Crossroads Faith and Culture Symposium

Crossroads Mission Statement

Montreat College is committed to helping our students develop their ability to experience, engage, and learn from culture within the context of a Christ-centered worldview. As part of this commitment, the Crossroads Faith and Culture Symposium is designed to foster student engagement with the cultural arts: music, literature, film, theatre, and visual art. We acknowledge the centrality of the arts to the human experience, both as an expression of the human condition and as a revelation of God’s character, and we believe that the experience of the arts collectively is an essential part of a full Christian life and education.

2017 Crossroads Schedule


Monday, November 6

10:00am – Main Session 1: Convo with Evan Koons (Graham Chapel)*

11:30am – Lunch Roundtable with Evan Koons (Howerton Side Dining Room)*

8:00pm – Screening of “For the Life of the World” w/ Evan Koons (Morgan 110)*


Tuesday, November 7

9:00am – Workshop Sessions

Choose according to which Asheville Cultural Adventure you will attend
later in the day:

  • Tour of Thomas Wolfe Historic Site w/ Prof. Angle (Chapel of the Prodigal)
  • Tour of Echo Mountain Recording Studios w/ Prof. Auman (McGowan 117/118)
  • Asheville Urban Trail Historical Tour w/ Prof. Brandenburg (Belk 306)
  • Backstage Tour of the Grey Eagle Music Venue w/ Prof. Caress (Gaither 27)
  • Asheville Art Gallery Tour w/ Prof. Flagler (Gaither 25)
  • Tour of Asheville-Citizen Times Newspaper w/ Prof. Martin (Morgan 300)
  • Visit Western Carolina Rescue Mission w/ Prof. Shepson (Library 105)
  • Visit Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center w/ Prof. Shuman (Belk 305)
  • Tour of Moog Music Factory w/ Prof. Smith (Belk 219)
  • Tour of the Chocolate Fetish w/ John J. Thompson (Belk 304)
  • Historic Grove Park Inn Tour w/ Prof. Toland (Morgan 107)
  • Asheville Church Architecture Tour w/ Prof. Wells (Morgan 110)
  • Tour of NC Stage w/ Prof. White-Hinman (Morgan 208)

10:30am – Main Session 2: Convo with Ken Heffner (Graham Chapel)*

11:30am – Lunch Roundtable with Ken Heffner (Howerton Side Dining Room)*

2:00pm – Board Buses for Asheville Trip (Library Lawn)

3:00pm – Choose Your Own Asheville Cultural Adventure (Downtown Asheville)*

5:30pm – Dinner in Asheville (Pack Square, Asheville)

7:30pm – Board Buses for The Grey Eagle (Pack Square, Asheville)

8:00pm – Crossroads Concert Event 1: The Deslondes (The Grey Eagle, Asheville)

10:30pm – Board Buses for Montreat College (The Grey Eagle)


Wednesday, November 8

10:00am – Main Session 3: Crossroads Panel Discussion (Graham Chapel)*

Featuring Ken Heffner and Evan Koons, moderated by Adam Caress

9:30pm – Crossroads Concert Event 2: Room 27 and College Rock Ensembles (Gaither Fellowship Hall)

*All events with asterisk will have convo credit available for students who stay for duration of educational event.


2017 Crossroads Speakers and Performers

Ken Heffner

Ken HeffnerKen Heffner is the Director of Student Activities at Calvin College and is the Director of Calvin’s popular Festival of Faith and Music, which has featured acts such as Sufjan Stevens, Emmylou Harris, Dave Matthews, Neko Case, Gungor, Andrew Bird, The Civil Wars, and tUnE-yArDs, as well as speakers Cornel West, Chuck Klosterman, Makoto Fujimura, Daniel White Hodge, Lauren Winner, James Mumford, and David Dark.

Ken Heffner regularly speaks at CCCU institutions such as Taylor University, Messiah College, and Wheaton College. Ken has served as the Director of Student Activities at Wheeling Jesuit University, was a journalist and producer for Pittsburgh NPR affiliate WDUQ, served with The Coalition for Christian Outreach, and graduated from Grove City College.


Evan Koons

Evan KoonsEvan Koons is a writer, actor, and maker of gratuitous “things.” Together with Stephen Grabill, he is the co-host of the seven-part film series For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles. He is from Grand Rapids, Michigan.


John J. Thompson

John J Thompson (for web)John J. Thompson is a 30-year music industry veteran, author, songwriter, artist, producer, and teacher who currently serves as Associate Dean at Trevecca Nazarene University’s School of Music and Worship Arts and as Creative Director at eOne Music, Nashville. He and his wife Michelle write and record as The Wayside, and host a small group ministry and a slew of different local events out of their home in East Nashville. John’s abiding passions for authentic, spiritually alive art, transformative community, innovative business practices, artisanal living, and home-roasted coffee are explored in his book Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate: Crafting a Hand Made Faith in a Mass Market World (Zondervan/Harper Collins, 2015) and can be found throughout his professional, creative, and ministry-oriented career.


Adam Caress

Adam head shot (for Montreat website)Adam Caress has spent the past twenty years working in the music industry as a performer, recording artist, booking agent, talent buyer, writer, and editor. He is currently Director of Communications and teaches in the Music Business program at Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina. His book The Day Alternative Music Died: Dylan, Zeppelin, Punk, Glam, Alt, Majors, Indies, and the Struggle between Art and Money for the Soul of Rock was published by New Troy Books in 2015.


The Deslondes

The DeslondesThe Deslondes are a five-piece band from New Orleans. In the time between the release of their self-titled debut and sophomore album, Hurry Home, The Deslondes have toured the world and drawn critical acclaim for their studied and inventive take on New Orleans country and R&B.


Past Crossroads Speakers and Performers

Floating Action

Floating Action (for web)Floating Action is one of Asheville, North Carolina’s most popular and critically-acclaimed bands, having shared the stage with acts like Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket. In addition to his work with Floating Action, lead singer and songwriter Seth Kauffman (an alumnus of Montreat College) has recorded with popular acts such as Lana Del Rey, The Black Keys, and Ray LaMontagne. Floating Action’s latest album is Body Questions (New West).


The Jellyrox

Jellyrox (for web)Hailing from the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, The Jellyrox is a one man synth pop act fronted by producer/songwriter Matt Langston, former lead singer of pop-punk band Eleventyseven.


Brian Chan

Brian Chan (small)2014 Crossroads Keynote Speaker Dr. Brian Chan holds his doctorate from Talbot School of Theology where he did his final project on film and Christian Worldview (he is also a Dallas Seminary grad with MA in Christian Education and ThM in historical theology). He is an adjunct professor at Biola University (in beauty and aesthetics) and a church-planter in the EV-Free Church. He is the author of the book,“The Purple Curtain: Living Out Beauty in Faith and Culture from a Biblical Perspective” (a biblical take on beauty and why it matters). He is a painter and a martial artist who has done choreography in Hollywood.



Lisa Coutras

Ms. Lisa Coutras served as the keynote presenter for our Fall 2012 series focus on literature. Lisa is a writer, illustrator, and theology scholar. Her central interest pertains to the relationship of theology to the imagination. She published her first novel at age 16, and went on to study creative writing and philosophy as an undergraduate at fellow CCCU institution, Houghton College. In addition, Lisa holds a Master of Theology degree from the University of Oxford, and is currently entering the dissertation phase of her PhD program at King’s College London. Her research focus is the Narrative Theology of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, under the guidance of Professor Alister McGrath. For more information about Lisa, her website can be accessed at:


Dr. Charlie Starr

Dr. Charlie W. Starr teaches English, Humanities, and Film at Kentucky Christian University in Eastern Kentucky where he also makes movies with his students and family. He writes a monthly column on Christians and the Arts and Media for Lookout magazine and has published four books: two biblical studies books, a science-fiction novel, and, most recently, a children’s book entitled King Lesserlight’s Crown. Charlie has published several scholarly and popular articles on C. S. Lewis, especially on Lewis and film. His essay, “The Silver Chair and the Silver Screen” is the lead chapter in the book Revisiting Narnia, and he has made contributions to pop-culture anthologies on King Kong, The X-men, Lost, Battlestar Galactica and Halo. Besides writing for print, Charlie has acted as a consultant, writer, actor and/or producer on over a dozen short film projects, three of which were accepted as official entries to film festivals across the nation.

Charlie enjoys writing, reading classic literature, watching bad television, and movies of every kind. His areas of expertise as a teacher include literature, film, and all things C. S. Lewis.


Josh Jackson

The fall 2010 keynote presenter was founder and senior editor of Paste Magazine, Mr. Josh Jackson. Josh Jackson shared in chapel as well in addition to participating in a question and answer time that presented an opportunity to hear about how Josh’s career has developed from his academic major in college to being a journalist, founder of a magazine, and now editor.




Derek Webb

The 2010 Crossroads: Faith Culture Project event featured recording artist, Derek Webb.





David Dark

David was the 2009 Crossroads: Faith and Culture Project keynote speaker. He is also the author of The Sacredness of Questioning EverythingEveryday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons, and Other Pop Culture Icons and The Gospel According To America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea.