Gordon in the News: last updated 08/07/2008

Saint Francis, Genomics and Poverty

Aug. 7, 2008

Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA-From Francis of Assisi and Reinhold Niebuhr to perspectives on power, genomics and globalization, Gordon College's Fall 2008 Faith Seeking Understanding Lecture Series promises a host of thought-provoking topics with prominent guest speakers. Each lecture is free and open to the public.

Columbia University's director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion, Ahmet Kuru, will begin the lectures on Thursday, August 28 with the topic of "Western Secularism and the Middle East."  Kuru's research has included comparative political systems and state-religion relations in the United States, France, and Turkey.

Moving from religious tensions to Christian influences, veteran journalist Wendy Murray will next discuss the notion of "Evangelical Saints" on Monday, Sept. 15. Murray, author of the recent book, A Mended and Broken Heart: The Life and Love of Francis of Assisi, has written extensively on evangelical issues.

Wilfred McClay moves the series toward an examination of specific thinkers and their impact on modern life. McClay is the University of Tennessee SunTrust Chair of Excellence in Humanities and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. His lecture, "Revisiting the Idea of Progress: Butterfield, Dawson, and Niebuhr" will take place Thursday, Sept.18.

As part of Gordon's ongoing commitment to the sciences and in conjunction with the opening of the Ken Olsen Science Center, Dr. Francis Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, will speak Saturday, Sept. 27, to the issue of "Genomics and the Human Condition." Collins led the successful effort to complete the Human Genome Project (HGP), a complex multidisciplinary scientific enterprise directed at mapping and sequencing all of the human DNA, and determining aspects of its function.

The next week on Thursday, Oct. 2, Amy Sherman, author, urban advocate and Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute on Policy Research, will explore themes of "Poverty and the Stewardship of Power" in her lecture. Sherman brings personal as well as professional insight to the subject of economic justice.

Reinforcing Gordon's global emphasis, the lecture series concludes in the fall semester with renowned British author and theologian, Os Guinness. Guinness, author of several books and most recently, The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It, will deliver three talks around the theme of globalization: "Survival of the Fastest: Living Sanely When Life is Fired Point Blank" on Wed. Oct. 22; "Evangelicalism at the Crossroads: A Conversation with Stan Gaede" on Thursday, Oct. 23; and  "Semper Fi: Standing Firm in Faith in the Modern Global Era" on Friday, Oct. 24.

Begun in 2003 and funded in part by the Lilly Endowment, Inc, the Faith Seeking Understanding Lecture Series at Gordon College explores the implications of Christian thought and practice, the theology of vocation, intellectual commitment, ethics and more. These year-long series of lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information or for a schedule of the Spring FSU Lecture Series, please visit www.gordon.edu/fsu or contact the Jerusalem and Athens Forum at or 978.867.4227.

For media information, please contact at 978.867.4260 in the Office of College Communications.

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Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The college offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.