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Spring 2008 | Volume 31, Number 1 | Features

Response Essay Competition 2008

“Engaging the Culture, Changing the World”

Lisa Lister, one of two winners of the Response Essay Competition 2008.
Lisa Lister, one of two winners of the Response 2008 Essay Competition.

Thirty essays from 14 states and four countries — including Nigeria. The 2008 Response Essay Competition attracted an impressive number of entries, and writers presented judges (the magazine’s editorial staff) with a diverse array of articles exploring what it means to engage the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and bring about positive change in our world.

The challenge was to write an essay that conveyed this theme in some way, whether through a personal story, investigative reporting, or some other form of creative nonfiction. Judges read each entry without knowing the identity of the writer, and evaluated it both for the quality of writing and for the creative expression of the theme. The decision wasn’t easy — as attested to by the fact that not one, but two, first-place winners were selected.

Coincidentally, both first-place essays have their roots in university classrooms — but that’s where the similarity ends. The authors live on opposite sides of the country. One is a university professor on the East Coast; the other is an advertising sales representative for Christian radio stations in Seattle.

With so many standout entries, judges also chose two runner-up essays, by Nathan Hedman ’95 and Marjorie McRae. Three of the four 2008 winners are not SPU alumni, which is indicative of the breadth of Response readership. Read all four winning essays here, including the two runners up.

2008 Response Essay Competition Winners:

"Signs and Stories" by Lisa Lister
"The Assignment" by Jake Herzog


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