Authors talk crossroads of written word, faith

Nick Berryman | Lariat Photographer
Author Donald Miller will be lecturing along with Anne Lamott today. Miller’s book “Blue Like Jazz” was the inspiration for the film with the same name.

By Bonnie Berger

Popular Christian authors Anne Lamott and Donald Miller will meet with an audience of students, faculty and the general public to discuss writing as an act of faith at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building.

“[Lamott] and [Miller] are two of the most prolific writers of our time,” said associate director of Department of Student Activities Michael Riemer in a recent press release.

“The opportunity to have both of them on stage together, which has never happened before, will be a rare opportunity for the Baylor community to be apart of something unique.”

Lamott and Miller frequently focus on faith and evangelicalism through fiction and memoirs, providing a seasoned view into marrying spirituality with the published word.

Lamott’s works include “Traveling Mercies” and “Imperfect Birds.” Miller is the author of “A Thousand Miles in a Million Years” and “Blue Like Jazz.”

A joint venture between the Honors College, the Division of Student Life and the Department of Student Activities, the event is styled as a conversation between the two authors, inviting the audience to participate in a Q&A session following the lecture.

Students are intrigued by the opportunity to freely converse with the authors, exchanging constructive dialogue on pertinent topics of faith and ethics.

Conroe junior Preston Yancey anticipates the chance to hear more from Lamott during her visit to campus today.

“[Lamott’s] writing is a well of honesty and careful reflection, tinged with an unfailing hunger for healing and a broken desire for God,” Yancey said. “But there are several elements of her political choices that I oppose and see as antithetical to the Christian message.”

Including her views on hot topics in her works, Lamott’s stance on abortion raised questions for Yancey, a great texts major. Feeling challenged by her opinions, Yancey said God taught him a deeper lesson of grace through this encounter.

“Lamott’s position on this, so different from my own, is none the less a position of a fellow Christian,” he said. “It deserves to be heard, engaged and understood. I hope most to learn a deeper sense of graciousness from hearing her speak about the role of faith in writing. I hope to see those common threads that bind more than they break, so as to start first from a conversation about the love who governs all things then move into a dialogue about where we see opposition.”

Yancey said grace and mercy must be present in such conversations if progress will prevail.

Fans of Miller’s writings are also flocking to the event, keen to gain a deeper look into an acclaimed author’s life.

“I think a person’s background and history really plays into their writing,” said Woodlands junior Sara Lemister. “I’m really interested to see in what he has to say about his experiences and how they’ve impacted his works. I’m also just a big fan of his books.”

The event is free to Baylor students and faculty, although tickets are required for entry. Tickets are available at the Bill Daniel Student Center for pick-up with a valid student ID.

The public may purchase tickets for $10 for preferred seating or $20 for preferred seating and access to the private book signing with Lamott.

Directly following the lecture are free advance screenings of Miller’s new film “Blue Like Jazz the Movie” at 9 p.m. Tuesday and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, in the Sony Theatre of the Mayborn Museum. Based on Miller’s book, Blue Like Jazz, and directed by Steven Taylor, this will be the movie’s first public appearance.

Following the screening, Taylor and Miller will be available to answer questions and receive comments.

Hosted by the Department of Student Activities, the Office of Spiritual Life and the department of film and digital media, tickets are free and seating is limited to 150 patrons.

For ticket information, contact the Campus Program Center at 254-710-4919.