Experts on "Pop Culture and Christianity"

R. Douglas Geivett

  • Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Geivett's interests range over the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, epistemology, and the history of modern philosophy. He is the author of Evil and the Evidence for God and co-editor of Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology and In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Action in History. Dr. Geivett has contributed chapters to God Matters: Readings in the Philosophy of Religion; God Under Fire; The Rationality of Theism; and Does God Exist? The Craig-Flew Debate. Dr. Geivett is the former president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. In the past, Dr. Geivett has served as minister to college students at churches in the Pacific Northwest and in Southern California and continues to speak in churches and on university campuses on subjects related to apologetics and the Christian life.

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Michael Longinow

  • Professor of Journalism
  • Print Journalism Advisor

Dr. Michael Longinow is the former chair of Biola's Department of Journalism and the advisor of The Chimes newspaper. During his tenure at Biola, he's overseen the rapid expansion of journalism within the university, hiring new faculty members in the fields of photojournalism, broadcast journalism and public relations. He's led the department in a convergent approach to teaching and a cross-cultural approach to career preparation, encouraging students to become fluent in other languages and to participate in study abroad programs.

As a teenager, Longinow attended the same high school Ernest Hemingway attended, working as an editorial cartoonist on the same school newspaper Hemingway once worked for. Longinow attended Wheaton College, earning a B.A. in political science, and completed the University Illinois' graduate program in news-editorial journalism.

During his early days as a reporter, Longinow freelanced for the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, as well as smaller weeklies in metro Chicago. As a full-time reporter for small dailies in Illinois and Georgia in the mid-1980s, Longinow covered the 1988 Democratic National Convention, the home district of U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich, environmental issues, police news, the courts, civil rights, and urban planning. Longinow's reporting on racial inequities in one Georgia county's voting patterns helped change that government's structure.

Longinow was invited in 1989 to teach news-editorial journalism at Asbury College in Kentucky. At Asbury, he helped build a news component into the journalism program and assisted with the launch of an annual photojournalism workshop and bilingual newspaper for migrant Hispanics. He also helped the Asbury Collegian become a consistent winner in statewide competition against campus weeklies its size from across Kentucky. While at Asbury, Longinow completed a doctorate at the University of Kentucky. His dissertation probed the history of Christian higher education and American journalism between 1888 and 1942. Longinow moved to California in 2005 to join the Biola journalism faculty.

Longinow is active in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), where he has served as head of the Religion and Media Interest Group. He also was a founding adviser member of the Association of Christian Collegiate Media (ACCM), and now serves as its national executive director.

Longinow is a frequent workshop presenter and panelist at national conventions of the Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Advisers (CMA/ACP). He has also been a guest faculty member and consultant to the Washington Journalism Center of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). He has been a guest speaker for the Southern Baptist Convention's student journalism conference, the national convention of the Evangelical Press Association, and the international media conference of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.

Longinow has served as a fellow with the American Press Institute and has participated in workshops with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. He has written chapters for five books dealing with journalism history, media and religion, and the popular culture of American evangelicalism. He has also written numerous magazine articles for regional and national publications on social issues, business, politics, and religion. In 2005, he served as a newspaper columnist on diversity issues for the Lexington-Herald-Leader.

Longinow lives in Riverside with his wife Robin and their three children, Ben, Matt and Sarah.

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Todd Pickett

  • Dean of Spiritual Development

Education: Stanford, BA (Classics); Trinity College, Ireland, M.Litt. (Classics); Talbot, MA (Spiritual Formation); UC Irvine, Ph.D. (English).
At Biola since: 1996
• Chair, department of English, 2002-2005
• Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2005-2008
• Associate Dean of Spiritual Development, 2008-2011
• Dean of Spiritual Development, 2011-present.
My StrengthsFinder top five: Connectedness, Learner, Intellection, Ideation, Input.

1. What do you do in your job (briefly)? I get to think about & facilitate how we can discern the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and cooperate with it.

2. The five (or so) most influential books you've read: Besides the Scriptures, of course… can I do authors instead?
• Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Notes from Underground
• Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island; Ascent to Truth
• Stanley Hauerwas, Resident Aliens; Truthfulness and Tragedy
• Jean-Pierre DeCaussade, Self Abandonment to Divine Providence; The Sacrament of the Present Moment
• Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, The Jesus Way.
• Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, Essays & Poems

3. An influential person in your life or best example of love? I’m thinking of two friends who are pastors, both characterized chiefly by humility and obedience.

4. Why are you at Biola? Because the university is committed to biblical integration and spiritual development.

5. Your testimony in 200 words or less?
I came to Christ as a junior higher, drawn by how brilliantly the Scriptures threw light on the human condition. Filled with the Holy Spirit, I was also filled quite a bit with myself and how church/bible study/teaching could be a place for over-achievement. For much of my Christian life, God has been calling and drawing me away from an identity based in what I can do for Him (really, myself) and into an identity based on what He’s done for me. Still trying to open to that.

6. If God put you completely in charge of creating Heaven, what would it be like? Lots of time to read, and then lots of time to talk about reading with others over meals.

7. What is the most difficult choice you’ve ever had to make? What made it difficult? What factors helped you make that choice? Leaving church ministry for a Ph.D. in English. It was hard to know where I would thrive more. If I recall, the chief decision-making factor was my immaturity—I hated the feeling of my inadequacy--that I couldn’t meet everyone’s needs. Someone should’ve told me that that’s how your learn humility and dependence.

8. What are five things you are most thankful for in your life right now? Dottie (my wife), Carly & Abbey (my daughters), Friends, A job.

9. What job do you fantasize about having? Having my own radio show where I get to interview whomever I want (but mostly novelists and rock stars).

10. Last book you read? Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms.

11. A brush with fame or celebrity? I once carved a Thanksgiving turkey with Nicholas Cage. And yes, the rumors are true, the actress Courtney Cox is my sister-in-law. I’ve been married to her sister, Dottie, for 20 years.

12. Which fictional character do you most resemble? I can be very Eeyore-ish on bad days.

13. Who plays you in your bio-pic? Kenneth Branagh.

14. What’s your ringtone? Beck, “Walls”

15. Favorite electronic device? My Espresso Maker (you do have to plug it in)

16. What do your friends say is your best quality? Reflectiveness (is that a word?)

17. What natural talent do you wish you had? Drawing

18. What is your life theme song? “Oh How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning,” Irving Berlin

19. Do you believe in love at first sight? When applied to desserts, yes.

20. Do you think it is possible to live with no regrets? If regret means sadness, no. If regret means self-loathing, yes.

21. What is your definition of success? Abiding in God. Do you consider yourself to be successful? Sometimes.

22. How much is your self-worth and identity determined by your job and your success at it? That’s my Achilles heal. It has mattered a lot.

23. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? My daughters, still. After that, Boyd’s Lake Resort in Wisconsin, late July.

24. In what areas of your life is it most difficult to trust God? That what I’m able to do is enough.

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Jonathan Puls

  • Interim Dean of SAS, Fine Arts and Communications
  • Associate Professor of Art History and Painting

Jonathan Puls teaches drawing, painting, and art history in the Department of Art. He holds an MFA in drawing and painting, and an MA in in Art history. Jonathan's ongoing drawings and paintings pull their imagery from contemporary life, mingling these with compositional concerns from art historical sources. His teaching, studio production, and historical research focus on the relationship between immediate observation and compositional synthesis.

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K. Erik Thoennes

  • Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies
  • Chair, Biblical & Theological Studies Theology Department

Dr. Thoennes is committed to teaching biblical and systematic theology so that he and his students love God and people more fully. He strives to make the necessary connections between the study of theology, obedience to Jesus, and fulfilling the Great Commission. He has taught theology and evangelism at the college and seminary levels for several years and is a frequent guest speaker at churches, conferences, and retreats, in addition to co-pastoring a local church. Dr. Thoennes has received the University award for faculty excellence and professor of the year. His research interests include godly jealousy, the atonement, the exclusivity of Christ, and theology of culture.

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