Creative Conversations – Spring 2016

Join us this Spring for Creative Conversations. Bring your curiosity and join in the conversation about the discovery, creation, and sharing of knowledge! Creative Conversation Spring 2016

Where: Library Reading Room, Main Floor (Wheelchair Accessible)
Cost: Free
All are welcome!

Camellia Freeman, Image Milton Fellow
Thursday, April 28th
3 – 3:50 p.m.

Writing the Body: Form, Politics, and Physicality in the Personal Essay

For the annual Image Milton Fellow Lecture, Camellia Freeman will be discussing the personal essay. The personal essay is at once intimate and public, personal and political. At its center, the subjective “I” acts as the sieve through which everything first passes. While some essayists write from a seemingly disembodied perspective—speaking from an “I” that chooses to ignore its physicality—others are “writing the body.” In this session, we will look to these writers, such as Claudia Rankine, Leslie Jamison, and Jenny Boully, who recognize the importance of locating and examining the body in American culture.

Daniel Castelo,Theology
Thursday, May 5th
3 – 3:50 p.m.

Pentecostalism as a Mystical Tradition.

There are many different accounts of how Pentecostalism can be understood. One theme that has been mentioned repeatedly but not fully developed is that Pentecostalism is similar to mysticism. In a book that will be coming out of Eerdmans in the next year or so, I offer an account of what this identification can mean, its difficulties, and its prospects regarding a general understanding of what Pentecostalism is.”

Rolin Moe, ETM
Thursday, May 12th
12 – 12:50 p.m.

Defining Innovation:  A Critical Look at the Language of Educational Progress

One of Merriam-Webster’s most searched words in 2014, innovation was also Advertising Week’s Most Overused Word of 2012.  The word is ubiquitous.  In today’s parlance, a technology is innovative, a business, a social media practice — but what meaning are people intending to convey when they say something is innovative?  How does this meaning match with how the word exists in education, business and beyond?

This discussion will explore a thorough and critical look at the term innovation, its use in society, and the hidden histories of the term and its usage.  The discussion is based on a museum installation on the topic shared at the Innovate 2016 conference through MERLOT and the Online Learning Consortium.  Innovation predominantly discusses a “forward-moving” good or service; however, there is no consensus nor rubrics or instruments to measure what we mean when we say innovation.  Is innovation an attribute of a good or service or is it a psychological trigger for society, used to elicit an emotional response without considering the politics, history or outcomes of its use and adoption?  In 2016 that response is triggered to the positive, while historically the response was triggered to the negative.

Robert Baah, Spanish
Thursday, May 19th
3 – 3:50 p.m.

Psalm 58 and the Way of Justice: Perspectives from Father Ernesto Cardenal

When the rich and powerful conspire to deny justice to the poor and needy; when the economic system is set up to exploit the working class; and when the oligarchy uses violence and intimidation to repress the proletariat,  who steps in to restore law and order? Priest-poet Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua rewrites Psalm 58 and offers a seemingly controversial response for our generation.


Night Against Procrastination

SPU will be holding our first ever “Night Against Procrastination” (or NAP) event on Wednesday, 2/24 from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. 

IMG_2018NAP events have been happening across Europe and the US. This year, SPU will join the ranks and take a stand against procrastination.  Our goal is to get as many students as possible in the Ames Library working on end of the quarter papers, projects, and exam prep–to avoid procrastination and have fun getting their work done!

If you are interested in getting involved–perhaps sitting at a study table for an hour, helping with advertising and promotions, or working at the check-in desk–please contact Peter Moe (

Fun will include hourly drawings for gift cards; pizza and snacks; and yoga and Zumba study breaks. In addition, Writing Center and Study Tables tutoring will be available, as well as faculty and reference librarians. Here’s the (tentative) schedule:

6-8:30 p.m.

–Writing Center tutors and Study Tables for UFDN, PSY/SOC, and MAT

8:30-11 p.m

–Writing Center tutors and Study Tables for A&P, BIO and CHM

Study Breaks: Yoga and Zumba breaks on the hour; raffle drawings for gift cards at local coffee shops; pizza break at 10; and a grand prize drawing for lunch with President Martin.

Film Friday: The Last Days of Disco

Disco music is such heavenlythe_last_days_of_disco ear candy. But it’s just not hip anymore—now only a parody genre, associated with ugly clothes, sleazy clubs, clear beer, and white powder. Its recent reputation is deserved but also undeserved, and The Last Days of Disco does what it can to reveal the strange silver lining behind all the nonsense. In this film, disco is important to trust-funders, book publishers, lawyers, ad-men, and everyone else who comes in contact with it, and seems to offer something like grace to all who can receive it.

A loose but clever story drifts behind the proceedings, following a yuppie group of friends, living in Manhattan after college. These characters bob in and out of frame, swaying to a sublime soundtrack of Carol Douglas, Blondie and Andrea True, each of them on screen only long enough to deliver their share of witty banter. They love the club: “It’s what I always dreamed of…cocktails, dancing, conversation, exchange of ideas and points of view…everyone’s here—everyone you know, and everyone you don’t know,” gushes Josh, budding defense attorney, to a pal. A real contrast to the banal churn of the workweek, indeed.

Most of them want to fall in love with each other, and some get halfway there, via the sexually liberated dance floor, and other inhibition lowering substances. But they don’t arrive at love, or they realize they aren’t set to arrive any time soon. “I’m beginning to think that maybe that old system of people getting married based on mutual respect and shared aspirations, and then slowly over time earning each other’s love and admiration…worked the best,” muses one character, Alice. “Well, we’ll never know!”, shrugs her friend in reply. Their aims are, on the whole, poor. But they do see the target. They all still believe in love.

They’re all staying alive—is that all? No. The club changes them too, and not entirely for the worse. There they experience all the world has to offer, and then the need for grace, at the end of the party, and for every other burnout. And, importantly, they never stop talking their way through the excellent script in front of them. Through toils and tears, their prattle often turns to wisdom, and they start to live that wisdom, even if they don’t much understand it. One hardly ever sees a film that displays such charity, and good faith in the possibility of living a life touched by grace. At the end of The Last Days of Disco, I found myself grinning forbearingly at the mad, crazy, dance party going on all around me.

– Zachary McNay

Check out Last Days of Disco at the Library – Call Number: PN1997.L378 1999 DVD

Creative Conversations – Spring 2015

Join us this Spring for Creative Conversations. Bring your curiosity and join in conversations about the discovery, creation, and sharing of knowledge.

CC Spring 2015

Where: Library Reading Room, Main Floor (Wheelchair Accessible)
Cost: Free

Christa Pierce, BA ’13
Thursday, April 30th
3–3:50 p.m.

Did You Know How Much I Love You? Children’s Book Publishing with Christa Pierce

SPU Alumna Christa Pierce will be telling the story of how she signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins during her senior finals at SPU, and sharing what industry knowledge she has learned since. Come join the conversation if you love art, writing, or kid’s books, and are interested in learning more about publishing, agents, and editors.

Doug Strong, Theology
Thursday, May 7th
3–3:50 p.m.

Rediscovering our Evangelical Hertiage: A Tradition and Trajectory of Integrating Piety and Justice

In the book by this name published forty years ago, Donald Dayton “showed that many evangelical Christians in the 19th century didn’t distinguish between a private faith focused exclusively on personal salvation and radical concern for the poor and oppressed…It wasn’t an evangelical faith concerned only about heaven and the life hereafter but also about bringing the kingdom of God into this world.” [Quoted from the “Foreword” by Jim Wallis.] Doug Strong, who had the honor of writing a new introduction and conclusion for the republication of this classic text, will be presenting second edition of this book.

Chris Hoke, MFA ’13
Thursday, May 14th
12–12:50 p.m.

Monasticism in Lockdown America: Re-Purposing Prison Cells for Monastic Renewal

As a chaplain in a Washington State county jail for the past ten years, much of Chris’s time is spent with men whose lives are spent in an environment with many of the major ingredients for a monastery: all men, wearing the same clothes, set apart from temptations and their daily hustle of addictions and distractions, deeply examining their lives, while spending most of their days in small bare rooms called cells. At the same time, Chris has been exploring monastic spiritual formation in his own life: community, humility, repentance, quiet, prayer, study and deeper transformation by mercy. He has explored both in practice with inmates, and in writing (in Image Journal’s “Good Letters” blog), how we can appropriate monastic practices inside the hard shell of the America’s dismal penal system. He is considering developing this into my second book.

Dyana Herron, Image Milton Fellow
Thursday, May 21th
12–12:50 p.m.

Laughing in the Dark: Using Humor to Write About (Seriously) Tough Topics

Each year SPU and Image Journal award a one-year writing and teaching fellowship to a postgraduate writer working to complete his or her first full-length fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry manuscript. During this Creative Conversations talk, current Milton Fellow Dyana Herron will discuss her project—which explores the experience of having a family member sentenced to federal prison—while focusing on both the advantages and potential pitfalls of using humor to approach painful or delicate material.

Annual Friends of the Library Lecture

Re-Designing the Bible for Reading, and How Kickstarter Made It Possible

– From the Friends of the Library Newsletter, Spring 2015

In mid-2014, book designer Adam Lewis Greene launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his first independent book publishing endeavor, Bibliotheca. According to Adam,Bibliotheca aims to free biblical literature — a cornerstone of Western culture and storytelling — from the dense, encyclopedic typographic conventions to which it has been almost exclusively relegated for centuries, and to give it fresh expression as a multivolume set of elegant, traditionally designed books conducive to enjoyable reading. The fundraising goal was quickly surpassed 40 times over, totaling over $1.4 million and making Bibliotheca one of the top 50 Kickstarter campaigns to date out of over 197,000.

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Being more or less a student of the age-old disciplines of type design, typography, book design, book illustration, calligraphy, and print, Adam is fascinated with the dissemination of ideas via the book and the letter, as well as the history and future of writingand print. Confronted with an increasing tendency in design culture toward the superficial away from the substantive, he is interested in finding and creating artifacts that possess intrinsic beauty and goodness, and he thinks a well-made book is just about the best example of this. In this lecture — which is free and open to the public — Adam will talk about his vision for Bibliotheca and how he is implementing it. More information about the project is available from Bibliotheca.

Who: Adam Lewis Greene
What: “Re-Designing the Bible for Reading, and How Kickstarter Made It Possible”
When: Thursday, April 23, 7:30–9 p.m.
Where: Upper Gwinn Commons