business books of 2016.”

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Beverly Daniel Tatum

Why Are All the Black Kids Still Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations on Race

Monday, January 15
Underwritten by: Miller Johnson

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum is a psychologist, administrator, and educator who has conducted research and written books on the topic of race, focusing specifically on race in education, racial identity development in teenagers, and assimilation of black families and youth in white neighborhoods. Tatum served from 2002 to 2015 as the ninth president of Spelman College, the oldest historically black women’s college in the United States.  Tatum’s important book Why Do All the Black Kids Sit Together in the Cafeteria is being re-released for its 20th anniversary this fall.

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Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Tuesday, January 16
Underwritten by: Friends of the January Series

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

Katherine Boo is a staff writer at The New Yorker and Pulitzer Prize winner for her reporting from disadvantaged communities in the United States and abroad. She has spent the last decade between the United States and India where she wrote her first book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Boo gives a voice to those without one, telling the stories of the poor and disadvantaged on the pages of our most esteemed publications.

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Kevin Olusola

Kevin Olusola in Concert & Conversation

Wednesday, January 17
Underwritten by: GMB Architects + Engineers

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

When it comes to breaking boundaries in the world of music, Kevin “K.O.” Olusola is no stranger.  He has re-imagined the cello, mashing together cello and the urban art of beatboxing into a new musical genre called cello-boxing.  It’s the sound of the concert hall meeting the street.  Kevin is best known as the beat boxing member of the Grammy-winning vocal quintet Pentatonix and together they’ve released 5 albums, each landing in the top 15 of Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart. Kevin has shared the stage with David Crowder, Gungor, and Quincy Jones and in 2015 he released his first solo album, The Renegade EP.

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Jeremy McCarter

Hamilton, Hope and Change

Thursday, January 18
Underwritten by: Samaritas

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

Jeremy McCarter is a writer, director, and producer.  He is the co-author of Hamilton: the Revolution with Lin-Manuel Miranda and will share the story of the Broadway show Hamilton’s journey from concept to cultural phenomenon as witnessed by someone who has been in all of the rooms where it happened – even the White House.  McCarter spent five years on the artistic staff of the Public Theater in New York, where he created and ran the Public Forum series of performances and conversations.  It brought together America’s leading actors, activists, writers, scholars, musicians, and community leaders to explore the intersection of arts and society. 

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R. David Edelman

Cybersecurity & Geopolitics

Friday, January 19
Underwritten by: Barnes & Thornburg, LLP

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

R. David Edelman is the director of the Project on Technology, Economy, & National Security, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, students, and policymakers assigned to address the challenges created by technological disruption at MIT. As the former technology advisor to the president during the Obama Administration, Edelman spent a decade as one of the government’s foremost voices on how technology is changing our economy, national security, and daily lives.  He has been named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” leaders in Law & Policy and chosen as a “30 Under 30 All-Star Alumni” for his ongoing contributions to national policy.

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Kevin Palau

Unlikely: Exploring Partnership between Churches and Cities

Monday, January 22
Underwritten by: Holland Litho Printing Services

Kevin Palau, son of international evangelist Luis Palau, joined the family business in 1985 and began directing the day-to-day operation of the ministry in the late 1990s. Under his leadership, the Luis Palau Association has produced some of the largest Christian events ever staged, created a worldwide network of hundreds of partner evangelists, and developed new models for citywide outreach that integrate major community service initiatives with open-air evangelistic gatherings.  Kevin is also the founding editor of, a place for leaders to connect and share ideas on how to transform their cities by meeting needs and sharing the love of Jesus Christ. 

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John Swinton

Still Waters Run Deep: Reimagining Dementia and Humanness

Tuesday, January 23
Underwritten by: The Stob Lecture Series and the Peter C. & Emajean Cook Foundation

John Swinton is a Scottish theologian and former psychiatric nurse. He is professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen. He is also founder of the university's Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability.  John is a major figure in the development of disability theology. In 2016, he was awarded the Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing for his book Dementia: Living in the Memories of God.  In 2017, his most recent book Becoming Friends of Time: Time, Disability and the Art of Gentle Discipleship won the award of merit for theology and ethics in the Christianity Today book awards.

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