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2019-2020 Speaker Series Event Schedule

August 28: Frederica Mathewes-Green

Frederica Mathewes-Green has published 10 books and over 700 essays, in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service,, and Christianity Today, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. She was also a consultant for Veggie Tales. She has appeared as a speaker over 500 times, including at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Wellesley, Cornell, Calvin, Baylor, and Westmont. She has been interviewed over 700 times, in venues including PrimeTime Live, NPR, PBS, Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, Tennessee.

August 28 (Wednesday), 9.15am (King Memorial Chapel): A Golden Bell and a Pomegranate

August 28 (Wednesday), 7.00pm (Central Presbyterian Church): The Story of Icons: Prayer and Practice

September 16: Farr Curlin, The King Institute Medical Lecture

Farr A. Curlin, MD, is Josiah C. Trent Professor of Medical Humanities in the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities and History of Medicine at Duke University; Co-Director of the Theology, Medicine and Culture Initiative at Duke Divinity School; and Director of the Arete Initiative in Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. Previously, he founded and was Co-Director of the Program on Medicine and Religion at the University of Chicago. At Duke, Dr. Curlin practices hospice and palliative medicine, and he works with colleagues across the university to develop opportunities for education and scholarship at the intersection of theology, medicine and culture. He has authored more than one hundred and thirty articles and book chapters dealing with the moral and spiritual dimensions of medical practice.

Monday, September 16, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel) Medicine and the Christian Art of (Suffering and) Dying

Monday, September 16, 7:00 (Bristol Regional Medical Center) The Way of Medicine: A Profession to Heal

September 30: Karen Wright Marsh

Karen Wright Marsh is the author of Vintage Saints and Sinners, a compendium of 25 saints which, as Steve Garber says, “makes these saints out be sinners like us, people who long for honest faith, for honest hope, for honest love.” Holding degrees in philosophy from Wheaton College and linguistics from the University of Virginia, she serves as the executive director and cofounder of Theological Horizons, a ministry that advances theological scholarship at the intersection of faith, thought, and life. Centered at the Bonhoeffer House near the University of Virginia, Theological Horizons serves believers and seekers alike. Karen’s husband, Charles Marsh, was part of the King Institute program in 2017-2018.

Monday, September 30, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel): Unexpected Saints: C.S. Lewis, Sophie Scholl, and Juana Inés de la Cruz

Monday, September 30, 7:00 (Emmanuel Episcopal Church): Alive to Life: Howard Thurman’s Vision of the Authentic Self

October 14: Jason Harrod

Performing songwriter Jason Harrod has lived and worked in Boston, Brooklyn, and North Carolina, both touring and serving as musical director in a church on the Lower East Side. His songwriting and performance are heralded: he has won MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting competition for bluegrass and the North Carolina Songwriters Co-Op contest; he has been selected as a spotlight performer at the annual Healdsburg Guitar festival, and he was awarded a fellowship by the International Arts Movement. In 2012, Jason received a Fulbright grant to teach songwriting to students in Thessaloniki, Greece. Image journal says of him, “What singer-songwriter Jason Harrod does best is turn daily moments numinous. Quite simply, Harrod’s imagination is for this world; he finds deep secrets in ordinary places.”

Monday, October 14, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel)

Monday, October 14, 7:00 (Birthplace of Country Music Museum)

October 21: Kathryn Long

Recently retired from Wheaton College, Kathryn Long is an historian of American Christianity with a special interest in evangelical missionary work in Latin America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her book God in the Rainforest: A Tale of Martyrdom and Redemption in Amazonian Ecuador (Oxford, 2019) examines “the defining missionary narrative for American evangelicals during the second half of the twentieth century”: the outreach to the Waorani (“auca”) people of eastern Ecuador. Beginning with the deaths of five missionaries in 1956, this mission continued through the largely unnoticed efforts of the workers, mostly women, who followed.  Among them was King graduate Catherine Peeke (’47), who translated the New Testament into the Waorani language and in whose honor the Peeke School of Christian Mission at King University is named. Of God in the Rainforest, Grant Wacker has said, “it reveals Long’s eye for the telling quotation, insight into the ironies that marked the Waorani story, and appreciation for humor in the midst of heroism, conflict, tragedy, and pain. … Long’s elegant prose shows us what history writing ought to look like.”

Monday, October 21, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel) Catherine Peeke: Keeping in Touch with a Protestant “Saint”

Monday, October 21, 7:00 (First Presbyterian Church) God, His Ancient Spoken Message: The Waorani New Testament, Catherine Peeke, and the Art of Bible Translation

October 28: Jerryn Puckett, The Fall 2019 King University Student Lecture

A senior from Bristol, Virginia, Jerryn Puckett is a History major with a minor in Biology. At King, she been part of the Acrobatics and Tumbling team, Student Government, plays saxophone in the King University Band, is a member of Women in STEM, works as a library assistant, and teaching assistant in History. Outside King, she plays for the Tri-Cities Thunder women’s semi-professional football team, takes part in historical reenactments, and works with animal rescue. Her interests in science and the past intersect in her future plans, as she hopes to pursue doctoral study in the history of science and technology, with particular interest in the space program; she is interested in work with NASA or in post-secondary teaching.

Monday, October 29, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel)

November 4: Anne C. Bailey

A graduate of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, Anne Bailey is Professor of History and Africana Studies at the State University of New York at Binghampton. Her publications range from adult non-fiction to children’s historical fiction, and include African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Beyond the Silence and the Shame and You Can Make A Difference: The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. Her newest book, The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History, examines the 1859 auction at which over 400 men, women, and children were sold by the Butler Plantation estates. Of this volume, Jelani Cobb says, “Here is a graceful chronicle of a wretched moment in history. This is a work of restoration, culling a crucial narrative from the silences of the past. But most crucially, this is a restoration of the humanity to those enslaved black people who were so commonly denied it.” Bailey is an active public speaker, including a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at the United Nations.

Monday, November 4, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel) The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History

Monday, November 4, 7:00 (Lee Street Baptist Church) Racial Reconciliation and Christian Witness

November 18: James K.A. Smith, The Frederick Buechner Lecture

James K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin University where he holds the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview. Smith also serves as editor in chief of Image journal, a quarterly devoted to “art, mystery, and faith.” The award-winning author of Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?, How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, his theological trilogy Desiring the Kingdom, Imagining the Kingdom, and Awaiting the King has been widely read in Christian colleges as they find their institutional mission. His new book, On the Road with Saint Augustine, presents the ancient African thinker as a pilgrim guide for spiritual devotion in our complicated times, the “patron saint of restless hearts.” His popular writing has appeared in magazines such as Christianity Today, First Things, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Jamie and his wife, Deanna, have four children, and live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is his third visit to King.

Monday, November 18, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel): Receiving the Saints: Augustine and Monica through Painters’ Eyes

Monday, November 18, 4:30 (First Presbyterian Church): A Conversation with James K.A. Smith

Monday, November 18, 7:00 (First Presbyterian Church): Testimony as Poetry: Augustine the Artist

December 2: Wendy Traynor The Fall 2019 King University Faculty Lecture

With an Army General for a father, Wendy Traynor grew up on both coasts of the United States, in the Midwest, and in Germany. After studying at North Georgia College, she and her husband continued to be peripatetic, and have lived in Alaska, New York, Georgia, South Carolina, and now Tennessee. She has taught math to just about everyone: at middle school, high school, adult education, community college, and the university level. She specializes in Mathematics Education, and regularly presents at Mathematics Education conferences. She serves as faculty advisor for the Women in STEM Club, the baseball team, and the women’s volleyball team. Away from King, she enjoys fly fishing in the South Holston River and cheering for the Atlanta Falcons.

Monday, December 2, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel)

January 20-21: Father Gregory Boyle, The King Institute Martin Luther King, Jr Day Lecture

Gregory Boyle, S.J., is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, Calif., the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. A Jesuit priest, Father Boyle served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church, the Catholic parish that had the highest concentration of gang activity in Los Angeles, during the so-called “decade of death” that began in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992. He and his parish wanted to treat gang members as human beings, so in 1988 they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, and provides critical services to thousands of others in need.  Father Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, as well as Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship. In 2014, the White House named Father Boyle a Champion of Change, and in 2017 he received the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics.

Monday, January 20, 7:00 (Lee Street Baptist Church) The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness

Tuesday, January 21, 10:00 (King Memorial Chapel) Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship

January 27: Shawn Okpebholo

Described as “a beautiful artist … who has enormous grace in his music, and fantasy and color,” composer Shawn Okpebholo writes in a variety of genres ranging from full orchestra to solo voice—sometimes influenced by the African-American spiritual and music from his ethnomusicological field work in both East and West Africa. Among numerous prizes for his compositions is second place in the American Prize in Composition. His music has been performed in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States, including such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and The National Cathedral. He has received commissions, including from the International Tuba and Euphonium Association and the United States Air Force. He serves as Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Wheaton College (IL).

Monday, January 27, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel): Reclaiming My Identity through the Negro Spiritual

Monday, January 27, 7:00 (Central Presbyterian Church): Reclaiming the Theology of the Negro Spiritual

February 10: S.J. Dahlman, The King Institute Appalachian Lecture

J. (Jim) Dahlman is Professor of Communications and Humanities at Milligan College, where he teaches courses in journalism, creative nonfiction, media law, and ethics. His book, A Familiar Wilderness: Searching for Home on Daniel Boone’s Road, chronicles his solo hike in 2013 that traced the route of Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road from east Tennessee to central Kentucky, blending travel narrative with history, observation, and profiles and interviews with dozens of people he met along the way. A long-time journalist and magazine editor, his articles have appeared in American and British publications, including the Guardian (UK) and the Cincinnati Enquirer. An ordained minister in the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, he wrote a weekly column on religion for the Johnson City Press for seven years.

Monday, February 10, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel): Meditations from an Old Road: Beauty Will Save Us

Monday, February 10, 7:00 (First Baptist Church): Meditations from an Old Road: Truth Will Set Us Free

February 24: Anne Blue Wills

Anne Blue Wills is professor of religious studies at Davidson College. She teaches courses on a broad range of historical topics in U.S. religion, from “Married to the Ministry” – on the history of clergy spouses – to “U.S. Religions, U.S. Revolutions” – about biblical interpretation and social transformation. She is currently at work on a biography of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, the subject of her coedited book Billy Graham: American Pilgrim. She has a particular interest in women’s religious commitment as expressed in popular culture, and has published on memory albums (“scrapbooks”), women’s obituaries, Thanksgiving, and sentimental fiction. An ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), she has served as President of the American Academy of Religion’s Southeast Region.

Monday, February 24, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel): The Bible and the Ballot: Arguing for Women’s Suffrage (in honor of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment)

Monday, February 24, 7:00 (Emmanuel Episcopal Church): “Write or develop an ulcer”: Ruth Bell Graham’s Poetry

March 2: Macarena Martin The Spring 2020 King University Student Lecture

A native of Madrid, Spain, Macarena Martin is a senior at King University, double majoring in Biochemistry and Mathematics. She is part of the swim team at King, is a member of Women in STEM, and is involved in the International Student Organization and President’s Society. She is determined to protect the environment. Her passion for orcas in particular has taken her to develop a deep interest in the chemistry of the ocean and how human activities affect its function. After graduation, she is planning on obtaining a PhD in chemical oceanography, oceanic and atmospheric science, or marine science. Her interests include forensic science, listening to music and watching dancing, learning languages, and experiencing different cultures.

Monday, March 2, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel)

March 16: Han Chuan Ong, The Spring 2020 King University Faculty Lecture

A native of Malaysia, Han Chuan Ong came to the United States as an undergraduate at Wabash College, where he was inspired by his freshman biology professor who made learning fun, simple, exciting, and lasting. His graduate training in molecular biology and genetics focused primarily on studying the evolution of mitochondrial genes and genomes, specifically movement of genes between unrelated plants. This inquiry was extended to the study of chloroplast genomes of marine and freshwater algae for his postdoctoral research at the University of Washington in Seattle. He taught at Lyon College before coming to King, where he teaches biology, leads study abroad trips, and mentors the women’s wrestling team. He and his wife Laura, also a faculty member in biology at King, have three sons.

Monday, March 16, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel)

March 23: Holocaust Survivor

Every year, the King Institute marks the memory of the Holocaust by hosting a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Survivors’ Speakers Bureau. These women and men have brought personal stories of lives disrupted by violence against their communities, of family members disappearing, and of the horrors of concentration camps. Painful and vivid still, these eyewitness memories have offered unique insight for our region and hundreds of other venues across the United States. Each speaker has brought hope, hope that by remembering, we will abhor the inhumanity and evils of the Holocaust, that we will spread love and justice. We will host a member of the Survivors Speakers Bureau yet again, for a unique encounter with the past.

Monday, March 23, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel)

Monday, March 23, 7:00 (First Baptist Church)

March 29-30: Bill Linderman

Bill Linderman is Professor of Mathematics at King University, where he currently serves as an Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and as the Chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Physics. As Visiting Associate Professor of Mathematics at Cornell University, he studied piano performance and music composition, and composes for piano, cello, flute, and voice. He studied piano with Betty Kuhnert for many years and has given several solo piano recitals. An avid traveler, he has participated in King mission trips to India and Kenya, and National Science Foundation courses in Mexico on Ancient Maya Mathematics, in Peru on Ancient Inca Mathematics, and in Cambodia on Ancient Khmer Mathematics. He and his wife Elizabeth live in Bristol with their two sons.

Sunday, March 29, 3:00 (King Memorial Chapel): Compositions for piano, flute, cello, and voice

Monday, March 30, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel): Compositions for piano, flute, and cello

April 6: Matthew Milliner

Matthew Milliner teaches across the range of art history with an eye for the prospects and pitfalls of visual theology. He holds an M.A. & Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University, and an M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary, and now serves as Associate Professor of Art History at Wheaton College (IL). His scholarly specialization is Byzantine and medieval art, with a focus on how such images inform contemporary visual culture. He is a three-time appointee to the Curatorial Advisory Board of the United States Senate, and has published in numerous books and journals. During his morning lecture, the Caldwell Art Collection’s set of the Salvador Dalí lithograph series The Twelve Apostles, or Knights of the Round Table (featured on this brochure), will be on display in the Chapel.

Monday, April 6, 9:15 (King Memorial Chapel): The Delights and Dangers of Salvador Dalí

Monday, April 6, 7:00 (Central Presbyterian Church): Turtle Island Renaissance: Native American Art & Christian Faith