News


09
Oct 2019
We Are All “Under Construction”

In his excellent book The Road to Character, David Brooks raises the following questions in the final chapter: • Toward what should I orient my life? • Who am I and what is my nature? • How do I mold my nature to make it gradually better day by day? • What virtues are the most important to cultivate and what weaknesses should I fear the most? • How can I raise my children with a true sense of who they are and a practical set of ideas about how to travel......

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30
Sep 2019
Rethinking Happiness, Values, and Success

This fall, I am teaching an undergraduate course at Vanderbilt focusing on the notion of success and the American Dream, a concept defined in many different ways.  We started the semester with some basic working hypotheses. First, in the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers say that there are certain inalienable rights from our Creator, including “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  But what is happiness and how do we pursue it? Second, research has shown that the “birth lottery” plays a significant role in determining an individual’s starting point in......

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27
Sep 2019

Enneagram expert Hunter Mobley returns to Woodmont with a 3-week series “The Enneagram and Relationships.” Week 1, Sept. 25: “Relationship to Self” Week 2, Oct. 2: “Relationship to Others” Week 3, Oct. 9: “Relationship to God” The Enneagram is a centuries-old tradition that describes nine personality-based approaches to life. Focusing on motivation, rather than behavior, the Enneagram helps us discern both our brokenness and our path toward healing. By understanding our Enneagram type (one of nine numbers, 1-9), we begin a lifelong journey of spiritual work to move beyond episodic meaning and......

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25
Sep 2019
The Enneagram and Relationships

On Wednesday nights, we are starting a brand-new series with Hunter Mobley focusing on “The Enneagram and Relationships.” Dinner will be at 5:30 and his talk will begin at 6:15 pm. This will take place on Wednesday nights, September 25th, October 2nd, and October 9th. The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that helps us better understand ourselves and each other. It is over 2000 years old but it was not thoroughly written down until the 1970’s and has become very popular in recent years. It helps us to come to......

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16
Sep 2019
7 Key Challenges for 21st Century Christianity

I recently gave a talk about the church of the future. This is a subject that I think about often and it’s on the mind of many church leaders. Within mainline Christianity, denominational decline and statistics are depressing. Many churches are aging and struggling to reach younger generations. However, some churches are thriving and bucking the trend. What have these churches discovered that needs to be shared? I’d like to identify seven key challenges that represent opportunities for growth and change. First: Authenticity matters. Younger generations can sniff out phoniness and superficiality.......

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29
Aug 2019
Religion, Hope, and the American Dream

Columbia University professor Andrew Delbanco published a fascinating book in 1999 titled The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope. In the book, he gives a spiritual history of our nation and how each generation has worked to create a culture of meaning to make sense of life’s challenges, suffering, and purpose. In the early years, Delbanco says that the primary focus was on God. However, unlike in Britain, Christian faith became a free choice and was not forced upon the people. The role of the pulpit in those early years was......

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22
Aug 2019

In his most famous sermon, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” To that, he added, “If you are angry at a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment.” In the gospel of John, he tells the disciples, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; I do not give to you as the world gives.” I often wonder how many people are truly serious about peacemaking. It’s certainly not the same thing as “peace-loving” or even “peace-keeping,” both......

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15
Aug 2019
What Mass Shootings Reveal About Our Culture

I was a freshman in college when the Columbine massacre occurred in 1999. I remember watching the news coverage in my dorm room, completely dismayed that somebody would do such an evil thing at a high school. If you remember, the killers asked some of the young victims to renounce their faith in God on the spot. When they didn’t, they pulled the trigger. I was a few years out of seminary when the Virginia Tech shootings took place in 2007, taking the lives of thirty-two people on a college campus. Sandy......

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