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PLNU Professors: They Also Write Books!

You know that feeling you get when you bump into one of your professors somewhere off campus, like at a grocery store or the mall? The feeling of surprise, wonder and a little bit of awe. It’s often easy to forget that our professors, who spend a large chunk of their time pouring into their students, have their own goals, aspirations, hobbies and projects that are completely separate from us.

In fact, a number of PLNU faculty members have written and published books on a variety of topics including politics, religion, history, science, film, philosophy and more. Here’s a look at a few notable titles written by some of PLNU’s finest.

“Framing Sarah Palin: Pit Bulls, Puritans, and Politics” by Linda Beail and Rhonda Kinney Longworth

Synopsis: Sarah Palin’s 2008 vice presidential candidacy garnered tremendous levels of interest, polarizing the American public, both Democrats and Republicans alike. Using the notion of “framing” as a way of understanding political perception, the authors analyze the narratives told by and about Sarah Palin in the 2008 election. (Ebay.com).

“Claiming Abraham: Reading the Bible and the Qur’an Side by Side” by Michael Lodahl

Synopsis: Writing from a Christian perspective that is respectful of the Islamic tradition, Lodahl offers an accessible introduction to Muslim theology and to the Qur’an’s leading themes to help readers better understand Islam. Lodahl compares and contrasts how the Bible and the Qur’an depict and treat certain characters in common to both religions and offers theological reflection on doctrines held in common by Christians and Muslims (Google Books).

Lodahl talked a little bit about where the inspiration for this book came from.

“After 9/11, I felt it my obligation to read through the entirety of the Qur’an. I had been teaching about Islam in world religions classes for over a decade, but had never read all the way through Islam’s canonical text,” he said. “As I read, I found so many fascinating parallels to biblical stories and characters, as well as religious themes, that inspired me to undertake this book.”

“No Hiding Place: Empowerment and Recovery for our Troubled Communities” by Rebecca Laird and Cecil Williams

Synopsis: The true story of San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church, where crack addicts leave the pipe behind, where the abused heal their pain, where inner-city recovery is working. Part personal story, part message of hope for America’s inner cities (Ebay.com).

“Talk to Me: How to Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers, and Interview Anyone Like a Pro” by Dean Nelson

Synopsis: Nelson walks readers through each step of the interviewing journey from deciding whom to interview and structuring questions, to the nitty-gritty of how to use a recording device and effective note-taking strategies, to the ethical dilemmas of interviewing people you love (and loathe). He also includes case studies of famous interviews to show readers how these principles play out in real time (Google Books).

“A History of Reasonableness: Testimony and Authority in the Art of Thinking” by Rick Kennedy

Synopsis: This book describes a lost tradition that can be called reasonableness. The tradition began with Aristotle, was recommended to Western education by Augustine, flourished in the schools of the Renaissance through the nineteenth century, then got lost in the academic and philosophic shuffles of the twentieth century. This book recounts the history of a lively educational tradition and hopes to encourage its revival (Google Books).

When asked about his writing process and the realities of writing a book as a university professor, Kennedy explained why he does it.

“I write books to either resolve an issue—usually in intellectual history—or account for my own thinking,” Kennedy said. “Our jobs as professors are three-part: teaching, service, and research/publication.  As professors, we juggle all three aspects trying to do the best we can with each.”

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Tigist Layne

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