Introducing Keith Loftin

Our third guest on the Scholarly Panel is Dr. R. Keith Loftin, who will be providing a philosophical and theological perspective on the question of healing in/by literature.

Dr. Keith Loftin is currently serving as both assistant dean, The Scarborough College at Southwestern, and assistant professor of philosophy & humanities at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Keith has a Ph.D. in philosophical theology from the University of Aberdeen, an a MATh.M. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology, an M.A. from Louisiana State University in philosophy, and an M.A. from the University of Dallas in humanities where he concentrated on history of philosophy. He is the author of Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel and has edited God and Morality: Four ViewsChristian Physicalism? Theological Critiques of Materialist Ontology, and Work in Christian Perspective: Theological Foundations and Practical Implications. He is married to Julie and they have a son named Ian. You can follow Keith on Twitter: 

Introducing Pat Miersma

Our second guest on the Scholarly Panel is Pat Miersma, who will be sharing with us a clinical, therapeutic perspective on language and literature in trauma healing.

Pat Miersma, RN, BScN, MN is a Mental Health Nurse-Ethnic Clinical Specialist.  She currently serves as the Global Trauma Healing Consultant for SIL International, a nonprofit organization serving language communities worldwide in language development since 1934 (  Her work specializes in community and cross-cultural issues related to trauma healing and post-traumatic stress disorder. She previously served as the SIL International Counseling Coordinator.

Pat and her husband, a Marriage and Family Therapist, have served with SIL since 1980.  They have lived and worked in Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and Africa, where they helped establish Tumaini Counseling Center in Nairobi, Kenya in 1989.

Pat serves on the Advisory Council of the Trauma Healing Institute ( and is one of the authors of Healing the Wounds of Trauma:  How the church can help, developed in 2003, and now being used  in 100 countries and published in or being translated into 194 languages.

She holds a MN from UCLA and was assistant professor of psychiatric and community mental health nursing at Biola University from 1992–1996. Pat was an officer in the US Army Nurse Corps at 27th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H. unit) in Chu Lai, South Vietnam, from April 1970-June 1971.


Introducing Dr. Unseth

One of our guests on the Scholarly Panel is Dr. Peter Unseth of the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas.

Pete Unseth likes to tell stories about growing up in Japan, then near Lake Wobegon, MN, and living as an adult in Ethiopia for a dozen years and now 20 years in Texas. He’s Texan enough to tell the story about the dumb fool who went and hit a five foot rattlesnake with a four foot stick, but not enough Texan to say “I’m fixin to” or “I might could be able to do that”. He enjoys the softer side of human language, teaching sociolinguistic topics, dealing with comprehension and emotional solidarity with languages, such as in literature.  He studies proverbs from around the world, and also their use in stories, such as Lewis creating 10 proverbs for The Horse and His Boy.  In pondering some stories to prepare for this conference, he was surprised that he has found that reading some tragedies has also been uplifting. He has also found some stories so powerful that he can only read them when he can concentrate in quiet for prolonged blocks of time. Favorite authors include Sigrid Undset (similarity of last name may have something to do with it),  Dr. Seuss,  Elizabeth Goudge, Helen MacInnes,  J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and his own imagination. But that’s another story…

Scholarly Panel Update: Special Guests Confirmed!

We are happy to announce that all four of our special guests are confirmed for the scholarly panel! Here is a little bit of information about them; we will put up individual posts with longer bios, pics, and more details later on.
Corey Olsen is the founder and president of Signum University, the sponsoring institution of the symposium. He is a Medievalist by training and an expert in J.R.R. Tolkien. He’ll be providing the literary perspective on “Stories for the Refreshment of the Spirit.” 
Keith Loftin is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Humanities and Assistant Dean at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary/Scarborough College, the institution that is hosting this symposium. He’ll be providing the theological/philosophical perspective on literature and healing. 
Pat Miersma is a Mental Health Nurse-Ethnic Clinical Specialist and Global Trauma Healing Consultant. She’ll be providing the clinical/psychological/therapeutic perspective about how stories can help (or harm) in clinical, therapeutic situations for the healing of trauma. 
Pete Unseth is an Associate Professor and Department Head of Applied Anthropology at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas. He’ll be providing the linguistic/anthropological perspective on how heart language and performative sign language can contribute to the healing of cultural traumas. 
– The panel will be moderated by Sørina Higgins, Chair of the Language & Literature Department at Signum University and a PhD candidate and Teacher of Record at Baylor. She is studying magic in 20th century British and Irish theatre; her previous work has been on Charles Williams and C. S. Lewis. If you have questions you would like her to ask the panel members, send them to

Call For Academic Papers and Creative Presentations Extended

Many wonderful things have happened on November 15th. 

  • 3018 T.A. – The Fellowship was resting in Rivendell
  • 1315 – The Swiss defeated Duke Leopold I of Austria in the Battle of Morgarten
  • 1859 – The final installment of A Tale of Two Cities was published
  • 1867 – the first stock ticker debuted
  • 1956 – Elvis Presley made his motion picture debut in Love Me Tender
  • 2017 – The Call for Papers and Creative Presentations closes

We look forward to seeing your abstracts!  Please click here for more info.


Creative Panel Update – J. Aleksandr Wootton to Host

We are pleased to announce that J. Aleksander Wootton will be hosting the creative panel.  Mr. Wootton is an author, poet, and bookworm (in the Tolkienic meaning of ‘worm’ as ‘dragon’ – he hoards books in shelves and spare rooms and likes to sleep surrounded by them). In his spare time he chairs the Folklore Studies department at Lightfoot College, where his research focuses on post-war Faerie.  Mr. Wootton is also the author of three published novels – Her Unwelcome InheritanceThe Eighth Square, and A First or Final Mischief – in the Fayborn trilogy, as well as two poetry collections: Muninn Wandering and Domestaccato.

Please head out to his website or visit his Goodreads page!

TexMoot Registration is now live!

Dear scholars, students, creative writers, and lovers of language & literature: We are pleased to announce that registration for Texmoot is now live! You can sign up here: You don’t want to miss this exciting one-day event where you can talk about your favorite books, listen to smart people give short papers, and enjoy scholarly talks and creative presentations.

And don’t forget our Call for Papers and Creative Presentations: Send us your ideas by November 1st!