Speaking and Debating! Joseph Shaw has an unhealthy obsession with baseball. Sure, he’s an author and playwright, covering topics from systems of morality and Theodicy to the relationship between Science and Religion to even progressivism as an economic and social basis of systemic oppression. And, yeah, he’s an international, award-winning speaker, having outlasted over 40,000 speakers from 126 countries to place in the top 30 in the 2016 Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking.
But it’s the baseball, man. Everything always comes back to baseball with him. It doesn’t even make sense! He’s from Ohio. Those teams are professional much in the same way your neighbor kid is a “professional” actor because someone paid him $5 to play “Cop #4” in a YouTube rendition of Serpico. But ask him to talk about his Constitutionalist activism and, eventually, he’ll turn it around and try to convince you to vote for baseball players in the next election because none of the other candidates have a high enough on-base percentage. It’s weird. So watch out. I’m just sayin’. Here comes Joe.
Debating and perhaps performing! Daniel Flecknoe is a human male of approximately 40 years of age, usually resident in the British Isles. He enjoys/hates (depending on his mood) cycling, writing, arguing and going to the gym. Playing guitar, public speaking and the company of friends, on the other hand, are always a joy.
Dan has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, a Masters degree in public health and is an alumnus of the health & human rights programme at Harvard University. He worked as an emergency department nurse in the UK for ten years, using the skills he gained there to work and travel overseas. He’s seen a bit of the world – but would always like to see more – in various different professional roles; as an English teacher (Israel and the West Bank), an expedition medic (South East Asia), and as a medical team leader and public health specialist for Doctors Without Borders (Darfur & Iraq).
Back in the UK, Dan is the founder of a professional research/advocacy group focusing on the neglected public health impacts of armed conflict, and also teaches at the University of Sheffield. Brought up as a Methodist, he now identifies as an atheist, but doesn’t honestly think that’s the most interesting thing about him.
Preston Shires teaches history at Southeast Community College, Lincoln, Nebraska. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is the author of Hippies of the Religious Right. His fictional novel, Knight Time for Paris, is due to be published by Athanatos later this year. Preston and his wife, Sylvie, whom he met while studying abroad at the Université de Bordeaux, France, have four children and eight grandchildren. Together, Sylvie and Preston translated and published André Maurois’s Neither Angel, Nor Beast, which Preston uses in his European history course. Sylvie and Preston live on a farm in southeast Nebraska, where they raise corn, soybeans, and miniature Australian shepherds.
More than ever before, America’s youth learn about Christianity through the entertainment industry, rather than through a reading of the Bible. Their other source of information comes in the form of textbooks, written by educators who exclude the Christian worldview as a viable way to understand past events or life today. Preston Shires, an instructor of history and author of Hippies of the Religious Right, argues that Christians need to get involved not only in teaching history, but also in reaching out to non-Christians through historical fiction. Jesus did this with parables, it’s up to us to follow his example. In his presentation, Preston will inform us of the dangers of standing aside while others define Christianity for us, and of the techniques we can use to present an accurate portrayal of Christianity in both education and entertainment.
Speaking! Hudson Shires
In his presentation, Hudson Shires will share his work with The Heritage Project: a new media initiative aimed at sharing true stories of the first five centuries of North African Christianity in the languages of unreached people groups in order to strengthen persecuted Christians and respond to questions Muslims have about the Christian faith and practice.
With two B.A.s from Grace University, Hudson has served alongside his wife, Kristina, and their eight children in France. Through hospitality and the arts, they work with fellow Christians from many walks of life to Gospel of Jesus Christ while answering earnest and hard-hitting questions from skeptics, Muslims, Christians, and everyone in between. He has 12 years of professional media experience, 14 years of intercultural ministry experience, and is an enthusiast of board games and neoclassical shred metal.
Speaking! Robert Cely, author of Beyond the Steel Wall, acquired a degree in history at the University of South Carolina and a a Masters of Divinity at Union Seminary. Today he lives a mild-mannered life with his wife, three sons, and daughter in West Columbia, SC, working as a Chaplain. He writes part time and enjoys college football and making beer.
Speaking! Joseph Courtemanche, author of Assault on Saint Agnes, is a former Police Officer and certified Middle East, North Africa analyst. He is a distinguished veteran of the Naval Security Group of the United States Navy and is an Arabic linguist with training at The University of Minnesota and the Defense Language Institute (Honors Graduate.) His linguistic and intelligence experience include multiple deployments to surface, submarine, and land based intelligence collection platforms. Joseph holds several military awards including two flag letters of commendation for his work in providing real-time intelligence support to commanders in the field. His experience provides the background that’s crucial to his writing in the Thriller genre. He is a graduate of The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and holds degrees from two other colleges. He holds the Expert Pistol Marksman medal, Good Conduct medal, Sea Service ribbon, and Meritorious Unit Citation from the United States Navy and is a Life Member of the NRA.
Joseph writes his novels from a Christian perspective with the gritty realism that modern readers demand. His recently published Assault on Saint Agnes won the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis award for best unpublished novel in the mystery/suspense/thriller category, Second Place in the prestigious Athanatos Christian Ministries 2013 Christian Novel Contest, and was a 2013 Final Five Finalist in the Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter.
Speaking! Jamie Greening, D.Min, author of How Great Is the Darkness & The Little Girl Waits, a story about human trafficking in the United States. Jamie served as a pastor in Washington State for 14 years. Now he resides in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughters and devotes his time to writing and baking biscuits. He is the author of the novel The Little Girl Waits, the collection The Haunting of Pastor Butch Gregory and Other Short Stories, various short stories including Speculation, Jolly Rogers, The Land Begins to Heal, and The Last Message. He also authors the thrilling science fiction series about the Deep Cove Monster, including Deep Cove, Deep Cove: The Party Crasher, and The Deep Cove Lineage. He is one of the original “bards” at Bard And Book Publishing.
Jamie earned a bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas at Austin (1994) where he studied history and classical civilizations, a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1998), and a doctor of ministry from Beeson Divinity (2006) on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He blogs as Pastor Greenbean and continues to speak, preach, and teach wherever he may have opportunity. Follow him on Twitter.
Anthony Horvath is the executive director of Athanatos Christian Ministries, the host of the Athanatos Fest. He earned his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Philosophy, with an emphasis in Christian Apologetics. He has a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from Concordia University, Wisconsin, with a minor in Biblical Languages. In 2006, he attended and completed the “International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism, and Human Rights” in Strasbourg, France, under Dr. John Warwick Montgomery with Dr. Gary Habermas attending.
Early in his freshmen year of college, he went through an intense period of doubt and skepticism about his faith. Through this experience, he developed a passion for Christian apologetics and teaching. Along with his passion for apologetics, Anthony researches and exposes how tax dollars fund abortion, euthanasia, etc, and otherwise undermine liberty. A prolific author, he is married and the father of three boys and a girl.
Speaking! Debbie Thompson Writing Contest and Workshop Coordinator and ACM Representative. Debbie is a book reviewer for Northwestern Publishing House and a Christian Book Club leader. A graduate with a BA from Concordia College, Ann Arbor she is the mother of two home school graduates. Her experiences have primed her to be a valuable contributor to ACM’s curriculum efforts and ‘literary apologetics’ programs. She is a judge for ACM’s Christian writing contest, a volunteer staffer, and a Writing and Homeschool Coach.
Speaking! Steven Worthey, founder of “Standardized Apologetics,” began teaching at Mill City Church in Neenah, WI, in 2015 and has since had the opportunity to teach at other local churches, as well as U.W. Fox Valley. His class is designed to make apologetics accessible and effective for all Christians. Standardized Apologetics regularly releases free content on social media platforms to encourage and train Christians to share their faith with confidence, build up the church, and spread the Gospel to a world that has adopted an array of non-biblical worldviews. Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | Twitter | SoundCloud
Presentation Title: The Divine Trilemma (Lord, Liar, or Lunatic)
Topic Description: Who did Jesus see himself as? Was he a moral reformer, an ethics teacher, a martyr, or something else? His bold claims, when examined, lead us to none of these conclusions. He was either a liar, a lunatic, or he is the God of the universe. Like Peter, we all face the question of his identity, “Who do you say I am?”