Michelle Crotwell Kirtley
Michelle Kirtley, PhD, is the editor of Capital Commentary and a Center for Public Justice trustee. Before joining the Center for Public Justice as associate editor, Michelle served as a science and health policy advisor on Capitol Hill, working for Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D. (R-FL) and Congressman John Fleming, M.D. (R-LA). During her tenure with Congressman Weldon, she oversaw the congressman’s legislative efforts in biotechnology policy, including legislation to ban human cloning, ban fetus farming, and limit the scope of human gene patents. During the healthcare reform debates of 2009-10, Michelle advised Congressman Fleming on his legislative and communications strategy, drafting alternative healthcare reform proposals, speeches, editorials, and constituent communications.
Michelle’s Capitol Hill career arose from her experience in the Center’s Civitas program. The holistic framework for Christian political engagement she learned from the Center for Public Justice served as an anchor as she navigated the often haphazard world of single-issue politics.
Michelle completed her doctorate in cell biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her undergraduate degree in molecular biology from Princeton University. Michelle also serves as a bioethics and public policy consultant at The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity, a research center at Trinity International University.
Aaron Belz is a graduate of New York University’s creative writing program and holds a doctorate in American literature from Saint Louis University. He’s written about poetry for Books & Culture, Comment, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and other publications.
His own two collections, The Bird Hoverer (2007) and Lovely, Raspberry (2010) have drawn praise. Library Journal writes, “Though he evokes the hip coastal schools, Belz is essentially Midwestern and excels at transforming folksiness into dissonance”; and John Ashbery says, “Aaron Belz’s poetry reminds us that poetry should be bright, friendly, surprising, and totally committed to everything but itself. Reading him is like dreaming of a summer vacation and then taking it.” He lives in Efland, N.C. See http://belz.net for more information, or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/aaronbelz.
Belz said, “My choice to write for Capital Commentary arises from a desire to resolve a longstanding (implied) quarrel between contemporary poetry and politics. Since the early 20th century, Western poetry, like Western art, has turned aesthetic and largely held itself aloof from economic and political concerns – its practitioners, though often willing to engage in activism, taking a cynical, hopeless view of politicians and distrusting the political process. The history of poetry and politics would seem to imply otherwise, that the relationship can be not only healthy but vital. Our creative culture needs to speak hopefully to our forms of self-government. Our government is more than, as Thoreau wrote, ‘a wooden gun to the people,’ psychologically satisfying but practically impotent.”
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Politics and Prose
For nearly 30 years Byron Borger and his wife, Beth, have owned and operated Hearts & Minds, a bookstore in Dallastown, Pa. In the late 1970s Byron served with the Pittsburgh-based CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach), doing campus ministry and helping develop the legendary Jubilee conference for college students. He briefly worked as a social justice and peacemaking organizer with the Pittsburgh-based Thomas Merton Center.
Byron has been following the work of the Center for Public Justice since its earliest days. He blogs about books at www.heartsandmindsbooks.com/booknotes/, helping customers learn more about the joys of daily discipleship and “thinking Christianly” about work, calling, public life, and cultural renewal.
Timothy Sherratt, PhD, is a professor in the Political Science department at Gordon College, Wenham, Mass., where he teaches American politics, constitutional law, and Christian political thought. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Oxford University and his PhD from the University of Kentucky. He is the author, with Ronald P. Mahurin, of Saints as Citizens: A Guide to Public Responsibilities for Christians (Baker, 1995).
He has authored chapters in two books, and his work has appeared in The Christian Scholar’s Review, Catholic Social Science Review, and The Review of Faith and International Affairs. He has written book reviews for The Journal of Law and Religion, The Journal of Church and State, and The Evangelical Review of Society and Politics (UK). He and Christine have four children and live in Rowley, Mass.
Sherratt said, “I enjoy writing for Capital Commentary against the background of a more than 20-year association with the Center for Public Justice, dating from my move to Gordon College in 1989. I found in the Center’s work a careful articulation of the principal questions that had animated my thinking since undergraduate days, namely how Christianity informs the public square, and how Christians may reflect this most faithfully. The first question found important answers in the neo-Calvinist (and the closely related Catholic) tradition of social and political reflection, which is foundational to the Center; the second was modeled in the friendly, engaged, and irenic approach of Jim Skillen, the Center’s founding president. Capital Commentary is an important organ because it articulates a biblical perspective on the human condition little known in the United States, one that reads American politics deeply, appreciatively, and critically.”