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George Fox Forum

Conversation is important, now more than ever.

Speakers at George Fox include our own faculty experts as well as external academics and leaders invited to campus to share perspectives on a variety of topics. Our guests highlight issues relevant to our culture, explore deep academic questions and research, and address prominent issues of faith.

As polarization and information dissemination increase, we must amplify the need to simultaneously think for ourselves and be shaped by others, leaning ever toward Christ as our guide.

Embrace the tension with us. Hear from those pushing the boundaries of critical thinking within a variety of disciplines. Most events are open to the community.

Upcoming Speakers

"Building Trust in an Age of Division"

A discussion with Rev. Jennifer Bailey and David Brooks

June 2nd | 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (PST)

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Portland Seminary, Regent College, and Seattle Pacific University are partnering to offer a series of 3 virtual conversations on urgent topics for Christians. The second one, "Building Trust in an Age of Division" will occur on June 2nd, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (PST).

Click here to register

Recent Content

"Reading the Gospels While Black"

A conversation between Esau McCaulley and N.T. Wright

April 28, 2021

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Portland Seminary, Regent College, and Seattle Pacific University partnered to offer a series of 3 virtual conversations on urgent topics for Christians.

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Unique Page

Reaching Out in Faith During the Pandemic

March 2021

Unique Page - "Researchers took a nationwide sample to explore changes in loneliness in response to the social- restriction-measures taken to control the coronavirus's spread. Given the significant concerns that popular press articles and scientific publications have stated about social and physical distancing leading to increases in loneliness, the researchers assumed that people would have experienced greater levels of loneliness as the pandemic bared down on our country. However, their findings were contrary to what they expected. Participants perceived that they experienced MORE support from others over the study period, which culminated in the experience that even if connections are happening in ways other-than-in person…individuals, families, and communities can still come together and feel emotionally close. How profound! That in the midst of suffering, God's grace abounds."

This is the final part of a four-part series on suffering and faith.

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Javier Garcia

Bonhoeffer, the Psalms and Suffering

February 2021

Dr. Javier Garcia - "The first thing to say is that God does not shy away from the sorrows of the world. The scriptures are filled with examples of human suffering from Genesis to Revelation. You name it, it’s there—sickness, death, grief; sin, vice, evil—the full scope of human tragedy is almost embarrassingly on display. Indeed, it is a strange miracle that the Bible includes the Book of Job which offers an unflinching examination of suffering and the problem of evil. It might not provide clear cut answers to the question “Why?” but it affirms a fundamental truth that God wants us to voice our needs to him. Again and again the Bible encourages us to cry out to him in our dereliction. We are to bring our whole heart to God in the midst of our trials."

This is the third part of a four-part series on suffering and faith.

 

The George Fox University Concert Choir offers a musical interpretation of some of the thoughts Dr. Garcia explores here.

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Abigail Favale

The Gift of Suffering

February 2021

Dr. Abigail Favale - "Suffering strips life down to its barest bones. In times of plenitude, it’s easy to be lulled into the lie that we are in control, that we are strong and can take care of ourselves, that we don’t really need other people, and we certainly don’t need God. Suffering cuts through all that like a beam from a magnifying glass that exposes what actually matters, forcing us to reckon with the deep questions that, in times of comfort, we can easily ignore."

This is the second part of a four-part series on suffering and faith.

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Bill Jolliff

on Robert Frost and "What to make of a diminished thing"

February 2021

The Pandemic took us by surprise, and our lives have been altered forever. For Christians, the situation we’re in touches one of the most sensitive nerves of the faith—how do we account for horrible suffering, even innocent suffering, in a world where we believe God is both good and all powerful? For this lecture series, we’ve invited some of our best professors to give us their best, with the following instructions: Help us make sense of our world at the intersection of suffering, thoughtful Christian faith, and your own academic discipline. And so we present to you: The George Fox Digital Pandemic Lectures on Suffering and Faith.

This is the first part of a four-part series.

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Joseph Clair and Dominic Done

A conversation about calling

February 2021

GFU Executive Dean Joseph Clair and Pastor and Professor Dominic Done take a deep dive into the subject of God’s calling, both for the individual and the collective Church. In a recent Barna poll, 40 percent of Christians admitted to having no clear sense of God’s calling on their lives. But God is using the disruption of 2020-21 to get our attention and, if we let Him, bring us to a place of healthy reconstruction. Join us, for this rich dialogue between two colleagues and friends about finding true and lasting purpose—not because of the things we do, but because of who we can become in Christ.

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Justin Giboney

"A Faithful Christian Public Witness"

OCTOBER 2020 | Sponsored by the President's Speaker Series

Justin Giboney is cofounder of the AND Campaign, an attorney, and a political strategist in Atlanta. He has served as a delegate for the Democratic National Convention and as the co- chair of Obama for America's Gen44-Atlanta initiative. Together with Michael Wear and Chris Butler, Giboney published Compassion (&) Conviction: The AND Campaign's Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement .

As part of this year’s President’s Speaker Series, Giboney addresses the George Fox community about being a faithful Christian witness and all that entails.

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Jemar Tisby

"Complicity in Racism: The Path Forward"

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30TH | A virtual event sponsored by the Honors Program Speaker Series

Join us for an incredible hour-long conversation with Jemar Tisby, a public historian with the ability to explore racial justice solutions and cultural conversations that compel audiences to action. Tisby brings history to bear with contemporary relevance. His style offers richly-informed explorations, unflinching moral insight, and clear paths forward. Moderated by provost Andrea Scott and professor Joseph Clair.

Tisby (BA, Notre Dame; MDiv, RTS Jackson) is an author, speaker and president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective , for which he writes about race, religion and culture. He also co-hosts the podcast " Pass The Mic ," which amplifies dynamic voices for a diverse church.

His writing has been featured in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, CNN, Vox, and The New York Times. He is author of the award-winning book The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church's Complicity in Racism , which received Book of the Year honors from the Englewood Review of Books in 2019, and Best Religion and Spirituality Books from the Library Journal.

Tisby, a PhD candidate in history at the University of Mississippi, is also working with The Witness Foundation to raise $1,000,000 for an endowment to financially support the ongoing work of Black Christian ministries.

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Professor Ron Mock

The Civility Project

OCTOBER 2020 | Sponsored by the President's Speaker Series

In October, Professor of Politics Emeritus Ron Mock hosted the 2020 George Fox Civility Project, beginning with an introductory session on what civility is, its grounding for Christians in basic elements of our faith, and its roots for political leaders in their fundamental duty to be stewards of our political culture

In the second session, Mock had participants complete a field test of the political civility inventory while they watched the vice presidential debate. Following, George Fox professors Mark Hall and Phil Smith engaged in a debate about who should get our vote for president.

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Interview with Antipas Harris

Author, Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color

SEPTEMBER 2020 | Sponsored by the President's Speaker Series

George Fox University's provost Andrea Scott dives into an interview with Antipas Harris, author of Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color. Follow along as they tackle the book's themes and discuss its takeaways.

This fall, every employee is reading the book and engaged in discussions around it as part of George Fox's commitment to initiatives and programs surrounding diversity and change in our university.

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Bret Tobalske

‘Nature’s Ultimate Flying Animals: The Biomechanics and Aerodynamics of Hummingbirds’

FEBRUARY 2020 | Sponsored by the Biology Department

Tobalske is known worldwide for his work on flight biomechanics in birds. In his work, he uses methods including high-speed video to make kinematic measurements, particle image velocimetry to measure airflow characteristics, and sonomicrometry to measure muscle activity.

Tobalske has constructed a large wind tunnel that he uses for studies of forward flight in birds and convective heat transfer in stationary structures (e.g. nests), and also uses preserved wings attached to a motor to study how airflow across the wing changes with wing design. 

Tobalske spoke to the George Fox community about his work, which closely corresponds to biology professor Don Powers’ work on heat dissipation during flight in hummingbirds. Science magazine published his infrared imaging here.

 

Rev. Sunggu Yang

Rev. Sunggu Yang

‘King's Speech: Preaching Reconciliation in a World of Violence and Chasm’

FEBRUARY 2020 | Sponsored by the President's Speaker Series

Sunggu Yang joined George Fox’s College of Christian Studies in 2017 as an assistant professor of Christian ministries. Before his arrival, he served as the Louisville Institute’s Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, where he taught courses ranging from homiletics and worship to prophetic ministry. One of his innovative courses was “Film & Preaching: The Gospel According to Hollywood.”

Yang is the author of two books, King’s Speech: Preaching Reconciliation in a World of Violence and Chasm (2019) and Evangelical Pilgrims from the East: Faith Fundamentals of Korean American Protestant Diasporas (2016), and two books that are in progress, Picasso and Preaching: An Aesthetic Homiletic for the 21st Century and Sacred Waters: Pastoral Essays for Aspiring Preachers.

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Ian H. Hutchinson

‘The True Story of Science and Faith’

JANUARY 2020 | Sponsored by the Dalton Lecture Series

Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an international expert on the physics of plasmas, the ionized fourth state of matter, spoke on the topic of science and faith as part of the university’s annual Dalton Lecture Series.

In his presentation, Hutchinson addressed the presumption that science and religion are incompatible competitors for our intellectual allegiance, arguing this “warfare myth” is contradicted by a serious knowledge of history, and by a serious understanding of science and Christianity.

Continued promotion of the myth by secular advocates distorts both science and faith, he argued. Their true relationship is a complex story, but leads to a reaffirmation that God is revealed in both the Book of His Word (the Bible) and the Book of His Works (nature).

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Noah Toly

‘The Gardener’s Dirty Hands’

JANUARY 2020 | Sponsored by the Honors Program Speaker Series

In this powerful lecture, Noah Toly offered an interpretation of environmental governance that draws upon insights into the tragic the need to forego, give up, undermine, or destroy one or more goods in order to possess or secure one or more other goods.

Toly engaged Christian and classical Greek ideas of the tragic to illuminate the enduring challenges of environmental politics. He suggested that Christians have unique resources for responsible engagement with global environmental politics while acknowledging the need for mutually agreed, and ultimately normative, restraints.

Toly is professor of urban studies and politics & international relations at Wheaton College, where he directs the Center for Urban Engagement. He also serves as Non-Resident Senior Fellow for Global Cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and as a member of the faculty at the Free University of Berlin's Center for Global Politics.

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Asma Uddin

‘When Islam is Not a Religion’

JANUARY 2020 | Sponsored by the Honors Program Speaker Series

Uddin is one of the country's premier religious liberty lawyers, applying her scholarship to the protection of religious expression for people of all faiths in the U.S. and abroad.

 

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Mark David Hall

‘Did America Have a Christian Founding?’

NOVEMBER 2019 | 

George Fox politics professor Mark David Hall was recently appointed to the Oregon Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. His book, Did America Have a Christian Founding?, made World Magazine’s “2019 Books of the Year” in its “Best History Books” category.

Hall made multiple speaking engagements in 2019 across the U.S., including at Princeton University and the State Department. His lectures and writing are efforts to dispel misconceptions that the Founders were deists who desired the strict separation of church and state, arguing that there are good reasons to believe many were influenced by orthodox Christianity and that virtually none of them favored anything approximating a contemporary understanding of the separation of church and state.

He recently participated in a debate on the topic with Andrew Seidel, representing the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The event took place in the Edstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium and aired on C-SPAN’s Book Channel.

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Scott Finnie

‘Reflections on Dr. King and the Beloved Community’

OCTOBER 2019 | Sponsored by the President's Speaker Series

Scott Finnie, PhD, has been a faculty member in Eastern Washington University’s Africana Education Program and history department since 1992 and currently serves as director of Africana studies and as director of race and cultural studies. He has made more than 40 presentations worldwide in the last 10 years, including visits to Oxford in England, Mexico City, Atlanta, San Francisco, San Diego, Sao Paulo, and Honolulu.

His presentations have covered themes surrounding civil rights, affirmative action, servant leadership, diversity and cross-cultural communication, the American criminal justice system, and faculty hiring in higher education.

In addition, he has published a dozen articles in numerous publications, including The National Social Science Journal, Investigating Diversity: Race, Ethnicity and Beyond, The Oxford Round Table Journal, The Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, and The International Journal of Servant Leadership.

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Pat Gelsinger, CEO, VMware

OCTOBER 2019 | Sponsored by the President's Speaker Series

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, spoke on balancing work, family and faith. VMware is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and digital workspace technology.

A recent article on VMware in Forbes described the company this way: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that VMware stands at the center of the IT universe. The company’s software touches nearly every element of modern IT architecture.” VMware employs more than 24,000 employees and revenue for fiscal 2018 was nearly $9 billion.

Gelsinger has nearly 40 years of technology and leadership experience. Since joining VMware in 2012,the company has doubled in size, with its cloud, mobility, networking and security offerings providing a dynamic and efficient digital foundation to over 500,000 customers globally, aided by an ecosystem of 75,000 partners. Based on his efforts, Fortune magazine named Gelsinger one of its top “Businesspersons of the Year” in 2018.

Prior to joining VMware, Gelsinger was president and chief operating officer of EMC’s Infrastructure and Products Group. There, he was responsible for all of EMC’s products – including storage, data analytics, security, management and data protection products, analytics, and the large majority of EMC’s revenue.

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Randy S. Woodley

Indigenous Theology as Original Instructions and a Critique of the Western Christian Worldview’

OCTOBER 2019 | George Fox Faculty Travel Lecture Sponsored by Acadia Divinity College

The Portland Seminary’s Randy S. Woodley traveled to Nova Scotia to give the prestigious Hayward Lectures at Acadia Divinity College, the first George Fox professor to be extended the invitation to do so.

The lectures provided academic dialogue to stimulate critical engagement and reflection on key and emerging ideas in church history, Christian theology and biblical studies. Acadia hosts the event to give world-class scholars in the aforementioned disciplines the opportunity to present their freshest work and emerging or disruptive ideas in the formats of lecture, conversation and writing.

While in Nova Scotia, Woodley also spoke at an Acadia chapel service, addressed Acadia faculty, engaged in several interviews, and preached at St. Andrews United Church of Canada in Halifax. The lecture series was entitled, “Indigenous Theology as Original Instructions and a Critique of the Western Christian Worldview.”

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Meghan Sullivan

‘The Love Imperative — A Defense’

OCTOBER 2019 | Sponsored by the Honors Program Speaker Series

We naturally think of love as discriminatory – you love your partner more than strangers, your friends more than your adversaries, and your home team over opponents. Indeed, most philosophers – influenced by the Greeks – have worked hard to carve out a theory of when and why we are permitted to be so partial in our affections.

Universal love, if we can even understand it, seems only like an option for saints or hippies, not a realistic or practical ethical framework for most of us. Meghan Sullivan’s lecture provoked listeners to think deeply about their philosophical approach to ethics and the motivation behind their morality.

Sullivan is professor of philosophy and the Rev. John A O’Brien Collegiate Chair at the University of Notre Dame. Her research tends to focus on philosophical problems concerning time, modality, rational planning, value theory, and religious belief (and sometimes all five at once).

She has published work in many of the leading philosophy journals, including Nous, Ethics and Philosophical Studies. Sullivan is deeply interested in the ways philosophy contributes to the good life and the best methods for promoting philosophical thought.

Sullivan’s lecture will be available for download upon the completion of her associated paper, expected in late 2020.

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Ray Barfield

‘Seeking God in the Ruins: A Pediatric Oncologist's Story of Finding Beauty and Hope Amidst Suffering and Death’

SEPTEMBER 2019 | Sponsored by the Honors Program Speaker Series

Ray Barfield lost his Christian faith after witnessing the suffering of children with cancer. Though he later returned to Christianity, his doubts transformed his perspective on human flourishing. In his presentation at George Fox, Barfield shared how it’s not so much the absence of suffering but our response to it that fosters wholeness.

Barfield is a pediatric oncologist and palliative care physician. He joined the faculties of Duke's Medical School and Divinity School in 2008. The first half of his career focused on improving immune therapies for childhood cancer and understanding the moral aspects of decision-making in medical research involving children.

At Duke he has focused on the role of theology, humanities, and the arts in the formation of physicians. He was the founding director of two programs at Duke: Pediatric Quality of Life and Palliative Care and Theology, Medicine, and Culture. Currently, he is the director of the Medical Humanities Program for the Trent Center for Bioethics, Medical Humanities, and History of Medicine in the Medical School. He has published widely in medicine, philosophy and literature.

In addition to Ray Barfield, a panelist event earlier in the day included Kristen Lakis, Duke University; Pam Fifer, GFU School of Nursing; Daniel Kang, GFU Department of Physical Therapy. 

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Richard L. Lindroth

‘Climate Change and the Pursuit of Truth in a Post-truth World’

JANUARY 2019 | Sponsored by the Dalton Lecture Series

Against a backdrop of climate-change science, Lindroth explored the fundamental premises of science, why they predispose science to dismissal and denial, how humans engage with facts, and how to improve science communication across ideological, cultural and tribal divisions for the betterment of humanity and sake of the world.

Lindroth is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement professor of ecology and recent associate dean for research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on evolutionary ecology and global change ecology in forest ecosystems.

In his years, he has mentored 24 graduate students and 21 postdoctoral scientists. With over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters, he also has research support from NSF, USDA, DOE, and EPA. He has also been a Fulbright Fellow and a current Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, the Entomological Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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Simon Conway Morris

Simon Conway Morris

‘Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe?’

JANUARY 2018 | Sponsored by the Dalton Lecture Series

Dr. Simon Conway Morris is a professor of evolutionary palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St. John’s College. His principal academic interests are in the Cambrian “explosion” and evolutionary convergence, both of which he addresses in his books: The Crucible of Creation, Life’s Solution and The Runes of Evolution.

Morris has won various awards, including the Walcott Medal from the National Academy, and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Uppsala and Hull. He is active in public outreach of science and delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 1996 as well as the Second Boyle Lecture.

At George Fox, Morris spoke about his research into evolutionary convergence, the idea that the number of biological adaptations to the environment is very low and the likelihood of something akin to humans evolving elsewhere is relatively high. Despite that, humans seem to be completely alone in the universe. He spoke about what that means in terms of faith and the relationship between science and God.

Faculty Authors 

GEORGE FOX FACULTY PUBLICATIONS (2019-20)

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Bill Jolliff (English) published a book, Heeding the Call: A Study of Denise Giardina’s Novels (West Virginia University Press). In it, he offers the first book-length discussion of West Virginia writer and activist Denise Giardina, perhaps best known for her novel Storming Heaven, which helped spark renewed interest in the turn-of-the-century Mine Wars.

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Jennie Harrop  (Adult Degree Program) published a book, The Jesus Quotient: IQ to EQ to AQ (Wipf & Stock). In it, she addresses the idea that, as leaders, our capacity to hear is often muddied by an inability to acknowledge our own insufficiencies and emotions.

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Terry Huffman (education) published An Appalachian School in Coal Country: Facing the Challenges of a Changing Region (Lexington Books). The book examines the struggles and triumphs of Creekside Elementary School, which, despite being in one of the poorest counties in the United States, is achieving unprecedented academic success.

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Paul Otto (history) published Permeable Borders: History, Theory, Policy, and Practice in the United States (Berghahn Books), coediting the volume with Susanne Berthier-Foglar of Université Grenoble Alpes. The essays in the book explore the ways that historical and contemporary actors in the U.S. have crossed borders, whether national, cultural, ethnic, racial or conceptual.

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Mark David Hall (politics) published the book Did America Have a Christian Founding? (Thomas Nelson Books). In it, he debunks the assertion that America’s founders were deists who desired the strict separation of church and state and instead shows that their political ideas were profoundly influenced by their Christian convictions. Also in 2019, Hall coauthored, with Daniel L. Dreisbach, the book Great Christian Jurists in American History (Cambridge University Press), which profiles 19 of America’s most influential Christian jurists from the early colonial era to the pres- ent day.

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Javier Garcia (William Penn Honors Program) released a book, Recovering the Ecumenical Bonhoeffer: Thinking after the Tradition (Lexington Books/Fortress Academic). It explores the possibilities for Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology to revitalize interest in the ecumenical movement and Christian unity today.

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Brenda Morton (education) and Anna Berardi (counseling) released an open access textbook, Trauma-Informed School Practices: Building Expertise to Transform Schools.The text identifies trauma- informed educator competencies and how these advancements invite systemic change involving all who are committed to K-12 education.

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Sarita Edwards (Christian studies) coauthored a book, Breaking through the Boundaries: God’s Mission from the Outside In (Orbis Books).The volume features insights from four experienced missiologists, who draw upon biblical narratives to highlight key roles played by those outside established Jewish/Christian religious tradi- tion in the service of God’s mission.

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Kent Yinger (seminary) released a book, God and Human Wholeness: Perfection in Biblical and Theological Tradition (Cascade). In it, he argues that God intends flourishing and wholeness for his human creation rather than “perfection.”

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Sunggu Yang (Christian studies) published a book, King’s Speech: Preaching Reconciliation in a World of Violence and Chasm (Cascade Books), in which he recalls Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s timeless messages on violence and reconciliation rooted in his theological foundation of a universal, yet personal, loving God.