Plenary Speakers

(in alpha order)

Raymond Barfield

Ray 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 (including bone marrow transplantation and antibody therapy), 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 has published widely in medicine, philosophy, and literature, including several books: Life in the Blind Spot (poetry), The Book of Colors (a novel), The Ancient Quarrel Between Poetry and Philosophy, and Wager: Beauty, Suffering, and Being in the World. Forthcoming books include Dante’s New Moon (poetry),

The Practice of Medicine as Being in Time (philosophy), and The Poetic Apriori: Philosophical Imagination in a Meaningful Universe. Dr. Barfield 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.

https://www.amazon.com/Raymond-Barfield/e/B003ZLTT0I%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share


Elaine Howard Ecklund

Photo of Elaine Howard Ecklund

Elaine Howard Ecklund is the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at Rice University, as well as founding director of the Religion and Public Life Program. Ecklund is a sociologist of religion, immigration, and science who examines how individuals bring changes to religious and scientific institutions.

She is the author of four books with Oxford University Press, one book with New York University Press, and numerous research articles and op-eds. Her most recent book (with colleagues) is Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion (Oxford University Press, 2019). Her forthcoming book, Why Science and Faith Need Each Other: Eight Shared Values That Move Us beyond Fear, will be published with Brazos Press, a division of Baker Books, in May 2020. 

She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, Templeton World Charity Foundation, and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Her research has been cited thousands of times by local, national, and international media. In 2013, she received Rice University’s Charles O. Duncan Award for Most Outstanding Academic Achievement and Teaching. In 2018 she gave the Gifford Lecture in Scotland and in 2019 she was President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

www.elainehowardecklund.com/


Diana Pavlac Glyer

Photo of Diana Glyer. photo (c) Lancia E. Smith   https://lanciaesmith.com/

Diana Pavlac Glyer  Dr. Glyer is a professor of English at Azusa Pacific University. She has published extensively on Lewis, Tolkien, and the Inklings, including contributions to The C. S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia and C. S. Lewis: Life, Works, and Legacy. She is the recipient of the Wade Center’s Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant (1997) and APU’s Chase A. Sawtell Inspirational Teaching Award (2002).

She is a leading expert on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; her book The Company They Keep changed the way we talk about these writers. Her scholarship, her teaching, and her work as an artist all circle back to one common theme: creativity thrives in community.

Her most recent book is BANDERSNATCH: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings.

www.dianaglyer.com


Os Guinness

Os Guinness is an author and social critic. Great-great-great grandson of Arthur Guinness, the Dublin brewer, he was born in China in World War Two where his parents were medical missionaries. A witness to the climax of the Chinese revolution in 1949, he was expelled with many other foreigners in 1951 and returned to Europe where he was educated in England.

Os has written or edited more than thirty books, including The Call, Time for Truth, Unspeakable, A Free People’s Suicide, and The Global Public Square. His latest book, Last Call for Liberty: How America’s Genius for Freedom Has Become Its Greatest Threat, was published in 2018.  

Since moving to the United States in 1984, Os has been a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies, a Guest Scholar and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum and the EastWest Institute in New York. He was the lead drafter of the Williamsburg Charter in 1988, a celebration of the bicentennial of the US Constitution, and later of “The Global Charter of Conscience,” which was published at the European Union Parliament in 2012.

Os has spoken at many of the world’s major universities, and spoken widely to political and business conferences across the world.

www.osguinness.com/


Malcolm Guite

Malcolm Guite is an Anglican priest; Chaplain & Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge University; a poet; and the lead singer and founder of the rock band Mystery Train.

Malcolm teaches Literature and Pastoral Theology for the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges. He is involved with a number of projects linking theology and the arts, and has published poetry, literary criticism and theology in various journals.

His books include nonfiction – Beholding the Glory and What Do Christians Believe? – and poetry – The Singing Bowl; Waiting on the Word: A Poem a Day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany; and The Word in the Wilderness: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter. He contributed to The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis. As founder of the rock band, Mystery Train, he writes lyrics and performs on guitar and vocals.

https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/


Patti Callahan Henry

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of fifteen novels, including Becoming Mrs. Lewis – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, Now a USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and the Globe and Mail bestseller. In addition, she is the recipient of The Christy Award — 2019 Winner of the “Book of the Year.” Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs, and women’s groups. The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original “Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series.” The podcast audiobook was released in January 2020.     

​Her most recent books, The Favorite Daughter and The Perfect Love Song were released in 2019. Patti’s previous books include Losing the Moon, Between the Tides; Where the River Runs; When Light Breaks; Between the Tides; The Art of Keeping Secrets; Driftwood Summer; The Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story; Coming Up for Air; And Then I Found You; The Stories We Tell; The Idea of Love; The Bookshop at Water’s End; and Becoming Mrs. Lewis

A finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year, Patti is published in numerous languages. Her articles and essays have appeared in Southern Living, PINK, Writer’s Digest, Garden and Gun, Portico Magazine, Love Magazine (UK), Red Magazine (UK), Atlanta Journal, Birmingham Magazine, and more. Her essays can also be found in anthologies and collections such as Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy; Southern Writers Writing, and State of the Heart.

Growing up in Philadelphia as the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Patti learned early the value of storytelling. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time.

https://www.patticallahanhenry.com/


Bruce Herman

Bruce Herman is a painter and educator living and working in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Herman holds the Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts at Gordon College where has has taught and curated exhibitions since 1984. He completed both undergraduate and graduate fine arts degrees at Boston University College of Fine Arts with graduate work under Philip Guston and James Weeks; undergraduate work with David Aronson, Reed Kay, and Arthur Polonsky.

Herman lectures widely and has had work published in many books, journals, and popular magazines––most recently in Through Your Eyes (Wm. B. Eerdman Books). His artwork has been exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions in eleven major cities including Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

His work has been exhibited internationally, including Kings College Chapel, Cambridge University; Hong Kong University; Palazzo Dei Sette in Orvieto, Italy; in Canada, Israel, and soon in Japan. Herman’s art is featured in many public and private collections including the Vatican Museum of Modern Religious Art in Rome; The Cincinnati Museum of Fine Arts; DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts; the Hammer Museum, Grunwald Print Collection, Los Angeles; the Cape Ann Museum, and in many university galleries throughout the United States and Canada.

www.bruceherman.com


Alan Noble

Alan Noble is assistant professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University and cofounder and editor-in-chief of Christ and Pop Culture.

He is the author of Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age. Alan has written articles for Christian publications such as Modern Reformation, InTouch Magazine, and Christianity Today and for secular publications like VOX, Buzzfeed, and The Atlantic.

He has been interviewed, quoted, or cited in a number of major publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, MTV News, MSNBC, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, Politico, Village Voice, Yahoo! News, ThinkProgress, The Blaze, WORLD Magazine, and Slate.

He has spoken at colleges, churches, and youth groups on a range of topics related to the church and culture.

https://www.oalannoble.com


Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior is Professor of English at Liberty University, where she has won multiple teaching awards. She writes frequently on literature, culture, ethics, and ideas. Her writing appears at Christianity Today, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, First Things, Vox, Think Christian, The Gospel Coalition, Books and Culture and other places.

She is the author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books, Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (T. S. Poetry Press, 2012), Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist (Thomas Nelson, 2014), and On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Literature (Brazos, 2018). Karen gives frequent lectures and talks on her work.

Her academic focus is British literature, with a specialty in the eighteenth century, a period she loves for its emphasis on philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and community, as well as its efforts at correcting the universal human impulse to gravitate toward extremes. Her scholarly work has appeared in 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era; The Shandean; The Scriblerian and various literary encyclopedias.

She is a Senior Fellow with Liberty University’s Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, a Senior Fellow with the Trinity Forum, and a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States.

https://karenswallowprior.com


Michael Wear

Michael Wear serves as Chief Strategist and a member of the executive team for The And Campaign. He is a leading expert, speaker and strategist at the intersection of faith, politics and American public life.

As one of President Obama’s “ambassadors to America’s believers” (Buzzfeed), Michael directed faith outreach for President Obama’s historic 2012 re-election campaign. Michael was also one of the youngest White House staffers in modern American history: he served in the White House faith-based initiative during President Obama’s first term, where he led evangelical outreach and helped manage The White House’s engagement on religious and values issues, including adoption and anti-human trafficking efforts.

Michael is also the founder of Public Square Strategies LLC, a sought-after firm that helps religious organizations, political organizations, businesses and others effectively navigate the rapidly changing American religious and political landscape.

Michael is the author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America. He also writes for The Atlantic, Christianity Today, USA Today, Relevant Magazine and other publications on faith, politics and culture. Michael is a Senior Fellow at The Trinity Forum, and he holds an honorary position at the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Center for the Public Understanding of Religion.

http://michaelwear.com/


Philip Yancey

Philip Yancey is a best-selling author and speaker who explores the most basic questions and deepest mysteries of the Christian faith. Early on he crafted best-selling books such as Disappointment with God and Where is God When it Hurts? while also editing The Student Bible. He coauthored three books with the renowned surgeon Dr. Paul Brand. More recently, he has felt the freedom to explore central issues of the Christian faith, penning award-winning titles such as The Jesus I Never Knew, What’s So Amazing About Grace? and Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? His books have garnered 13 Gold Medallion Awards from Christian publishers and booksellers. He currently has more than 15 million books in print, published in over 50 languages worldwide.

Yancey worked as a journalist in Chicago for some twenty years, editing the youth magazine Campus Life while also writing for a wide variety of magazines including Reader’s Digest, Saturday Evening Post, National Wildlife, and Christianity Today. In the process he interviewed diverse people enriched by their personal faith, such as President Jimmy Carter, Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller, and Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement.

“I write books for myself,” he says. “I’m a pilgrim, recovering from a bad church upbringing, searching for a faith that makes its followers larger and not smaller. I feel overwhelming gratitude that I can make a living writing about the questions that most interest me. My books are a process of exploration and investigation of things I wonder about and worry about.” Yancey writes with an eye for detail, irony, and honest skepticism.

“I tend to go back to the Bible as a model, because I don’t know a more honest book,” Yancey explains. “I can’t think of any argument against God that isn’t already included in the Bible. To those who struggle with my books, I reply, ‘Then maybe you shouldn’t be reading them.’ Yet some people do need the kinds of books I write. They’ve been burned by the church or they’re upset about certain aspects of Christianity. I understand that feeling of disappointment, even betrayal. I feel called to speak to those living in the borderlands of faith.”

https://philipyancey.com

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