January series speakers announced

The January Series has announced its line-up for January of 2020. For the past 30 years, the popular lecture series has brought fresh voices and a broad range of relevant topics to Calvin University during its interim classes.  English professor Karen Saupe, who teaches the “Inside the January Series” interim class, describes it as “…a sampler plate of a liberal arts education, with a taste of disciplines you know and love mixed in with areas of study you have never encountered.”  Saupe continues, “Each year’s lineup invites us to consider important issues in health, politics, religion, science, creative arts, history, sports, education, and technology…”

This year is no exception. The series begins January 8 with Calvin’s own Amber Warners, head coach of the volleyball program on campus. Her lecture, “The Fierce Humility in Winning,” will kick off the month of diverse stories. Sandra Postel (director of the Global Water Policy Project), Bob Fu (founder of ChinaAid), Ann Compton (former member of the White House press corps) and Alice Marie Johnson (recently commuted of her life sentence by President Trump) are only a few of the renowned authors and speakers that will be presenting in the 2020 January Series. One musical group will also be in the line-up, a piano quintet called The 5 Browns. The musical group, siblings Ryan, Gregory, Desirae, Melody and Deondra, will perform together onstage. 

 Director of the January Series Kristi Potter hopes this year’s line-up will inspire students to listen to one another. “You need to be able to listen,” Potter said, going on to urge students to hear and value opposing views, even in areas where they may not want to agree. This theme is especially noticeable in the lecture of Todd Charles Wood and Darrel R. Falk, two scientists who will be speaking together on January 9. While both are Christian scientists, one believes in theistic evolution (the idea that evolution is real but was set in motion by God) while the other is a six-day creationist. 

Potter explains, “Both of them believe that the other is wrong. Both of them actually believe that the other is harming the church, but they have learned that they are both Christians and loved by God.” Potter hopes their lecture, in the form of mediated discussion, will motivate students to hold space for opposing opinions in their own lives. She also wants students and community members to leave the 15-lecture series feeling hopeful. “There’s a lot going on in the world, but there’s a lot of good stuff too,” she says. “I’m hoping our audience leaves with hope that they can make a difference.” 

Free to Calvin students, the lectures are also open to the public, filling the CFAC auditorium from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The series is also typically streamed at 50-plus remote locations, and audio streaming will be available online. The lectures aim to provide a larger perspective to students and community members alike.