Kate Bowler: Prosperity Gospel & the Church Today

DR. KATE BOWLER

THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

3:00 p.m.
Discussion with Dr. Dennis Voskuil on “The Prosperity Gospel in the American Church Today” in Mulder Chapel

7:00 p.m.
Plenary address, “The Prosperity Gospel and the Dying” in Dimnent Chapel at Hope College

Dr. Kate Bowler is the Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity in North America at Duke Divinity School and author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel.

In 2015, she was diagnosed with stage IV cancer at age 35. The next year, she wrote a New York Times article that went viral, “Death, the Prosperity Gospel, and Me,” and in this month she released a memoir with Random House: Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. While Dr. Bowler does not embrace the prosperity gospel, she describes it fairly and with insight. She embraces the Christian faith, bearing witness to Jesus Christ in this midst of this season.

Listen to the recent NPR podcast with Dr. Bowler, “A Stage-4 Cancer Patient Shares The Pain And Clarity Of Living ‘Scan-To-Scan'”.

The Osterhaven Lecture Series on Theology

March 12-13, 2018

Monday, March 12
3:00 – 4:15 p.m.
Mulder Chapel at Western Theological Seminary

“What Counts as a Biblical Doctrine? Exploring the Biblically Warranted Modes of Biblical Interpretation.”
Matthew Levering
Chair of Theology at Mundelein Seminary
University of St. Mary of the Lake

 

Monday, March 12, 2018
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Mulder Chapel at Western Theological Seminary

“Mere Protestant Christianity: Sola Scriptura and the Comic Possibility of Reformation”
Kevin VanHoozer
Research Professor of Systematic Theology
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Mulder Chapel at Western Theological Seminary

Panel discussion
Matthew Levering, Kevin VanHoozer, Jared Ortiz, and Sue Rozeboom

 


Matthew Levering
James N. and Mary D. Perry, Jr. Chair of Theology
Mundelein Seminary
University of St. Mary of the Lake

Matthew Levering is widely recognized as one of the leading Roman Catholic doctrinal theologians today. He is the author or co-author of over 20 books, including Scripture and Metaphysics, Biblical Natural Law, Engaging the Doctrine of Revelation, Proofs of God, and most recently, Was the Reformation a Mistake?  He serves as coeditor of the journals Nova et Vetera and the International Journal of Systematic Theology and has served as Chair of the Board of the Academy of Catholic Theology since 2007.

 

Kevin VanHoozer
Research Professor of Systematic Theology
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Kevin VanHoozer is one of the most prominent Protestant systematic theologians writing today. Much of his work focuses upon the intersection of Christian doctrine with hermeneutics. He has written or co-written ten books, two of which won Christianity Today book awards in theology. His book, Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible earned Christianity Today’s award for best biblical studies book in 2006. He also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Systematic Theology and the Journal of Theological Interpretation.

 

Jared Ortiz
Assistant Professor of Religion
Hope College

Jared Ortiz teaches Catholic studies at Hope College, where he founded and directs the Saint Benedict Institute, the Catholic spiritual and intellectual center that serves Hope College. He teaches courses on the Incarnation, church history, Catholic Christianity, theological hermeneutics and early Christianity. He specializes in early Christian theology, especially St. Augustine, and he has scholarly interests in liturgy, Latin patristic thought and disability.

 

Sue Rozeboom
Associate Professor of Liturgical Theology
Western Theological Seminary

Sue Rozeboom teaches students how to unwrap God’s gracious gift of worship.  Her reading, research, and teaching interests are in the areas of the history of Christian worship, the work of the Spirit and Christian worship, and enriched sacramental theology for refreshed sacramental practice. She is the co-author, with Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., of Discerning the Spirits: A Guide to Thinking about Christian Worship Today. She been active in official Roman Catholic – Reformed dialogues for many years.

 

Discipleship and Disability: A Baptismal Approach

When: Wednesday, February 28, 1:00-2:00 pm

Where: Mulder Chapel at WTS

Join Western Theological Seminary as we continue the conversation about disability and ministry.  In November, Lennard Davis helped us to think through how disability is an aspect of diversity while at the same time questioning the usefulness of the concept of diversity.  This month, Sarah Barton, Th.D. candidate Duke Divinity School and finalist for the Nouwen Fellow position at WTS, will be joining us to help us consider how the practice of baptism challenges us to think differently about disability and discipleship.  ASL services and hearing loop technology will be available.

With the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, WTS has established a Nouwen Fellow program that brings scholars whose research focuses on some aspect of disability studies to join our faculty for a one or two year appointment.

How do I find my way around during construction?

During the construction phase of “Our New Day” for Western Theological Seminary, a large portion of the campus will be inaccessible. The diagram below shows which areas are under construction. The available walkways are in yellow and may change during the 2017-18 school year.

Deliveries should be made to the receptionist at the front desk, which is in the DeWitt Theological Center (entrance 2). The only entrance is from the northwest corner of the DeWitt Center. There are stairs up to the atrium level, or an elevator is available through a doorway to the right when you come in. Cherri or Gretchen at the front desk can be reached at 392-8555.

PARKING: There is a small amount of parking by Friendship House. Guest parking is available in the student lot on the south side of 13th St. Street parking is also allowed (check for signs).

Looking for a particular department?

Academic Offices (dean, registrar) – DeWitt Center, 2nd floor
Admissions – DeWitt Center, Atrium level
Advancement – Cook Center/Beardslee Library, 5th floor
Bookstore – DeWitt Center, Atrium level, NE corner
Business Offices – DeWitt Center, Atrium level
Communications – Cook Center/Beardslee Library, 5th floor
Cont. Ed. (Journey and Ridder – Cook Center/Beardslee Library, 5th floor
Educational Technology – DeWitt Center, atrium level
Faculty offices – DeWitt Center, 2nd floor
Formation for Ministry – DeWitt Center, garden level
Human Resources – DeWitt Center, garden level
Hispanic Ministries – DeWitt Center, garden level
International Students Office – Cook Center/Beardslee Library, 4th floor
President & V.P. offices – Cook Center/Beardslee Library, mezzanine level
Writing Studio – Cook Center/Beardslee Library, 4th floor

The Gifts of Rome

By David Stubbs

Professor of Ethics and Theology

 

Last year I was given a treasured gift: time off from teaching and administrative work in order to devote myself to research and writing. My main project was writing a book called Temple and Table, and my wife Lynn and I decided the best context for that work would be in Rome.

I contacted the Waldensian Theological Seminary in Rome (If you are an Italian Protestant, you are probably a Waldensian). The dean of the seminary, Fulvio Ferrario, opened the arms of his institution, offered an apartment we could rent, and kindly helped us navigate the mysteries of Italian bureaucracy to secure a visa for our time there.

What a rich context in which to research, write, and live!

Snapshot 1: Typical Research Day

My day would begin with a commute by foot of about 25 minutes. After breakfast, sometimes shared with the students at the Waldensian seminary, I’d walk across the Bernini Bridge of Angels with its view of St. Peter’s Cathedral, past the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain to the “Greg”—the Pontifical Gregorian University. The Gregoriana is a world-renowned center of learning with deep resources. I would often pop in my ear-buds and study Italian on the way, or simply take in the sights and sounds of Rome. Once I arrived, I would check my backpack into a locker, bring my books and computer with me, and find a desk alongside about 200 other people, mostly Roman Catholic men and women from around the world, and get to work.

When lunch time came, some days I would find Johannes, a kind, bearded, grey-robed Austrian monk in his 40s working on his Ph.D., who became my friend. We’d grab lunch at the café and talk about American or Italian politics, Roman Catholic youth ministry in Austria, what it is like to be a monk, the finer points of his work on the theology of Aquinas, or my own project.

Back to work, then home at 5—when Lynn and I would meet with our Italian tutor, Marta, or explore some new church, museum, or Roman ruin before dinner at 9pm. When in Rome…

Snapshot 2: Churches Coming Together

Every few weeks a group called “Churches Together in Rome” would meet. Pastors, priests, and lay leaders from the English-speaking churches of the city—spanning from Pentecostal to Methodist to Roman Catholic—created this group and regularly gather for fellowship and projects. They invited me to join them during the year. During our meetings, we read and talked our way through the ecumenical document, From Conflict to Communion, a commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, written jointly by Lutherans and Catholics. On some weekends, I worked side by side in an ecumenical garden with Russell, a Franciscan monk doing important work for the order in Rome, and Dana, an Anglican priest.

Dana English (Anglican priest), David, Richard Burridge and Meg Warner of King’s College London, and Lynn Stubbs.

What a gift to be part of this group, talking with these brothers and sisters from so many different backgrounds, seeing in one another signs of hope of the healing of the deep wounds of division within Christianity …right there in the epicenter of the Roman Catholic Church.

Snapshot 3: Immersion

I often tell people that as you walk the streets of Rome it is as if 25 centuries of history are constantly whispering to you. It shapes your imagination. It shapes the conversations you have with people. Part of my writing project involves trying to understand more deeply how the early Christian church imagined what was happening as they celebrated the Eucharist together. Physical evidence of that is found in the catacombs surrounding Rome and in the beautiful mosaics that decorate some of the oldest surviving Christian church buildings in the world. Experiencing those places while doing my work was a deeply moving and formative experience.

David with Rev. Dr. Tim and Angela Macquibin. Tim is the leader of Churches Together in Rome and head of the Methodist Ecumenical Office.

Writing about the Eucharist while experiencing contemporary Roman culture was also formative. I felt the divisions within Christianity and ecumenical possibilities in a new way, watched from afar the growing divisions within the United States, saw firsthand the refugee crisis that affects Italy more than most countries, watched the papacy of Francis and the growing secularism of Europe unfold at the same time, tasted the beauty of a carefully prepared Roman meal, saw what Protestantism means in a place where it is a minority, and shared meals and conversations with refugees, monks, deans from English universities, ambassadors from Nigeria, ecumenical delegates, and artists in residence. Rome is a global crossroads and was an immensely fertile ground for contemplating what the central meanings of Eucharist have to say to us today.

Rome was a gift, a wonderful place in which to do my work. I have nearly completed my writing project, Temple and Table: The Jewish Roots of the Christian Eucharist (forthcoming from Eerdmans), and I have high hopes that it will be a helpful contribution to the church and academy. But Rome also worked on me. It broadened and deepened my understanding of Christianity and the place of Protestantism in it, of the Eucharist, and of this chaotic but lovely world that God created and continues to hold in his hands.

David Stubbs teaches ethics and theology at Western and is available to share more about Temple and Table in churches and other settings. In his book he identifies five central meanings of the Eucharist and draws bold lines of connection from the Jewish Temple to the contemporary church. He also offers a series for churches, “Walking in the Way: Christian Ethics for Everyday Christians.” Contact him at 616-392-8555, x124.

The Kingdom of Heaven

Senior student Shaelee Boender reflects on her summer internship:

“Miss Shaelee,” she said, holding out a tan piece of construction paper, “I drew this for you!”

I put my arm around her little shoulder, looked over the ice cream cone masterpiece, and replied, “How did you know ice cream is my favorite food ever?! Like ever, ever!” Her brown eyes lit up with joy as she shrugged her shoulders, saying, “I don’t know… I just drew it!”

The kingdom of heaven is like…

Recently I have been mulling over passages in Matthew 13. Jesus gives his followers a vision of the kingdom of heaven by using parables. He moves from mustard seeds to leavened bread to a merchant in search of fine pearls, even to a net that catches an array of fish.

Through these many visions, I always go back to this: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds…”

The smallest of all seeds. It takes 185,000 mustard seeds to make one pound. If every person in Des Moines, IA was a mustard seed—it would only weigh one pound!

I learned in my internship that the kingdom of heaven is already present and moving. The stirring in our hearts helps us to step in—to actively participate in the coming of God’s kingdom. What “surprisingly surprised” me is that this movement is not fast, loud, or big. Rather, it is fairly slow.

Getting to know kids, getting a glimpse of their lives outside the three hours each weekday we would spend with them, learning their stories, meeting parents, and beginning to understand the needs of the neighborhood… takes a long time.

Sometimes this work of creating authentic relationships felt insignificant as we played tag, painted rocks, or led the kids in exercises… but that was just what God was calling us to do. God was asking us to lean in, love, encourage, and ask questions in a way that brings life and joy.

The mustard seed is a powerful seed. When the seed is planted, it grows underground for a period of time. When it finally sprouts, its growth becomes almost impossible to stop.

This is what Jesus was saying. The coming of the kingdom is in the small and seemingly insignificant—but it is powerful, strong, and unstoppable. In some moments we see the sprouting forth from the earth, giving us glimpses of the kingdom of God advancing. But in the meantime, this slow process is a pull on my heart to remain faithful in the work God is inviting us to lean into.

The kingdom of heaven is liketwenty kids playing toilet tag.

The kingdom of heaven is like… children singing to Beach Boys songs while shaking plastic egg maracas.

The kingdom of heaven is like exercising to Moana—and giggling.

The kingdom of heaven is liketalking while making robots out of soup cans.

The kingdom of heaven is like holding a child’s hand.

The seemingly small. Outwardly insignificant. This is where power lies. The seeds have already been planted… only God knows how much they are spreading.

The kingdom of heaven is like an ice cream cone, a masterpiece made of crayon and marker, that finds its forever home on a tan piece of construction paper. This small act of generosity and thoughtfulness shows that God is working in this little girl’s life. And to be honest… I almost missed it. How often do we miss the work of God in those around us? Or perhaps even in our own hearts? All because it sometimes feels small or insignificant.

The kingdom of heaven is like…

 

 

 

A version of this article originally appeared here.

Hebrew Camp

For eleven days each summer, students taking Advanced Hebrew immerse themselves in Hebrew at the Hermitage, a retreat community in southwest Michigan.

According to professors Pam “Qiqayon” Bush and Travis “Moshe” West, the class is about 70% Hebrew and 30% spiritual formation—and sometimes the other way around.

“Hebrew Camp” aims to prepare students who will become lab leaders for the Biblical Hebrew course. Students develop a dramatic enactment of the story of Naaman from 2 Kings 5, as well as study grammar and vocabulary for many hours each day. The class is a rich exercise in community building, collaboration, and developing spiritual practices.

“It’s the most challenging, exhausting, rewarding, and life-giving educational experience that I’ve encountered in my life—every single year,” says Professor West.

The Table

Preparing the table

Each morning, students practice silence during breakfast until the time for morning prayers. Then the group prays and sings together in Hebrew. Lunch is also in Hebrew—which many students find challenging at first.

“The first lunch was basically silent,” confesses 2016 Hebrew Camp student Emily Scatterday-Holehan. “But by the end of the week, you’re making jokes in Hebrew.”

Students like Emily are volunteers from previous years who form a hospitality team to prepare and serve each meal. The team creates healthy dishes and decorates the table with flowers or candles to make it a beautiful experience each day.

Many students say dinners together are the best part of camp. The group eats around one big table, sharing the joys and sorrows of the day. Professor Bush asks everyone to answer: “What are you grateful for?” as well as a second, probing question about the day.

“We all came with our stress, frustration, or joys, and everything landed on the table at dinner,” recalls Chelsea Reynhout, a 2016 participant. “It was like the great equalizer, the embodiment of communion.”

Being together 24/7 with fellow students is challenging yet beneficial.

“You can’t get in your car and drive away when you’re frustrated; you have to come back to the table,” explains Alisha Riepma.

“No one told us we had to share personal things with each other,” says Cassie Nelson-Rogalski, “but it happened because we were living together, and it was really beautiful to hold each other’s grief, pain, and joy.”

The Sabbath

On Friday evening, the group watches the sunset in preparation for Shabbat—the Sabbath. The table is laid out with special care for the evening meal.

“To watch the sunset with your community, sing together, and then come back to the dinner table all set… was a homey feeling of being really loved,” Laurel Pals reflects.

All of Saturday is spent resting. Some students have continued the tradition of Shabbat after camp is over.

“I’ve never allowed myself to rest before without feeling guilty,” admits Nelson-Rogalski. Now, she and her husband try to practice Sabbath weekly, preparing everything on Friday afternoon so that Saturday can be a full day of rest.

The Enactment

Laurel Pals as Naaman, 2017

“Part of [the challenge] is exegeting the passage as a collective whole,” Riepma says. “Some of us value excellence in language and grammar. Some value artistic flair. And then others care about the theological implications.”

Students come to camp prepared with their own creative response to the story of Naaman—whether a song, a skit, or even a news report. The story connects to each student differently, and everyone draws something unique from it.

Cameron Beidler wrote a song from the perspective of Naaman’s inner journey of despair to proclamation. “God is stronger than our unbelief,” was Beidler’s favorite line. “No matter how much we push back at God…He’s stronger than anything we can throw at him.”

The Enactment, Fall 2017

By the end of the week, the story takes shape. The students are practicing to perform their enactment for the entire WTS community soon after the beginning of the fall semester.

The Impact

Ultimately, Hebrew Camp is about learning Hebrew.

“Our teachers managed to teach us to love Hebrew—to love a language—which in turn has taught me to love scripture,” says Reynhout.

It is a strain to focus on Hebrew for that many hours, day after day—but ultimately, according to Pals, “it’s less daunting and more familiar now.”

Hebrew students from past years are still using what they learned at camp in their lives and ministries.

Reynhout had entered seminary with a vision for ministry that did not involve being a pastor, but she left Hebrew Camp a with her call transformed.

2016 Hebrew Camp

“My imagination was sparked for the way things could be—the way we could learn together, how we could take these lessons into churches.” One year later, Reynhout is discerning a call to be a lead pastor.

“Our professors gave us each a blessing, laying hands on our heads and speaking words of truth over us,” remembers Rev. Audrey Edewaard, a 2015 participant. “The blessing I received— ‘May you go to the depths of your soul, which can be hidden by exuberance’—is framed in my office and serves as a daily reminder to have courage to stand in the tension of pain, confusion, and hopelessness with the people I serve and within my own person.”

Rev. Edewaard has also taught songs and enacted stories for high school students at North Holland Reformed Church.

In Rev. Jonathan Gabhart’s role as a pastor of worship arts, he writes songs for his church to sing. “Because of Hebrew studies at WTS, I translate the Psalms as a part of a songwriting method. It’s enjoyable and meaningful to burrow into the rhythm and sound of the Hebrew text.”

Scatterday-Holehan is pregnant with her first child and has been singing a specific Hebrew prayer to her growing baby: Barukh ‘attah Adonai ‘eloheinu, melekh ha’olam. Shehecheyanu, veqiyemanu, vehigi’anu lazman hazeh. “Blessed are you, Oh Lord our God, ruler of the universe who gives us life, who sustains us, and has brought us to this very moment.” (in Hebrew below)

She has also used Hebrew prayers and word studies as small group coordinator at Hope College Campus Ministries.

“Hebrew Camp affected my life and decisions, the way I view God and my calling, and my interaction with the Sabbath,” she shares. “Who thought 11 days speaking Hebrew would do that?”

Suddenly the Pastor!

Middler student Alex Regets finds his dreams coming true sooner than he imagined.

I am someone who never expected to end up in ministry, but God does unexpected things.

I had started out in a pre-law program in college, but early on I felt the call to ministry, so I switched schools and finished my undergrad with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies.

For someone who never expected to end up in ministry, once I was called, I knew what I wanted: rural ministry. I entered seminary with a clear idea of where I wanted to end up. Right from the start, I would tell anyone who’d listen that when all was said and done, I wanted to be the pastor of a small church in the middle of nowhere. I also said that I’d love it if I could just stay there forever.

I wanted to go to the kind of church that often gets overlooked. The kind that gets viewed as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. And I always said that if this small, middle-of-nowhere church could be close to my hometown—well, that would be even better.

When it came time to start looking for a summer Internship after my second year at Western, I figured I’d look for a place that checked all those boxes. What I found was a small Presbyterian church in a rural town of about 4,000, averaging around 20 people each week in attendance, and it was only ten minutes from my hometown of Manteno, IL, the place where my family and my wife’s family still live.

It seemed like a great fit for my internship, but when I looked up the church, I noticed something interesting. They were currently without a pastor. I figured that was a plus, since it would help me get a sense for what the job is really like, but there was something else. Where the listing asked for required experience, this church didn’t say “First Ordained Call,” the way so many others do. Instead, it simply said none.

Suddenly, what started out as a possible landing spot for my summer internship looked like it had the potential to be something more!

After a handful of conversations with the elders of the church, we came to an agreement that I’d serve there for the summer, fulfilling my requirements for the 10-week internship, and if it seemed like a good fit for me and for them, they would make me an offer before it was over.

Well, it was a good fit.

So here I am, serving as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Peotone, Illinois, the sort of church I always said I wanted to work with!

I am finishing up my Master of Divinity degree by switching to Western’s distance learning program. It’s a little unorthodox, and it means jumping through some hoops with the Presbytery to make sure it’s all done “decently and in order,” but I am grateful for the opportunity.

It feels like a great fit in every way, and while my ordination will come a little slower, I’m already getting to experience what it’s like to pastor the church I have always dreamed of.

By Alex Regets

 

Holiday Hours

December 15 is the last day of the semester for In-Residence and Distance Learning Students.

Western Theological Seminary including Beardslee Library will be closed beginning on Saturday, December 23 and will reopen on Tuesday, January 2.

The Seminary and Beardslee library hours for the week prior to Christmas are:
Monday 12/18  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday 12/19 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday 12/20 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Thursday 12/21 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Friday 12/22 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
During J-term the library will be open:
MondayThursday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
closed Saturday and Sunday
The Library’s regular academic hours resume on January 22 (7:30 am- 10:00 pm M-Th, Fri 4:30, Sat 9-4).

Dr. Lennard Davis- Disability as an Aspect of Diversity

At 2:00 P.M. on Thursday November 2, the public is invited to join Lennard J. Davis, author and professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago for a lecture in Mulder Chapel. Davis will be presenting an all-day training to the staff and faculty of Western Theological Seminary on “Disability as an Aspect of Diversity.”

“I grew up in a Deaf family where I spoke sign language and participated in Deaf culture,” writes Davis, “Yet I did not know much about Deafness or disability until 1990 when I became involved with CODA, the organization of children of Deaf adults.  Then my interests shifted from the study of the novel to disability studies.  I became intrigued by the idea of normalcy and how it had evolved in our culture.”

In addition to his role as professor, Dr. Davis is also director of Project Biocultures, a think-tank devoted to issues around the intersection of culture, medicine, disability, biotechnology, and the biosphere.  His works on disability include Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body (Verso, 1995), which won the 1996 Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights’ annual award for the best scholarship on the subject of intolerance in North America, and The Disability Studies Reader (4th Ed., Routledge, 2013).

Davis’s memoir My Sense of Silence (University of Illinois Press, 2000), was chosen Editor’s Choice Book for the Chicago Tribune, selected for the National Book Award for 2000, and nominated for the Book Critics Circle Award for 2000. He has appeared on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air to discuss the memoir, which describes his childhood in a Deaf family.  Davis has also edited his parents’ correspondence Shall I Say a Kiss: The Courtship Letters of a Deaf Couple1936-38 (Gallaudet University Press, 1999).

Davis is a co-founder of the Modern Language Association’s Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession, and he is on the board of several academic journals.   Having written widely for newspapers and magazines, Davis is also the author of a novel entitled The Sonnets (State University of New York Press, March 2001).  A collection of his essays entitled Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism, and Other Difficult Positions was published by New York University Press in August 2002.

His most recent book on the Americans With Disabilities Act was published in 2015, the 25th anniversary of the Act by Beacon Press. Davis has written numerous articles in The NationThe New York TimesThe Chicago Tribune, The Chronicle of Higher Education and other print media.  He has also been a commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and appeared on Morning Edition, This American Life, Odyssey, The Leonard Lopate Show and other NPR affiliates.  His current interests include disability-related issues; literary and cultural theory; genetics, race, identity; and biocultural issues.

“I have come to see that disability studies is imperative,” he says. “It is crucial that students in elementary and secondary school, as well as students in the university, grow up in close contact with people with all kinds of disabilities. It is crucial that disability studies be included in the curricula of schools so that when Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement are studied, when films on Stonewall are screened, Chicano authors are read — that disability history and culture be included as well from the accomplishments of Vietnam Vets and Ron Kovic to the Berkeley movement led by disability activist Ed Roberts to the Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet University. The drafting of the ADA should be studied the way that the drafting of the Declaration of Independence is studied. Students should be able to read the work of Nancy Mairs or Andre Dubus, to know about the disabilities of artists and writers like James Joyce, Harriet Martineau, and William DeKooning, as well as the more obvious Beethoven or Ray Charles.”

“Disability studies matters because it points out the obvious, the common, the things no one notices because most of those ‘no ones’ see themselves as living in the mirage of being normal.”

Please join us on November 2 for this important lecture.