News for the Faculty/Staff Christian Fellowship

Summer 2021

What Gives You Hope?

Professors from the SJSU Faculty/Staff Christian Fellowship share about what gives them hope.

Next Meetings

The group plans to meet at 1 p.m. on second and fourth Fridays in 2020-2021.  This should continue through June and July.  There will not be a meeting on the 9th of July.  At 1 p.m. on Friday the 23rd of July 2021 the group will meet through Zoom.   Please ask Buff Furman ( for the Zoom meeting id and password.  

Faculty Commons, a ministry of Cru, sends a weekly note called "Missional Moment".  Some that might be good for discussion have been collected at and anyone willing to lead a discussion may sign up on the spreadsheet there.  

A much larger archive and the form to subscribe to the weekly "Missional Moment" (starting again in the fall) is at .

The name of the group emphasizes staff and faculty, but students and others are welcome.  


Buff Furman's "Missional Moment" has an article sent through Faculty Commons in which Buff Furman discusses "Oddly enough, I find the more religious people are, the less likely they are to actually pay attention to what is written in the biblical text."  

Meet the Prof

Professors' short profiles are at .



12 & 13 March 2021: Northern CA Faculty & Staff Conference

Northern CA conference

NorCal Christian Faculty/Staff Conference Friday evening March 12th and Saturday morning March 13th.
We’ll have a chance to hear from professor, author, and speaker Dr. Tim Muehlhoff, interacting together on the topic “‘Blessing for Insult’ in Today’s Argument Culture – Seriously?”


Dr. Muehlhoff, shares: “at a time when it seems we can’t agree on anything, 98% of Americans state that incivility is a serious problem; while 68% agree it’s reached crisis levels. From cyberbullying, to hate speech, workplace harassment, demonizing political language, verbal abuse, and intolerance the vast majority of us (87%) no longer feel safe in public places sharing our opinions.  

“What do we as Christians owe others as we enter the public square and are met with incivility? The Apostle Peter offers one piece of advice that believers should refrain from responding to an insult with an insult, but rather, give a blessing (1 Pet. 3:9). Could such a strategy work in today’s argument culture?”

Join us as we together discuss and interact on this vital topic, and what this can look like in our interactions with colleagues, students, and others.

We’ll also hear from a panel of legal experts – Brad Dacus, Greg Jao, and Lori Kepner – taking questions on the First Amendment and religious freedom in the academy. 

This year – due to our virtual format – the conference is able to expand beyond our original Northern California location, welcoming faculty and staff from campuses from throughout California, other Western states, and Hawai’i. 


1 p.m. Friday 25 September 2020
The plan is to discuss this:

Some Strategies to Stay Spiritually Healthy During Times of Disruption -- Heather Holleman, Penn State 

I’m working on a buildingThis past week, I found myself overwhelmed with the disruption of moving to remote teaching at Penn State, caring for students’ fear and disappointments, restructuring our family life in isolation, and managing the onslaught of news and fresh data regarding COVID-19. I wasn’t experiencing the Romans 8:6 promise that “the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” 

I attempted to return to the basics of how to stay spiritually healthy during a time of upheaval. I thought of three primary tasks: sowing to please the Spirit, surrendering, and dwelling in hope. 

Sowing to the Spirit
First and foremost, I remembered the invitation to “sow to please the Spirit” (Galatians 6:8) by spending time in God’s word, praying, and listening to encouraging sermons. I returned to passages of scripture that reminded me of God’s enduring presence. Isaiah 43 brought fresh comfort to my heart this morning as I read, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” 

I realized that, instead of filling my mind with God and His truth—sowing to please the Spirit—I was instead filling my mind with more data, more news, and more social media about COVID-19. I took shelter in data rather than taking “shelter in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91).

When I consulted my friends and spiritual mentor about how overwhelmed and fearful I was, they all advised me to limit my media intake, especially before bedtime. My former therapist always told me the same thing. Some of us are simply too sensitive to media intake and must exercise caution when watching or reading things that foster anxiety and depression.

If we are prone to both, we must remember to guard our mind during this time. I needed to. I’d been waking up with that spirit of dread I know so well. I’d been very weepy and overwhelmed. I decided that, at least for a while, when I needed to know the orders from my national and local leaders regarding COVID-19, my phone or husband would alert me. I wouldn’t miss any vital news. Otherwise, I could diminish my intake of any news that doesn’t help me sow to please the Spirit. 

Surrendering to the Lord
I also said a fresh prayer of surrender to the Lord that He can do whatever He wants with my physical body. I don’t want to live in fear of a virus. God is the One I am to fear, not sickness or death. Isaiah 8 tells us this: “The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. . .” And I recited Galatians 2:20 and how I’m already crucified with Christ. 

Dwelling in Hope
I then remembered the astonishing truth of Romans 8 and that God will “work all things for good”—even this pandemic and all the upheaval. This verse reminded me that I can choose to dwell in hope.

I prayed I could be like Jeremiah in Lamentations 3 who famously says “because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’.”

I returned to a peaceful heart as I committed to sow to please the Spirit, to surrender, and to dwell in hope. And I was able to maintain a peaceful, hopeful presence to my students in my next class. This is how I’m learning to stay spiritually healthy right now. 


Spring (& Summer) 2020

Next Meetings
The group will meet at noon on (mostly) first and third Thursdays in Spring 2020.  At 11 a.m. on Thursday the 6th of August the group will meet through Zoom.  Please ask Buff Furman ( for the Zoom meeting id and password.  

4/9 (2nd Thurs)
4/23 (4th Thurs)

Fall 2019

The Faculty-Staff Christian Fellowship meetings in fall 2019 will be on the first Wednesdays and third Thursdays of the month during the semester, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Central Classroom Building CCB 222. 

Next Meeting

The group will meet at noon on Wednesday the 4th of December 2019 in CCB 222.  Episcopal Chaplain Kathey Crowe will share about her ministry to students at SJSU. 

Fall Meetings

One project for the semester is to read and study the book Knowing Christ Today by Dallas Willard.  The plan is begin discussing Chapter 1 on Thursday the 17th of October.

10/17 Knowing Christ Today book discussion (Chapter 1)
11/6 Barbara Snyder on Thomas
11/21 Knowing Christ Today book discussion (Chapter 2)
12/4 (tentatively) Chaplain Kathey on ministry to SJSU students

The name of the group emphasizes staff and faculty, but students and others are welcome.

Campus Praise Night

There will be a campus praise night on December 17, 2019 at 7:30 pm in the Spartan Memorial sponsored by the Unity in Christ organization on campus.

A Common Call conference

A Common Call conference for faculty and grad students will be on Saturday the 18th of January 2020 at the Hyatt Regency, San Francisco Airport.  Speakers will include Dr. Charles Lee (Stanford University), Dr. Susan Siaw (Cal Poly Pomona), and Renee Begay (Nations: Cru's ministry among Native Americans), and emcee'd by Dr. Buff Furman (San Jose State University).  Registration is at

Felicia Song to speak Friday, 1 November 2019

Felicia Song will speak at 1 p.m. on Friday the 1st of November in the Campus Village 2 Multipurpose room.    (CV2 MPR)

Exhausted from your Insta-Snap-Tweeting Life? Sociological and Theological Reflections on Technology

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. While these social media can help us connect with family, friends, and colleagues, they can also exploit the fears and insecurities that shape complex human relationships. How are the commercial interests behind our screens shaping who we are becoming? And how should communities of faith negotiate these contemporary dictates of the digital? Sociological analysis and theological reflection are brought together to address these key questions of our modern-day dilemmas.

Felicia Song is Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. Having trained in History, Communication Studies and Sociology from Yale, Northwestern, and University of Virginia, and taught at Louisiana State University’s Manship School for Mass Communication, her research is oriented around the rapidly evolving digital technology industry and how the adoption of social media and digital devices fundamentally alters the landscapes of family, community, and organizational life. In addition to her book, Virtual Communities: Bowling Alone, Online Together (Peter Lang 2009), she has conducted research on expectant women’s online information-seeking habits and the evolution of “mommy bloggers” as social media professionals. Currently, she is working on a book project that explores how our contemporary digital habits form us and our imaginations about personhood, time, and place. When she is not working, she enjoys children’s chapter books, searching local consignment shops, and watching “The Great British Baking Show” with her husband and two children.

A poster for her talk is here.

 2019 Fall Kickoff Potluck

On Saturday, August 24, 2019 from 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm, there will be a potluck supper to prepare for Fellowship activities in the 2019/20 Academic Year.  Contact Buff Furman for details.

 2018 Fall Kickoff Potluck

On Saturday, August 25, 2018 from 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm, the Fellowship gathered at Buff and Wanda Furman's home for a potluck supper to prepare for Fellowship activities in the 2018/19 Academic Year.

Academic Year 2017-2018: Read A Grander Story

At the regular 1st and 3rd Wednesday meetings in the 2017-2018 academic year the group read through the book A Grander Story: An Invitation to Christian Professors edited by Rick Hove and Heather Holleman.  This set of essays deals with questions Christian professors ask about how to relate their beliefs to their teaching. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017:  Francis Su

Noon on Wednesday the 8th of November in CB 222: We have the opportunity for Prof. Francis Su to speak to our group on his way to the math department seminar later in the afternoon.  Prof. Su is the recent past president of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and a distinguished professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College.  Aaron Romanowsky is coordinating Prof. Su's visit and has requested word on what people would like to hear him talk about/discuss with the group.  aaron.romanowsky@sjsu....  

More information on Francis Su:

Wednesday 18 October 2017: Abigail Carreon - Veritas Forum

At noon on the 18th of October 2017 Abigail Carreon visited the regular third Wednesday meeting of the fellowship to tell about the Veritas Forum and explore possibilities of organizing an event for SJSU.  Abigail is the University Engagement Director for The Veritas Forum and works at both Berkeley and Stanford.

Saturday 26 August 2017: Kickoff Potluck

On Saturday the 26th of August 2017 the Faculty-Staff Christian Fellowship had its annual potluck at the Furmans' home.

Wednesday 16 Nov 2016:  Leslie Wickman

On Wednesday the 16th of November the noon meeting will be in the student union room SU 2A.   Dr. Leslie Wickman, Executive Director of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA,, will be joining us.  This should be a very interesting discussion about Dr. Wickman's experience of being a Christian and a scientist, as well as hearing more about the ASA and its unique mission especially in regards to science and faith. 

Leslie Wickman, Ph.D., How Can We Know Whether God Exists?

  • 7-9 p.m., Wednesday 16 November 2016
  • ENG 189

Dr. Wickman is an internationally respected research scientist, engineering consultant, author, inspirational speaker and the executive director of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA).

Leslie Wickman with FSCF.


Wednesday 14 September 2016: Mike Licona

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday the 14th of September 2016 in ENG 189 (Engineering auditorium) Mike Licona will speak on Who is the “Real” Jesus? History, Hogwash, & Hot Air.  Recent books portray Jesus in radically different ways than how he is presented in the New Testament.  Mike Licona shows how to distinguish the authentic Jesus from counterfeits. for more.

The talk is sponsored by the SJSU Faculty-Staff Christian Fellowship in partnership with Ratio Christi.

Saturday 27 August 2016 - Kickoff Potluck

On Saturday the 27th of August 2016 the Faculty-Staff Christian Fellowship had its annual potluck at the Furmans' home.


Noon, Wednesday 9 March 2016 - Tom Woodward on epigenetics

Dr. Tom Woodward will speak at noon on Wednesday the 9th of March from noon to 1 p.m. in CCB 222.  Dr. Woodward is the author or co-author or several books which chronicle various aspects of the continuing debate between darwinism, intelligent design and creationism.  His talk will be on epigenetics, the subject of the 2011 book he co-authored, The Mysterious Epigenome: What Lies Beyond DNA.   He is the director of the C.S. Lewis Society based in Tampa, FL.

1900 Monday 16 March 2015 - Dr. Michael Denton in Washington Square Hall

Ratio Christi would like to invite you on Monday, March 16 at 7PM in Washington Square Hall 207 for a lecture with Dr. Michael Denton.
Talk Title: "The Place of Life and the Humanity in the Cosmos"

Talk Description: Are humans the accidental products of a blind and uncaring universe? Or are they the beneficiaries of a cosmic order that was planned beforehand to help them flourish? Join geneticist and author Michael Denton as he explores scientific evidence showing how both the universe and the Earth are exquisitely fine-tuned to make human life and the life of other organisms possible.

Bio for Dr. Denton: Dr. Denton holds an MD from Bristol University and a PhD in biochemistry from King's College in London. From 1990-2005, he was a Senior Research Fellow in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. He is the author of two path-breaking books, Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe and Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, as well as many technical articles in major scientific journals. Dr. Denton's research has led to the identification of several new retinal disease genes including the gene used in the first successful gene therapy trial at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London in 2009.

Hope you can join us. Please share with anyone who you think will be interested. Thank you, and we hope to see you there!

Jane Pantig- Ratio Christi Chapter Director

Fall Kickoff Potluck

On Saturday, August 17, 2013 from about 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm, the Fellowship will gather at the Furmans' home to hear about summer adventures and plan for Fellowship activities for the 2013/14 Academic Year. Contact Buff Furman ( for more information.