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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Events Spring 2008


January 11, Neely Dining Hall, 10:00 a.m., Justice for All with Dr. John Perkins, who was beaten and tortured by the sheriff and the state police during Mississippi’s segregation era.  His brother was murdered by a deputy marshal.   Through it all, Dr. Perkins returned good for evil, love for hate, progress for prejudice and brought hope to black and white alike. Despite dropping out of school in the third grade, he has written nine books, been awarded seven honorary doctorates, and is co-founder and chairman of the Christian Community Development Association.

January 16, Neely Dining Hall, 10:00 a.m., Faith and Immigration: Welcome or a Wall? with Strangers No More: Faithful Voices for Solidarity co-founders Emily Snyder and Steven Miles, who work to educate people of faith about issues related to immigration, and to encourage the type of theological reflection that will lead to action that brings justice to immigrants. 

January 25, Massey Performing Arts Center, 10:00 a.m.,  Divided and United by Faith with Dr. Renita Weems, the author of several widely acclaimed books on spirituality and wholeness.  Her special talent is in drawing inspirational wisdom from stories in the Bible about the triumphs and failures of ordinary people.  Ebony Magazine calls her one of America's top 15 preachers and she has been featured on PBS, the BBC, National Public Radio, and A&E.  Her book Listening for God: A Minister's Journey through Silence and Doubtwas honored for excellence in communicating spiritual values to the secular media. She has a B.A. from Wellesley Collegeand an M.A. and Ph.D. fromPrinceton Theological Seminary.  She taught on the faculties of Vanderbilt and Spelman Universities for over 15 years.

January 28,  Neely Dining Hall, 10:00 a.m., Being the Good News vs. Imposing Your Own Views with Dr. Leonard Sweet, the author of more than 100 articles and 30 books, most recently The Gospel According to Starbucks.  He has served at Drew University as both a professor and as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Theological School.  He was on the faculty of George Fox University and was President of United Theological Seminaryin Dayton, Ohio. 

January 30, Neely Dining Hall, 10:00 a.m., Spiritual Practices for the 21st Century with Tony Jones, the national coordinator of Emergent U.S. ( and a senior research fellow in practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of Cultivating Authentic Community, Creating Holistic Connections, The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life, The Most Difficult Journey You'll Ever Make: The Pilgrim's Progress and You Converted Me: The Confessions of St. Augustine.


February 6, Neely Dining Hall, 10:00 a.m., Ash Wednesday Service with Deacon Bob True of Christ the King Catholic Church and Rev. Todd Lake.  This ecumenical service marks the beginning of the 40 day Lenten fast prior to the celebration of Easter.

February 8, Bunch Multimedia Hall, 10:00 a.m., Serve God, Save the Planet with Dr. Matthew Sleeth, a former emergency room physician who has dramatically cut his energy use by more than two thirds.  Dr. Sleeth resigned from his position as chief of medical staff and director of ER to lecture and write; his book, Serve God, Save the Planet:  A Christian Call to Action has garnered national attention as part of the Evangelical Climate Initiative.  

February 13, Massey Boardroom, 10:00 a.m., A Celebrity Drummer on Temptation and Sexual Abstinence with Zoro.  One of the America’s most respected drummers, Zoro has toured and recorded with Lenny Kravitz, Bobby Brown, Frankie Valli, Sean Lennon, and Lisa Marie Presley. He has been consistently voted “#1 R&B Drummer” in Modern Drummer and bothDrum! and Rhythm magazines. He is a national spokesperson for Compassion International, a Christian child advocacy ministry.

February 29, Massey Boardroom, 10:00 a.m., The First Americans with Native American Novelist and Poet Diane Glancy has received the American Book Award and the Native American Prose Award.  Glancy is a professor at Macalester College and Kenyon College, where she teaches Native American Literature and Creative Writing. Her 9 novels include Pushing the Bear, a novel of the Trail of Tears; Flutie; and Stone Heart: A Novel of Sacajawea.  She has authored 5 short story collections and 8 collections of plays and essays, in addition to 14 books of poetry, most recently Asylum in the Grasslands (2007). 


March 5, Bunch Multimedia Hall, 10:00 a.m., Faith-Informed Sociology with Drs. Andi Stepnick (sociology dept. chair), Shelby Longard and Ken Spring.  Sociology faculty will talk about how Christian faith informs their lives and their work as professors of sociology.

March 12, Massey Board Room, 10:00 a.m., The Iraq War with Drs. Andy Watts and Todd Lake.  On the 5th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, they will explore why many Christians consider this war unjust, and how those living in the midst of the American Empire can respond.

March 31, April 1 - 2, Beaman A & B, Hispanic Immigration Forum sponsored by Belmont University and Hands on Nashville brings together experts in the field, front line activists, and both clergy and academic leaders in the world of Hispanic immigration.  

March 31, Beaman A & B, 10:00 a.m., Immigrants and Economic Justice with Rev. Jessica Vazquez Torres, National Religious Outreach Coordinator for Interfaith Worker Justice.  IWJ is a network of people of faith that calls upon our religious values in order to educate and mobilize the religious community in the United States on issues that will improve wages, benefits and conditions for workers.


April 2, Beaman A & B, 10:00 a.m., Incarnating Hope for Immigrants with Padre Fernando Garcia (Catholic Church), Rev. Chuy Avila (Tennessee Baptist Convention) Rev. Ricardo Santiago (Church of Christ), and Rev. German Castro (Christian Church) This panel of community leaders is united in living out the biblical command: “you shall love the alien as you love yourself.” They will share stories of the legal and personal difficulties immigrants face, as well as reasons for hope.

April 4, Neely Dining Hall, 10:00 a.m., Spirituality, Medicine and Health with Dr. John Peteet, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.  His books include Doing the Right Thing: An Approach to Moral Issues in Mental Health Treatment and the Handbook of Spirituality and World View in Clinical Practice. He chairs the American Psychiatric Association's Committee on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry. Dr. Peteet has received numerous awards for teaching and has published scores of papers in the areas of psychosocial oncology, addiction, and the clinical interface between spirituality and psychiatry.

April 9, Neely Dining Hall, 10:00 a.m., Business and the Poor with David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World

David Beckmann earned degrees from Yale University, the London School of Economics, and Christ Seminary, and has received honorary doctorates from Villanova and Yale. His books include Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World, Transforming the Politics of Hunger and Friday Morning Reflections at the World Bank. Rev. Beckmann was called by the Lutheran church to be a "missionary-economist," connecting Christian faith and moral teaching to economic life. He served in a church-supported development program in rural Bangladesh, then moved to the World Bank for 15 years.  In addition to being president of Bread for the World, one of the largest organizations in the world dedicated to building the political will to end hunger, he is the founder and president of the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages corporations and other organizations to build the public will to end hunger.

April 16, Hope for Urban Youth with Danny Buggs and John Gordy.  John made and lost several fortunes before winding up on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, NY.  Christ’s work in his life led him to found Fellowship of Christian Athletes programs in the roughest high schools in Los Angeles.  Danny Buggs was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King as a young man.  He went on to become a college football star and professional football player.  Following “retirement,”  he has devoted his life to serving youth in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in Atlanta.

April 24, Belmont Heights Baptist Church - Sanctuary, 7:30  p.m., God’s Politics with Jim Wallis President and Executive Director, Sojourners          

Jim Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian and international commentator on ethics and public life. His book, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It was a The New York Times bestseller. His latest book is The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America (2008).  He appears regularly on Meet the Press, Hardball, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The O’Reilly Factor, and National Public Radio. In addition, he teaches a course at Harvard University on “Faith, Politics, and Society.” His books include The Soul of Politics: A Practical and Prophetic Vision for Change; Faith Works; Who Speaks for God? A New Politics of Compassion, Community, and Civility.



May 29-31, Christian Community Health Fellowship National Conference:  The Kingdom of God and Health Care Among the Poor CCHF ( is a national organization of clinics and health care professionals whose mission is to live out the gospel through health care for the poor.  Belmont’s Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences is working with both the national CCHF and its local partner, Siloam Family Health Center.  The keynote speaker will be Dr. John Perkins, who inspired the founding of CCHF.