January Series

January 15–February 2
11:00 a.m. Lunch
11:30 a.m. Lecture Livestream
Jones Session Room

First Presbyterian Church is a remote site for Calvin University’s award-winning January Series. This 15-day virtual lecture series aims to cultivate deep thought and conversations about important issues of the day to inspire cultural renewal and make us better global citizens in God’s world.

Each day, we will gather in the Jones Session Room for lunch and a livestream of the lecture. Please register for the sessions you plan to attend. We hope you will join us!

Week 1


Lerone, a Black man with a goatee beard, stands wearing a navy-blue suit in front of an archway outside.

Lerone Martin

SOUL FORCE: THE CHALLENGE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING

***CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER*** Monday, January 15

Lerone Martin is an associate professor of religious studies at Stanford University and an award-winning author. He will highlight his book, The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover, and discuss the historical and legal context of government surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., its implications for the Civil Rights Movement, and lessons learned to be considered for today’s social justice efforts. Learn more »

 


Dan, a white man with a black crew neck shirt stands in a dramatic black and white headshot.

Dan Tepfer

FROM BACH TO NATURAL MACHINES: ALGORITHMS AS THE SHAPERS OF MUSIC

***CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER*** Tuesday, January 16

Dan Tepfer is a pianist-composer who’s recorded, performed, and composed around the world. He will share how his performances incorporates musical improvisation and computer programming accompaniment. He’ll also discuss how composers as far back as Bach used algorithms and logical systems in famous works. Learn more »

 


Robert, a white man with grey hair and glasses, sits in a chair wearing a dark grey suit, in front of windows.

Robert George

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND THE HUMAN GOOD

***CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER*** Wednesday, January 17

Robert George is a McCormick professor of jurisprudence and the director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He’ll pull on his knowledge in law and theology to present how governments are obligated to respect and protect religious freedom for the sake of the basic human right of religion itselfLearn more »

 


Caroline, a Black woman with chin length, curly black hair, stands by a chair wearing a long black dress, in front of a window.

Caroline Randall Williams

SOUL FOOD AND THE COLLECTIVE CULTURAL MEMORY

***CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER*** Thursday, January 18

Caroline Randall Williams is an award-winning poet, young adult novelist, and cookbook author as well as an activist, public intellectual, performance artist, and scholar. Through her discussion on soul food and the collective cultural memory she’ll reclaim the narrative of health and body preservation through Black cuisine and dispel the myths about soul food. Learn more »

 


Matthew, a white man with grey hair stands with his hands in the pockets of a dark blue winter jacket.

Matthew Desmond

POVERTY, BY AMERICA

***CANCELED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER*** Friday, January 19

Matthew Desmond is a sociologist, MacArthur Fellowship recipient, and the founder and principal investigator of the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. In his latest bookPoverty, By Americadraws on history, research, and original reporting to show how poverty in the U.S. persists because the rest of us benefit from it. Learn more »

 

Week 2


Kendall, a white woman with shoulder-length straight dusty blonde hair, stands wearing a navy dress with flowers in front of green bushes.

Kendall Vanderslice

TABLE CONVERSATIONS: BUILDING COMMUNITY AS WE EAT

Monday, January 22

Kendall Vanderslice is a baker, writer, and the founder of the Edible Theology Project, an educational nonprofit connecting the Communion table to the kitchen table. Through her work in food studies and theology, she explores the ways God uses the table to restore communities and creation. Learn more »


Lydia, a white woman with shoulder-length black hair, stands wearing a white-collar button up shirt and black suit jacket in front of a white wall.

Lydia Dugdale

THE LOST ART OF DYING: ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN FACING OUR MORTALITY

Tuesday, January 23

Dr. Lydia Dugdale is an internal medicine primary care doctor and a medical ethicist. She’s also a Columbia University professor and director of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. In her new book, The Lost Art of Dying, Dugdale offers insight and thoughtful guidance on how to die well. She guides readers to recover their sense of finitude, confront fears, accept how bodies age, develop meaningful rituals, and involve communities in end-of-life careLearn more »


Niala, an Asian American woman with long black hair, and silver hoop earrings, wears a bright pink suit jacket in a professional headshot.

Niala Boodhoo

LESSONS I’VE LEARNED FROM LISTENING

Wednesday, January 24

Niala Boodhoo ’96 is an Axios journalist and podcast host, as well as guest host for 1A on NPR. She’ll discuss the importance of living outside of an echo chamber and the ways the human voice can help us change our perspectives. Learn more »


Tommy, a white man, with sandy brown hair, stands wearing a yellow t-shirt and hiking backpack in front of mountains.

Tommy Caldwell

ROUTE FINDING FOR SUCCESS

Thursday, January 25

Tommy Caldwell is a talented rock climber, with numerous accomplishments in sport, traditional, and free climbing; big wall first ascents; and speed records. He’ll share the ways he’s found a route for success with stories of his nationally-recognized climbs—including a hostage situation in Kyrgyzstan—and life struggles. Learn more »


Felicia, an Asian woman, with shoulder-length black hair and small gold hoop earrings, stands with her arms crossed, wearing a red short-sleeve dress in front of a tree.

Felicia Wu Song

RESTLESS DEVICES: CHRISTIAN FORMATION IN A DIGITAL WORLD

Friday, January 26

Felicia Wu Song is a cultural sociologist who studies the place of digital technologies in contemporary life. She’ll share information on the rapidly evolving digital technology industry and how the adoption of social media and digital devices alters the landscapes of family, community, and organizational life. Learn more »

Week 3


Jacob, a white man with grey hair and glasses, wears a white-collar shirt in a professional headshot in front of a yellow background. Jacob Goldstein

TECHNOLOGY, LUDDITES, AND THE FUTURE OF WORK

Monday, January 29

Jacob Goldstein is an NPR correspondent and podcast host. His interest in technology and the changing nature of work has led him to stories on UPS, the Luddites, and the history of light. His current work looks at the big picture of new technologies such as AI and the future of work. Goldstein looks at the history of technology breakthroughs to point out a silver liningLearn more »


Daniel, a white man with black hair and a black beard, stands leaning against a pole wearing a blue patterned button up shirt and jeans.

Daniel Bowman

NEURODIVERGENT STORYTELLING

Tuesday, January 30

Daniel Bowman Jr. is a novelist, poet, and professor, who received an autism diagnosis at age 35. He will offer insights on autism, relationships, faith, and the gift of neurodiversity through stories of his heartbreaks and triumphs. Learn more »


Abram Van Engen, Joanne Diaz and Marilyn Nelson

Abram Van Engen, Joanne Diaz and Marilyn Nelson

A LIVE RECORDING OF THE PODCAST, “POETRY FOR ALL” WITH MARILYN NELSON

Wednesday, January 31

Joanne Diaz and Abram Van Engen are podcast co-hosts Poetry for All, where they read a poem, discuss it, see what makes it tick, learn how it works, grow from it, and then read it again. During the January Series, they’ll do a live recording of their show with guest Marilyn Nelsona three-time finalist for the National Book Award and one of America’s most celebrated poetsLearn more »


Tim, a white man with sandy brown hair and beard with glasses, wears a maroon sweater with a blue-collar shirt in a professional headshot with white background.

Tim Dalrymple

WHAT’S BECOMING OF US?: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Thursday, February 1

Timothy Dalrymple is a former national champion gymnast who turned to academia following an accident in college where he broke his neck. He helped launch patheos.com and Polymath, and he currently serves as Christianity Today’s President and CEO. Learn more »


Pearl, an Asian woman with short black hair, wears a black suit jacket with an ornate pattern in a professional headshot with grey background.

Pearl Shangkuan

TUNING OUR MINDS, EARS, AND HEARTS TO SING GOD’S GRACE: REFLECTIONS OF A CONDUCTOR

Friday, February 2

Pearl Shangkuan is a highly sought-after conductor, lecturer, and clinician. She’s led performances, seminars, and workshops on six continents, and she is a beloved professor and the director of choral activities at Calvin University. She will reflect on her musical endeavors that have taken her around the world and, most importantly, the ways God’s grace was abundant throughout her career. Learn more »

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