Christ & Flourishing
Revitalizing Christian Higher Ed. With the help of a three-year grant from the Texas Methodist Foundation, we have formed a fellowship of nine educators with the aim of deepening engagement with Christ and the question of flourishing across Christian higher education.
Implementing New Courses. By the end of 2021, ten new institutions will have launched a course adopting the framework and principles of our "Christ and Being Human" course at Yale Divinity School.
Researching Opportunities for Growth. Focus groups and survey data are deepening our understanding of what instructors and administrators need to bring these transformative courses to their institutions. This research will equip us to expand beyond our current fellowship to reach students at more colleges, seminaries, and divinity schools.
Pedagogy Fellows & Recent Course Implementations
Ian Clauson Villanova University
Christoph Chalamet University of Geneva, Switzerland
Oliver Dürr University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Kevin Gary Valparaiso University
Angela Gorrell Baylor University
Jamal-Dominique Hopkins Dickerson-Green Theological Seminary
Elisabeth Kincaid Nashotah House Theological Seminary
Ralph Kunz University of Zurich, Switzerland
Sara Schumacher St Mellitus College, London, UK
Matthew Smith Azusa Pacific University
Sameer Yadav Westmont College
Jesus & the Meaning of Life
Angela Gorrell implemented a Christ & Being Human course at Baylor University in Spring 2021. Student evaluations indicated a deeply impactful educational experience:
"The conversations we had were so important to thinking about who I am and what I want to pursue. They have affected the way I think about myself, God, my future, family, friends, and daily life."
"The subject matter of this course directly addresses the fundamental questions & concerns people wrestle with in contemporary society. I appreciated the vulnerability we were able to have so that class discussion went beyond surface level and incorporated lived experiences."
Our work of building a network of professors and administrators across Christian higher education has only just begun.
If you a teacher at a Christian institution and would like to explore implementing a Christ & Being Human course, contact Drew Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life Worth Living
The Life Worth Living Program recently crossed a number of milestones.
Over 1,600 students globally have taken a Life Worth Living course since its first implementation in 2014, including over 500 students at Yale College.
This year, 5 new graduate students taught Life Worth Living at Yale, bringing our all-time instructor count to 17. That number will climb to 22 instructors by spring 2022.
286 students around the world took a Life Worth Living course during 2021. This includes Yale's version of the course, as well as implementations at other universities.
Since 2019, 2,390 students at the University of South Florida have taken “World Religions for Healthcare Professionals.” See below for instructor Garrett Potts's reflections on implementing the course.
Planning to Scale the Life Worth Living Approach
Beyond Yale, a grant from the John Templeton Foundation has allowed us to bring together a team of Life Worth Living teachers and like-minded educators from a wide variety of colleges, universities, and K-12 institutions to develop plans for bringing transformative Life Worth Living courses to even more campus.
Abdullah Antepli Duke University
Daniel Chua Hong Kong University
Joshua Forstenzer Sheffield University
Angela Gorrell Baylor University
Andrea Kasper Solomon Schechter Day School
Mireille Pardon Berea College
Casey Strine Sheffield University
Meghan Sullivan University of Notre Dame
Zachary Wooten West Chester University
Religion & Health
Garrett Potts implemented “World Religions for Healthcare Professionals” at the University of South Florida in 2019, utilizing the principles of the Life Worth Living approach. He writes:
"Each semester, I am privileged to introduce up to 850 students to some of the central tenets of the Life Worth Living program as a part of their Religion & Health coursework. We examine some of the world’s most influential religious systems, reflecting deeply on what each one says about the good life, and engaging together in the practice of pluralistic dialogue.
One Spring 2021 student expressed:
'The material and our conversations in class helped me understand how to strive for a self-transcendent purpose, instead of happiness or wealth, construed in materialistic terms. Our greater purpose is found in loving, courageous service to others!'
Having the opportunity to witness the personal transformation and individual flourishing of my students via their engagement with one another in Life Worth Living themes is something that I count among one of the greatest blessings of my life."
We're currently working with our cohort of existing Life Worth Living partners to expand and scale our approach to pluralistic humanities education.
If you're a teacher passionate about equipping your students for the lifelong task of discerning and pursuing a life worthy of our humanity, contact Matt Croasmun at email@example.com.
We write books that aim to articulate a vision of flourishing life in light of the person and work of Jesus Christ, promote individual discernment of what matters most, and foster truth-seeking conversations among diverse visions of flourishing.
The past six months have been creatively and intellectually fruitful, with final edits finished for one book, the manuscript of another completed, and still another nearing completion. Miroslav, Matt, and Ryan also signed a contract with Penguin–Random House to publish Life Worth Living, a guide for asking and beginning to answer the most important questions or our lives.
On YCFC's Publishing Horizon
The Unique and Universal Christ, Drew Collins
The Home of God, Miroslav Volf & Ryan McAnnally-Linz
The Hunger for Home, Matthew Croasmun & Miroslav Volf
Life Worth Living, Miroslav Volf, Ryan McAnnally-Linz, & Matt Croasmun
Through support from the McDonald Agape Foundation, we have held three virtual research consultations since fall 2020. These consultations both improve our work and focus the attention of world-class scholars on vital questions concerning the shape of flourishing life.
2021 Consultation Participants
Ellen Davis Duke Divinity School
Beverly Gaventa Baylor University
Janna Gonwa Gannon University
Kevin Hector University of Chicago
Shai Held Mechon Hadar
David Kelsey Yale Divinity School
Karen Kilby Durham University
Vincent Lloyd Villanova University
J. Richard Middleton Northeastern Seminary
Aristotle Papanikolaou Fordham University
Paul Rorem Princeton Theological Seminary
C. Kavin Rowe Duke Divinity School
Katherine Sonderegger Virginia Theological Seminary
Marianne Meye Thompson Fuller Theological Seminary
Sameer Yadav Westmont College
Let me be the thinking heart of these barracks.
Etty Hillesum's prayer from the Westerbork Concentration Camp, 1943—quoted in Miroslav Volf's June 2021 reflection on prayer.
This spring marked the first full year of our weekly podcast, For the Life of the World, which has surpassed 136,000 downloads over 74 episodes and featured guests such as N. T. Wright, Willie Jennings, Marilynne Robinson, Krista Tippett, Elizabeth Bruenig, Makoto Fujimura, and many more.
2021 Episode Highlights
Here's a snapshot of some of our recent episodes. If you haven't subscribed yet, subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts.
Thank you, friends.
We are grateful to all our supporters—families, individuals, churches, schools, foundations, and other communities—committed to the challenge of living lives worthy of our humanity in today's world. Your investment in and care for our work is an inspiration to continued pursuit of lives worth living.