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Academy, University, Church

Maybe you are unaccustomed to the words in the title of this post being lumped together; perhaps even more unusual to have their association in a positive sense.

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My friend and colleague, Jason Stanley, has invited me to speak about Parables of Parenthood at his church, Peakland United Methodist. The program is called Peakland Academy and invites speakers both in and outside the congregation to offer presentations on a variety of topics. Check it out here.

I am honored to participate. I also believe this program is a terrific idea. For years now, I have held onto to a quote by Robert Frost, often mentioned by my mentor, Frances Taylor Gench: the mark of a scholar is the ability to listen to a different point of view and not become angry. Glancing at the editorial page or overhearing a conversation in a coffee shop provides ample evidence that this kind of learning is sorely needed in our society today. But what Frances taught us would-be-pastors and Christian educators is that such scholars need to be found in the pews and Sunday School classrooms too.

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Yesterday, New Dublin Presbyterian welcomed Matthew Sink, a pastor at Pinedale Christian Church in North Carolina, for conversation about his book, A Map for the Middle. One of the keen insights he offered was the idea of a church serving as a “university of life” by which knowledge is transferred, not only from presentations and speakers, but from mentors. Often, it is the lessons that are modeled for us in others that make the greatest impact.

I want my son to grow up in a community of faith that encourages conversation, even when we disagree; a church composed of people who are curious, thoughtful, and eager to learn. I am grateful for colleagues from different denominations who are thinking, sharing, and inspiring the larger church to be relevant, meaningful and life-changing. May God give us wisdom as we move forward together that we may mature in our faith.

About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.

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