• Hendrix College

    Friday Afternoon Discussions

  • Friday Afternoon Discussion RaPC

    What are they about?

    Conversations in the Liberal Arts happen every Friday Afternoon in the Religion and Philosophy Commons. Informal discussions include a variety of topics such as politics, literature, social issues, scientific questions, as well as religion and philosophy.  

    2018 Schedule

    Friday, April 20th

    The Steel Center & the Raney Building: How They Shaped My Life

    Help kick off Alumni Weekend & join Hendrix Alumni – Amanda Baugh ’04, Emily Austin ’00 and Dr. Jay McDaniel for a heart-felt and rousing discussion.

    Friday, April 13th

    The Balancing Act of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing's Benefits & Detriments in Arkansas 

    Join two Hendrix students, Krishna Patel, and Maggie Young in a discussion of the current scientific research and ethics surrounding the positives and negatives of the HVHF energy industry. All are welcome.

    Friday, April 6th

    Interfaith Explorations: Texts on Encountering God

    A student led discussion, facilitated by Dr. Jay McDaniel. Everyone is welcome to participate as we explore various texts. No expertise required, just a willingness to read, respond and discuss.

    Friday, March 30th

    Religion, Gender & Sexuality: A Conversation

    Engage in a conversation regarding religion, gender and sexuality. Led and facilitated by Dr. Harris. This is Dr. Harris first Friday Afternoon Discussion of the semester. Join us for a refreshing discussion!

    Friday, March 9th

    Interfaith Explorations: Texts on Abraham's Journey

    Abraham’s Journey is a key idea in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.  Join us for an interfaith scripture expiration, led by Rachel Shepherd, Brittany Chue, Mac Nadurak, and Dr. Jane Harris, in which participants freely respond to texts on the Journey from these traditions, with agreements and disagreements – plus confusions – heartily encouraged.

    Friday, March 2nd

    Japanese Tea Ceremony & Zen Meditation

    Friday 3:30-4:30 in the RaPC. Relax from stress with a Japanese Tea Ceremony capped with a brief introduction to Zen Buddhist Meditation. Aya Murata, Japan Outreach Initiative Coordinator, will lead the activities with Dr. Jay McDaniel facilitating.

    Friday, February 23rd

    Featuring: Dr. Miraslov Volf of Yale Divinity School

    Miroslav Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and the Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.  He was educated in his native Croatia, the United States, and Germany, earning doctoral and post-doctoral degrees (with highest honors) from the University of Tübingen, Germany. He has written or edited more than 20 books and over 90 scholarly articles. His most significant books include Exclusion and Embrace (1996), winner of the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and one of Christianity Today’s 100 most important religious books of the 20th century; After Our Likeness (1998), in which he explores the Trinitarian nature of ecclesial community; Allah: A Christian Response (2011), on whether Muslims and Christians have a common God; and A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good (2011).  His most recent books are Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World and Public Faith in Action: How to Think Carefully, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity (co-authored with Ryan McAnnally-Linz).


    Friday, February 16th

    Hermeneutic Conversations Across Divides

    Following Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics, what constitutes the situation of a conversation with someone who may hold very different views? To what extent can the other be understood? What are the various possible outcomes of such  conversation? Join us as Dr. Lawrence Schmidt leads the discussion.

    Friday, February 9th

    The Role of Buddhism in My Art

    Join us as Professor Melissa Gill presents her artistic research in printmaking and discusses how her Buddhist practice and the act of ritual informs her choice of image and her working process.

    Friday, February 2nd

    Interfaith Explorations: Texts on Hospitality to the Stranger

    People from different faiths and no faith read texts from the Qur'an, Torah, and New Testament. No expertise required, just a willingness to read and respond and discuss. Come and enjoy the conversation that is student led and facilitated by Dr. Jay McDaniel. 

    Previously This Year

    Friday, September 1st                        

    Disaster Relief & How Our Society Responds                                                                

    We will engage in a community conversation about the way our society responds when faced with a disaster and disaster relief efforts. This discussion will be informal and a bit outside the norm from our typical discussion format as we intend to all participate, even if that means just listening, without the regular presentation of a formal topic. J.J. Whitney, Chaplain, and Jim Wiltgen, Dean of Students, will facilitate the conversation. Everyone is welcome! Snacks and drinks will be provided.

    Friday, September 8th

    Spain at War: History & the Arts

    The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is one of the most significant world events of the twentieth century, even in the United States. Studying it and the art that came of it also becomes a means to reflect on engaged citizenship. “Spain at War: History & the Arts” aims to familiarize students with the war and to foster such reflections. We can discuss the resonance this event has even now a-days, as well as the artistic production that was generated during and after the war in the form of posters, paintings, music, literature, etc. Professor Gabby Vidal-Torreira & Professor Alex Vernon leading the discussion.

    Friday,September 15th 

    Japanese Tea Ceremony & Zen Meditation

    Relax from stress with a Japanese Tea Ceremony capped with a brief introduction to Zen Buddhist Meditation. Aya Murata, Japan Outreach Initiative Coordinator, will lead the activities with Dr. Jay McDaniel facilitating.

    Wednesday, September 20th 

    No Crystal Stair: Becoming a Black Woman Biblical Scholar

    Guest speaker – Dr. Nyasha Junior, author and Biblical Scholar Dr. Junior will discuss her intellectual journey and the challenges along the way. Open to the public. Tea and coffee will be provided.


    Friday, September 22nd

    The Beloved Community: A Dialogue on Just Peace Making and Becoming Change

    A dialogue on Just peace making, non-violent activism, and the qualities of a change agent. These dialogues offer a mulita-dimensional perspective on what it means to be peaceful and what we can do to be agents of change in our communities. This discussion is in conjunction with Arkansas Peace Week and the Hendrix Peace Vigil and Dedication. Discussion and activities led by Tristan Norman ’20, Facilitated by Dr. Jay McDaniel and Dr. Deborah Skok.

    Friday,September 29th

    A Better Discourse (Epistemological Improvements in Politics & Beyond)

    What does it mean to argue “in good – faith”? How should we understand people we disagree with politically? Having a better political discourse requires better understanding the arguments made and using our understanding to make better arguments. Discussion will be led by Ryan McGregor ‘18.


    Friday, October 6th 

    My Life in Popular Music: The Spiritual Side

    Ann Powers, music critic for NPR and author of A History of Popular Music in America, will lead a discussion of the spiritual side of popular music. Her book, Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black & White, Body and Soul in American Music will be available for purchase and a book signing will follow the discussion. Families are welcome!

    Friday, October 27th 

    Muslims in America: Their Civil Rights and Local Contexts

    A discussion on the rights and contexts of Muslims in America with Veronica Laizure, Hendrix Graduate and Civil Rights Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relation (CAIR), Oklahoma Chapter.

    Friday, November 3rd 

    Multi-Cultural Musicking

    Come enjoy Hendrix students singing East Asian Pop Songs in Chinese, Korean and Japanese. It’s engaged citizenship as participatory music-making. You can sing along too. Sponsored by: Krebs-McDaniel TEC Class, Steel Center, Greater Arkansas Interfaith Network, Asian Studies.

    Friday, November 10th

    “Joy”: An Exploration of Happiness at Hendrix College and Beyond

    Leading the discussion: Tristan Norman ’20 and Jacie Andrew ‘20. ‘Joy’ is a documentary committed to exploring joy and happiness in a multi-disciplinary dialogue. Based on our TEC – Art & Spirit curriculum, we seek to understand the importance of stories, spirituality and narratives in living a life of depth.

    Friday, December 1st

    Reading Like Your Life Depends On It

    On the day after the 2016 election, Dr. Marjorie Swann joined Literacy Action of Central Arkansas as a volunteer tutor. Since then, she has worked with adults in Conway who seek to improve their ability to read, write, and speak English. In the process, Dr. Swann has found her world-view challenged along with her teaching skills. Dr.Swann's account of her experience as a literacy tutor should provide a starting point for a wide-ranging discussion about education, community, service, and inclusiveness. 

  •  Click here for previous discussions.