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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 3, 2009

Finding God at Iowa forums begin Feb. 6

The Geneva Campus Ministry kicks off its Finding God at Iowa Lunch Forum series for the spring semester Friday, Feb. 6, with playwright and Iraq war veteran Joshua Casteel.

Casteel will speak from noon to 1 p.m. in the Penn State Room (Room 337) at the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU). His presentation, "Reflections on War and the Kingdom of God," will focus on what demands are made of the conscience when the call of the state conflicts with the call of the cross.

A Cedar Rapids native, Casteel had always dreamed of becoming a soldier. At the age of 17 he signed a contract to go into the Army Reserves and after 9/11 was called up for full active duty. Within a few months after his training as an Arabic linguist and interrogator, he was deployed to Baghdad and the Abu Ghraib prison.

The moral conflict he experienced there led him to apply for discharge as a conscientious objector, and he has become an outspoken international opponent of the Iraq war. His e-mails were the basis for the play "Returns," which was premiered at the UI in 2007. He is currently a student at the UI Playwrights Workshop.

Upcoming Friday lunch forums, all from noon to 1 p.m. in the IMU, include:

--March 6, IMU Purdue Room (Room 341), "This Moment in American History." UI Theatre Arts Professor Tisch Jones will reflect on the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

--April 3, IMU Michigan Room (Room 351), "Happy 500th Birthday, John Calvin," Prof. Raymond Mentzer, professor of Religious Studies at the UI, will give his reflections on the life and legacy of one of the central figures of the Protestant Reformation.

--May 1, IMU Penn State Room (Room 337), "God Loves Us and is in Control," Peter Hatch, scientific glassblower for the UI Department of Chemistry, will share how his spiritual journey included becoming a glassblower.

Speakers address issues from a Christian perspective, and everyone is welcome to join the discussion. For more information contact Ed Laarman at 319-341-0007 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Ed Laarman, Geneva Campus Ministry, 319-341-0007,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,