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Institute for Faith & Culture Explores the Art of Reading, Storytelling

August 16, 2023

King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture (IFC) fall speaker series will share two events focused on the art of reading, featuring author and professor Jennifer Holberg.

Holberg, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, is a professor and chair of the English department at Calvin University and co-director of the Calvin Center for Faith and Writing, the home of the Festival of Faith and Writing. She is a founding co-editor of the academic journal Pedagogy and the editor of Shouts and Whispers: Twenty-One Writers Speak About Their Writing and Their Faith.

Holberg’s recent book, “Nourishing Narratives: The Power of Story to Shape Our Faith,” encourages readers to understand how stories are essential to culture, connection, and particularly belief.

On Wednesday, Aug. 23, she will present “A Witness Ready to Serve” at 9:15 a.m. in King’s Memorial Chapel, and “Complicated Narratives and Important Failures” at 7 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Bristol, Virginia. Both events are free and open to the public.

“I’ve been a fan of King University since I first began coming in 2007 to support my friend Dale Brown and the Buechner Institute,” said Holberg. “I’m delighted and honored to be coming to King as a speaker for the Institute for Faith & Culture.”

Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the IFC, notes that Holberg’s work grows out of a love of education and connecting with others.

“Jennifer knows the extent to which stories shape us, and particularly the ways in which they shape our faith,” Dotterweich said. “The act of storytelling is central to creation, and in many ways is a reflection of what we see in the divine. Her challenge to us is to examine the stories we tell ourselves, whether as a society, within our families, or as individuals, and to interpret them well.”

Additional, upcoming IFC speakers for the fall include:

Monday, Oct. 16: Drew Bratcher, professor, editor, and author of “Bub: Essays from Just North of Nashville”

Monday, Nov. 6: Esau McCaulley, professor, NYT columnist, and author of “How Far to the Promised Land”

Monday, Nov. 13: Barbara Armacost, Professor of Law, University of Virginia

Please note that Bruce Herman’s event, originally scheduled for September, has been postponed to spring 2024.

Since 2007, the King University Institute for Faith & Culture has welcomed widely recognized thinkers, authors, musicians, scholars, and philosophers to interact with students and a regional audience in a welcoming environment that catalyzes growth and understanding. The Institute serves as the standard bearer of the University’s long-time exploration of the liberal arts — in conjunction with King’s mission of equipping students to answer the call of excellence inherent in the Christian faith.