Oklahoma Christian Hosts Author, Environmentalist

Best-selling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben will deliver the fourth annual McBride Lecture for Faith & Literature at 7:00 p.m. on October 3 in Oklahoma Christian University’s Gaylord University Center.  The lecture will be followed by a book-signing reception.  Both events are free and open to the public.

McKibben is author of the national bestseller Deep Economy:  The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future as well as books such as The End of Nature and a host of essays in the nation’s top magazines.  McKibben is scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College and lives with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and their daughter in Ripon, Vt.

The Boston Globe has called Deep Economy a “hopeful manifesto” and “an inspired book.”  USA Today has written of Deep Economy:  “What makes McKibben’s book stand out is the completeness of his arguments and his real-world approach to solutions.”  Bill Moyers wrote, “Bill McKibben enjoys the most conspicuous place in my own pantheon of journalistic heroes for his pioneer work in writing about the environment.”

“We invite all to hear this powerful thinker and activist discuss issues of great importance about envisioning and creating a ‘durable future’ for all Oklahoma’s children and grandchildren,” said Dr. Scott LaMascus, professor of English and director of the McBride Center for Faith & Literature. 

“As always, faith plays a unique role in this year’s lecture programs,” LaMascus said.  “McKibben’s book, The Comforting Whirlwind, should be read by every Christian because he asks us to consider the book of Job not so much for its insights into suffering or belief, but because the book calls readers to appreciate all nature’s marvels as well as to humbly accept our place of responsibility in it.”

McKibben is author of Fight Global Warming Now, a handbook for community-based care of the environment.  He also is editor of American Earth, an anthology of environmental writing since the time of Thoreau’s experiment in living at Walden Pond.  Former Vice President Al Gore has written the foreword to this collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

The McBride Center is endowed by donations from alumni, foundations, and humanities organizations to honor the lifelong work of Dr. Bailey McBride, a longtime professor of English and university leader, and his wife, Joyce Cowan McBride.  McBride began teaching at the university in 1956 when the campus was located in Bartlesville, and served from 1971 to 1990 as the university’s chief academic officer.  He is a member of the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.

McBride said, “Although environmental discussions are often superficial and casual, McKibben has thought seriously about mankind’s role in destroying and saving the world. He enlightens and forces thought.”  McBride continues to direct the OC Honors program and includes each year’s lecture in the Honors students’ symposium series.

Previous McBride Lectures have been delivered by novelists, poets, and essayists of international reputation including Kathleen Norris, Robert Pinsky and Marilynne Robinson.  “The McBride Center creates and funds innovative programs which engage the very best ideas, whether in fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, so that we can help build a stronger humanities culture for our university, city, state, and region,” LaMascus said.  “We are grateful to the many alumni and community donors who have made the McBride Center endowment possible.”

Co-sponsors with the McBride Center have included The Oklahoma Humanities Council, the Inasmuch Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, MidFirst Bank and Best of Books.  Book sales following the lectures benefit the McBride Center and are provided by Best of Books in Kickingbird Square in Edmond.