Catherine and I are spending the coming week at Following Christ 08,
an amazing conference for graduate and professional students and faculty. The theme this year is "human flourishing," and the conference background paper
on that subject is well worth reading. It's one of the many terrific things that InterVarsity Christian Fellowship produces. Some of the most thoughtful and soulful events, books, communities, and people we know have come from InterVarsity. (Including, of course, Culture Making
from InterVarsity Press!) We love supporting several IVCF staff and events like Following Christ—partly because our own lives were so shaped by InterVarsity's work in college. We're doing our best to pay it forward.
Are there universal elements of human flourishing, things that every person needs to flourish? If so, which of these are immediate gifts of God and which can be created, shaped, or nourished by the practice of the academic and professional disciplines?
Why do men and women fail to flourish? To what extent does sin, both personal and systemic, account for this failure?
In the face of such failure, how is the gospel good news and how does it help us flourish ourselves within our vocations and beyond?
Is it really true that to fully flourish one must be a follower of Jesus? How can such an outrageous claim be presented compellingly in our culture?
Must our bodies be doing well for us to flourish? In what ways does our embodiment affect our flourishing?
What does pursuing excellence have to do with human flourishing? Is elitism inherent in excellence, and does it impede human flourishing in a diverse society?
Will the career and personal path I’m on lead to my flourishing and that of others? Are my vocation and occupation in sync? Should I perhaps change paths, and how can I know?
What kinds of suffering stifle human flourishing, and what kinds can contribute to it?
How can we prepare to flourish and help others flourish in the face of an uncertain future and rapid social, cultural, economic, and technological change?