Office of the Provost

  • September 25, 2014

Lutheran Studies Conference
Justice in Society:  Lutheran Sources of Social Change
Thursday, September 25, 2014, Anderson University Center, PLU

God has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the lowly

PLU 2020 underscored the ancient mandate to act with justice and resist evil, but what “justice” might actually mean remains an open and disputed question. While children growing up in this country repeat the words, “with liberty and justice for all” in the pledge of allegiance, the nation’s history offers another story in which women, immigrants, persons of color, refugees, sexual minorities, and the land itself have been deprived of freedom and justice.  

Martin Luther, the progenitor of Lutheran higher education, argued that God’s justice is a life-giving justice for all persons regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, social or economic status – a justice that should suffuse human relationships and the education of future leaders in society. Indeed, he was among the first of his generation to protest business, banking, and religious practices that favored the wealthy few and impoverished the many. And yet Christian/Lutheran history is also marked by the refusal to heed the ancient call to act with justice, exchanging that more difficult task for charitable endeavors or stoic silence in the face of oppression.

This year's conference has expanded to a full day, one in which we welcome a variety of speakers and panelists who will lead participants to consider different facets of the contemporary quest for justice in society: the ancient and contemporary call to seek justice; the vocation of promoting justice; university and church support for engaging climate change and food insecurity; singing the music of justice; resisting structural evil; and embodying justice in daily life.

For further details and to register online, please click on the following website:

For questions, please contact Cynthia Givens, Division of Humanities, (253) 535-7228,

  • September 26, 2014

PLU, Department of Psychology Colloquium Series
Phillip C. Watkins, PhD, Eastern Washington University
The How of Gratitude and Happiness:
Exploring How Gratitude Enhances Subjective Well-Being
Friday, September 26, 2014, 2:00pm to 2:50pm, Xavier Hall, Room 201

Research has shown that gratitude enhances well-being, and researchers are currently exploring how gratitude increases happiness. Findings suggest that by cognitively amplifying the "good" in our lives, the brain is trained to be happy. In his talk, Dr. Watkins will describe research showing that people may be able to be trained to experience more gratitude, to enhance their happiness, and to build a trajectory for cognitive habits of flourishing. Moreover, gratitude exercises may train people to interpret social situations in a more benevolent manner, including events in their own past experience. Seen in this way, gratitude may amplify the good in life through training attention, interpretation, and memory processes that enhance the experience of subjective well-being.

All are invited.  Psychology majors are especially encouraged to attend.

PLU, Department of Psychology, (253) 535-7294


  • October 22, 2014

David and Marilyn Knutson Lecture
Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman
You Can Have it All: Theorizing Transreligious Spirituality from the Field of Black Studies
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 7:30pm, Karen Phillips Auditorium

We are excited to have the Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman deliver the Marilyn and David Knutson lecture Wednesday, October, 22 2014. She is a pastor, scholar and activist and one of the brightest lights in womanist / black theology. Because of her work with religion and justice, the interdenominational preaching magazine The African American Pulpit named Coleman one of the “Top 20 to Watch” – The New Generation of Leading Clergy: Preachers under 40.

A scholar and activist, Monica A. Coleman is committed to connecting faith and social justice. An ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Coleman has earned the following degrees: A.B. in African American Studies at Harvard University, the Master’s of Divinity degree and Certificate in the Study of Religion, Gender and Sexuality at Vanderbilt University and the M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. Coleman is currently Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions and Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology in southern California. She is also Associate Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University. She has had previous academic appointments at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and Bennett College for Women.

For more information, please visit the following website: