Synthesis of Morning Sessions

by Christopher Mitchell, Ron Hansen & Tim Downs

Dr. Christopher Mitchell and authors Tim Downs and Ron Hansen discuss the purpose and ability of story. They draw from the previous speakers of the morning at the 2014 CCCA Razor's Edge Conference and share their approaches to story and communicating meaning.

Christopher Mitchell, Professor, Torrey Honors Institute

Prior to coming to the Torrey Honors Institute, Christopher Mitchell served for nearly twenty years as Director of the Marion E. Wade Center and as the Marion E. Wade Chair of Christian Thought, at Wheaton College, Illionis. He received his M.A. from Wheaton College, and his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, where his concentration was Historical Theology.  He has served as both a pastor and a missionary, and currently works as an editor for Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review, a journal published annually by the Wade Center. Dr. Mitchell's published works include: "Making Doctrine Dance," Christian History & Biography, (Fall 2005 Issue). "Bearing the Weight of Glory: The Cost of C.S. Lewis's Witness" in The Pilgrim's Guide: C.S. Lewis and the Art of Witness (Eerdmans, 1998). "Following the Argument Wherever it Leads: C.S. Lewis and the Oxford University Socratic Club, 1942 to 1954," in Inklings Jahrbuch fur Literatur und Asthetik (No. 17, 1999). "Jonathan Edwards's Scottish Connection," in Jonathan Edwards at Home and Abroad: Historical Memories, Cultural Movements, Global Horizons, eds. David W. Kling and Douglas A. Sweeney (University of South Carolina Press, 2003). He has also written articles for Who's Who in Christian History (Tyndale), Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology (T&T Clark), the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, revised edition (Baker), and the New Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press). 

Christopher Mitchell passed away unexpectedly on July 10, 2014. Mitchell, 62, joined the Biola University faculty in 2013 and quickly became a beloved professor and friend to students and colleagues alike. He is survived by his wife Julie, four children and two grandchildren. He will be greatly missed.

Ron Hansen is the Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. Professor in the Arts & Humanities at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California. Hansen is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop and Stanford University. At Stanford University he held a Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Fellowship. He has also received fellowships from the Michigan Society of Fellows, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, and was presented with an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters. Mr. Hansen has written ten works of fiction, edited two short story collections and written a book of essays on faith and fiction.

Tim Downs is an American author best known for his "Bug Man" series of novels featuring forensic entomologist Dr. Nick Polchak. The series includes the books Like Flies To A Corpse later renamed Shoofly Pie (2003), Chop Shop (2004), First the Dead (2007), Less Than Dead (2008), Ends of the Earth (2009), as well as, a new release entitled Nick of Time (2011). In addition, Downs is the author of the novels, Plague Maker (2006), Head Game (2007) and Wonders Never Cease (2010). Although not a "Bug Man" novel, Plague Maker featured a cameo by Dr. Polchak.

Downs is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University. While attending college, he created a comic strip, Downstown, which was printed in numerous college newspapers from 1974 through 1979, even after Downs' graduation in 1976. Three collections of Downstown were published by the Indiana Daily Student: This is Winning? (1977); With Love, Chuck (1978); and Get in There and Quit (1978). On March 24, 1980, the strip entered syndication with Universal Press Syndicate. It appeared in more than a hundred major newspapers worldwide until Downs discontinued the strip on February 1, 1986.  Downs self-published one retrospective collection of the series, The Laylo Papers: The Complete Guide to Relationships (1989), which remains in print. Downs is also the founder of the Communication Center, a communication training and consulting ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Downs has also authored numerous books on Christian relationships and communication both on his own and in conjunction with his wife, Joy Downs. His first book, called Finding Common Ground (1999), a work of non-fiction, was awarded the Gold Medallion Award in 2000. Downs lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife and three children.

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