Dr. Elaine Heath spent the better part of Monday afternoon discussing her book, The Gospel According to Twilight, and delivering lectures to the ACU community as a contribution to Summit.
Heath, McCreless associate professor of evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, is an ordained minister in the Methodist Church. She initiated New Day and the Epworth Project , two missional, monastic communities. She has also written several books.
Heath’s book, The Gospel According to Twilight, was one of the featured topics during her lectures and discussions. The Gospel According to Twilight analyzes the theological messages in the Twilight books and movies and points out the good and bad messages featured in the saga.
“This was the hardest part of writing the book,” Heath said, “I didn’t want to lose Twilight readers.”
Heath said she was invited by Brady Bryce, director of ministry events, to be a featured speaker at Summit. On Monday she was the keynote speaker at 3 p.m.
Dr. Michael Harbour, executive administrative director for the Honors College said the keynote went well.
“The crowd was very passionately paying attention,” he said.
After the keynote, Heath signed copies of her books. At 5 p.m. she joined members of the Honors College for dinner in Zellner Hall.
The Gospel According to Twilight is required reading for all Honors Cornerstone classes. The students were able to ask Heath questions about her work and her book while enjoying a baked-potato dinner together.
During the dinner, Heath said she began working on The Gospel According to Twilight after her daughters recommended that she read the Twilight books because of the themes presented in them. Eventually she gave in and began reading the first novel. She said after reading the first few pages she knew she should pay attention because young girls were paying attention to the novels.
“We have to be very careful about what we expose our children to,” she said.
After dinner, Heath spoke at an Honors College forum called “Women, Sex and God” in the Williams Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. Jennifer Shoemaker, associate professor of psychology, presented with Heath during the forum. Shoemaker’s book, Children, Sex and the Media will be published soon.
The speakers talked about the different messages that are sent to women and girls through the media and popular culture. They pointed out that, in order to have an understanding of our world, pop culture cannot be ignored. However, people must be aware of the messages they are consuming.
As Heath said, “We are shaped by what we read.”