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Discussion opens at Taylor

Announcing a series of articles and forums

Tom Jones | Contributor

At the beginning of the year, Campus Pastor Jon Cavanagh invited the Taylor community to take time at 10 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to come together, praise God, seek His presence and open our Bibles, minds and hearts to simply “consider.”  Many of us took Jon’s call seriously and were challenged to “consider” the ideas presented in chapel through Scripture, hymns and choruses, and sermons and messages with fresh eyes, ears, hearts and souls.

But, as we now find ourselves in April, many of us know that we are less intentional about “considering” and, on our best days, we are more likely to engage in “selective considering” rather than actively seeking a deeper understanding of perspectives that are different than ours or that make us uncomfortable. One of the consequences is that we miss out on one of the most important opportunities to become more mature disciples of Jesus and more knowledgeable and winsome as his ambassadors.

Students here the thoughts of a speaker.

Students hear the thoughts of a speaker.

The Echo Opinions Editor, Jed Barber, and I, as dean of the school of humanities, arts & biblical studies, are taking this opportunity to invite you to join with us as we “consider” a variety of social, political and cultural topics in the column over the next few weeks and follow-up with a conversation about each topic in Tuesday evening sessions.

Barber and I will convene each session on Tuesday evening at 8:15 p.m. in a location yet to be determined.  All members of the Taylor community are invited to join in the conversation with the expectation that no respectfully offered point of view that is on topic will be off limits and that no participant will be allowed to dominate the conversation.

After delegates to the Constitutional Convention finished their work, a prominent socialite in Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin responded without hesitation: “A republic if you can keep it.”

One of the essentials in maintaining a representative democracy such as ours is the ability and willingness of informed and thoughtful citizens to participate in civil discourse about issues and ideas that go to the core of our identity. And, the conversation needs to welcome expression of all serious perspectives that are shared respectfully and for the purpose promoting a deeper understanding of the issues and ideas.

Jed and I invite you to submit an idea for one of the future columns. You can connect with Jed at jed_barber@taylor.edu.  My email is thjones@taylor.edu.

Keep the 8:15 p.m. sessions on Tuesdays in mind and plan to join us for one or more of them.

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