David Brooks on Being Religious in the Public Square
Adam Joyce, program assistant, Center for Transformational Churches
This February, the Center for Transformational Churches and Trinity International University hosted New York Times columnist and author David Brooks for a faculty lunch event and an evening lecture followed by a panel discussion.
Brooks’ evening lecture, which can be viewed here, concentrated on how to be religious in the public square, discussing the challenges and opportunities Christians face in addressing issues of poverty, sexuality, education and more. He said that while “Christian institutions can sometimes build ramps which welcome…outsiders into this shared knowledge…they can also erect walls that push people away.” These walls include forms of withdrawal, condescension and bad listening. He encouraged Christians not to lose hope of connecting with and serving the culture around them, saying that he sees in the largely secular students he teaches at Yale a hunger for meaning and unconditional acceptance. Christian institutions, he said, have “what everyone else is desperate to get, which is a way of talking and educating the human that integrates faith, emotion and intellect.”
After Brooks’ remarks, a panel discussion comprised of Trinity faculty members – Douglas Sweeney, Greg Forster, D.A. Carson and Lisa Sung – interacted with his work and presentation. This was a rich time for the Trinity community to discuss the future of Christianity in America with one of the most prominent American public intellectuals.
Pastor 4.0 Event
Nathan Hitchcock, associate professor of church history and theology, Sioux Falls Seminary
Sioux Falls Seminary featured Charlie Self at its annual Hiller Lectureship on April 13, 2016. Over 120 Christian leaders came together to hear about “Pastor 4.0.” Attendees described Self’s presentations as “inspiring,” “powerful,” “relevant” and “top quality.”
Self deftly laid out a history of the pastorate over two millennia. Pastor 1.0 served as shepherd of exiles and pastor 2.0 functioned as the administrator of sacramental grace. Pastor 3.0 was understood as the preacher and teacher of the Word, educating and inspiring the laity. Self argued that the next pastor, pastor 4.0, will be “the catalytic equipper of God’s people for service in their many vocations.”
This kind of pastor will develop others for mission in their respective spheres of influence, and will function as discoverer-explorer, convener, catalyst, commissioner and even Chief Listening Officer. Finally, pastor 4.0’s success should be measured in ways that gauge the flourishing of joy, peace and justice.
This event both summed up and crowned Sioux Falls Seminary’s emphasis on connecting faith to work and business over the past few years.