Hospitality, in cultures around the world, is an esteemed and treasured virtue. The ancient Greeks viewed hospitality, called xenia in Greek, as a foundational part of their culture, and Zeus was sometimes called Zeus Xenios, or “protector of strangers.” The Center for Western Studies states, “all the problems in the Odyssey were caused by poor xenia.” Hospitality preserved the relationships and social cooperation necessary in a rapidly expanding society.
Similarly, ancient Jewish culture valued hospitality and considered it a divine imperative. From the inception of the Jewish nation in God’s covenant with Abraham, kindness and compassion toward strangers was of preeminent importance. In the New Testament, as the people of Israel begin to share the gospel with their neighbors, they are encouraged to remain hospitable. For example, Hebrews 13:2 encourages believers, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
In a culture that remains politically, religiously, culturally, and racially divided, what can classical education learn from the ancient Greek, Jewish, and Christian traditions? How can classical education demonstrate a model of hospitality that promotes the best of these traditions to disrupt and overcome the division that plagues our society? What are some themes, ideas, and practices we should keep in mind?
Aaron Howard is Founder and CEO of As One Christian Diversity Staffing, a consulting and recruiting organization that provides biblical solutions to Christian schools, universities, and organizations pursuing kingdom diversity and belonging. He has over twenty-five years experience serving in leadership roles in diverse schools, organizations, and churches. He will begin serving this fall as Assistant Professor of Ethics, Reconciliation, and Worship at Lipscomb University. He currently serves as Director of Diversity, Community, and Inclusion at Franklin Road Academy, an independent Christian school in Nashville, TN.
Dr. Howard received his Ph.D. in Ethics and Society from Vanderbilt University, an MA in Theology, Biblical Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, an MA in Education from San Diego State University, and a BA in Anthropology from UCLA. He also completed a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.
People form communities and communities form people. Christian communities ought to be reconciling communities, but unfortunately, too many Christian communities mirror the same practices as secular communities around conflict and division. In this breakout session, we’ll introduce the five practices leaders need to build a reconciling community within their organization.
David M. Bailey is a public theologian, culture maker, and catalyst focused on building reconciling communities. David is the founder and Chief Vision Officer of Arrabon, a spiritual formation ministry that equips the American Church to actively and creatively pursue racial healing in their communities. He is the co-author of the study series, A People, A Place, and A Just Society, and the executive producer of the documentary 11 am: Hope for America’s Most Segregated Hour and the Urban Doxology Project. David is rooted at East End Covenant Fellowship, serving on the preaching team, and his greatest honor is to be married to his wonderful wife, Joy.
Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly whereas the devil takes himself far too seriously, falling by the force of his own gravity. So says G. K. Chesterton, the self-described “jolly journalist” who is worth taking seriously because he took himself so lightly. With wit, wisdom and eyes wide open with wonder, Chesterton shows us the way to paradise by way of paradox. Joseph Pearce, author of Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton, gives a guided tour of Chesterton’s life, work, wit, wisdom and legacy.
Sandra McCracken will be leading worship from the main stage in the morning and afternoon of Friday, June 16, followed by her highly-anticipated concert at 6:00pm. See the conference schedule for further information!
Sandra McCracken is a singer-songwriter and hymn writer from Nashville, Tennessee. A prolific recording artist, McCracken has produced 14 solo albums over two decades. Her best selling release, Psalms (2015) received critical acclaim, followed by God’s Highway (2017) which made the top 50 on Billboard Heatseekers chart without a major label. She has had songs featured in TV, including ‘Ten Thousand Angels’ on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and has over 15 million streams. Blending the old and new, Sandra has also shown a unique ability to recast sacred scripture texts into theologically rich yet accessible songs. Her thoughtful lyrics and gospel melodies in songs like “We Will Feast In The House Of Zion,” “Steadfast” and “Thy Mercy My God” have become staple anthems in churches across the U.S. As a published writer, she contributes a regular column in Christianity Today and released her first book “Send Out Your Light” in September 2021.
He served most recently as dean of Christ College, the Honors College of Valparaiso University. An outspoken advocate for liberal education, he oversaw the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts, comprising a network of more than 100 colleges and universities. Among the earliest participants in the Teach for America program, President Kanelos is as passionate about teaching as he is about writing and scholarship. He founded the Cropper Center for Creative Writing at the University of San Diego and is a noted Shakespeare scholar, having served as the resident Shakespearean in the Old Globe MFA Program and the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Shakespeare Studies Program at Loyola University Chicago.
Beck A. Taylor comes to Samford University after serving as the 18th president of Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, since 2010. Prior to this appointment, Taylor served as dean and professor of economics for Samford’s Brock School of Business (2005-2010), and associate dean for research and faculty development for Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business (1997-2005).
Taylor’s tenure at Whitworth was highlighted by a renewed emphasis on community involvement; efforts to enhance academic programs and quality; the building of new campus infrastructure to facilitate the university’s academic, athletic, and student life programs; the creation of newly endowed faculty positions and centers; leading Whitworth’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign; and an emphasis on overall institutional effectiveness.
After earning his undergraduate degree from Baylor with majors in economics and finance, Taylor was employed as an analyst for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in Houston, Texas. He went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University. After returning to the Baylor faculty, Taylor was named the first holder of the W.H. Smith Professorship in Economics. In 2002, he was appointed as a visiting scholar by Harvard University where he spent one year in residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
As dean of Samford’s Brock School of Business, Taylor led the rapid transformation of the business school, including its renaming to honor Harry B. Brock, Jr., founder of Compass Bank. Taylor led the Brock School of Business to establish eight new academic programs, as well as the school’s new honors program. The school’s entrepreneurship program was recognized in 2010 as the nation’s top emerging program by the U.S. Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship. In an effort to build bridges between students and the Birmingham business community, Taylor established the Samford Business Network, as well as a 45-member advisory board of the region’s top business leaders.
As a scholar, Taylor has published dozens of studies in economics journals such as Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Human Resources and Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking. Illustrating his diverse research interests and his connections to the social sciences, Taylor has also published groundbreaking research in public health and child developmental psychology. His research has been cited in testimony given before the U.S. Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, and the California State Assembly, and also has been referenced in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Christian Science Monitor.
Taylor is a member of numerous professional and academic organizations, and he has served as a strategic business consultant for dozens of organizations. Taylor and his wife of 28 years, Julie, have three children: Zachary, 25, a Nashville-based music recording artist, Lauren, 22, a recent Whitworth graduate, and Chloe, 14.
Barna Group has researched faith trends in the United States and around the world for more than 40 years, specializing in the study of generations and the intersection of faith and culture. Together, let’s explore a handful of key cultural shifts and their impact on and implications for our organizations.