This is the first time I ventured out of College Drive and into the city of Decorah. My first interview of the year (since Todd Pedlar's interview is a later release of an interview we did this summer) was with Mike Blevins, Assistant Manager atJava John's Coffee House. If you know Mike as the Java John's barista but you do not know much more about him, get ready for a great story full of ups and downs and full of turns. We are privileged to have someone like Mike in the community, and I hope this interview helps some of you get to know him a little more. Here it is:
On the fourth episode of my podcast I interview Guy Nave, Professor of Religion here at Luther. While this episode was recorded in the summer, and the timeline to post the episode was November anyways, Ben Jerke (the student helping me with the podcast) and I thought that this episode is coming out in a very propitious time.
As protests against racism on college campuses gained national attention, the debate between freedom of expression/speech and the oppression of minorities on college campuses spread throughout college campuses nationwide. Here at Luther students, faculty, staff and community members organized a Blackout/Walkout on Friday, November 13. The expression of solidarity started with Guy Nave's sermon during Luther College's Chapel and culminated with a walkout at 12:30 where around 150 members of the community showed their support to students of color who experience racism on college campuses around the country. While the event was a powerful show of solidarity, like in most campuses in the country such demonstrations led to broader discussions that includes dissenting voices. We hope that these next months we can continue to discuss these issues, and we hope to hear all sides of the debate.
Guy Nave's episode is timely not just because he is one of the main voices against racism on Luther's campus. Guy Nave's story is timely because it shows us how far we have come in the past 40 years, but also how far we still have to go when it comes to racism in America. In the episode we talked very openly about race and racism, and he shared many instances where the color of his skin played a major role on how he interacted with society and how society interacted with him. This is just one story of one man, but we hope that it can shed some light on some of the issues people of color have faced in the U.S. in the past, and help contextualize the issues we face today.
The talk is not only about race. Guy Nave's path to Christianity is an interesting one, especially when you realize that today he talks and writes about religion for a living. I thoroughly enjoyed Guy's stories about how he encountered Christianity, how that eventually led him in the academic path, and how that path eventually led him to Luther College.
You can catch Guy Nave's writings in his blog Clamoring for Change , and on his contributions to Luther College's Ideas and Creations Blog as well as to Sojourners.net.
I hope you enjoy listening.