ESN Conversation: Witness in the Academy with Rick Mattson

February 29, 2024 at 8 pm ETRick Mattson writes, “As a graduate or faculty member,  identifying yourself as a follower of Jesus and sharing his message with others can feel daunting. Your reputation and even your career could be at risk.” Rick offers a fresh perspective and practical suggestions grounded in God’s prior work in others.

Rick Mattson is a traveling evangelism trainer for InterVarsity’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries. His previous books include Faith is Like Skydiving and Faith Unexpected. He lives with his family in St. Paul, MN.

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Photos of Rick Mattson and Witness in the Classroom book cover

ESN Conversation: Land of My Sojourn with Mike Cosper

Feb 14, 2024 12:00 PM

“In the years since leaving local church ministry, I’ve devoted an enormous amount of time and resources to examining the church’s often troubled witness, its ongoing crisis of leadership, and the epidemic of narcissism, abuse, and cover-up that has continued to emerge year after year.” Mike Cosper is a writer and podcaster for Christians in a post-Christian world. He’s the director of podcasting for Christianity Today, where he hosts The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill and Cultivated: A Podcast about Faith and Work.

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ESN Conversation: A Non-Anxious Life with Alan Fadling

January 16, 2024 at 3 pm ET

Anxiety leads us to succumb to fear and fight peace. Anxious living is a distortion of good motives, blocking the clarity of stillness and rest. Alan Fadling has also felt mastered by worry, but he brings counsel on how to learn a better way and who to look to for it: Jesus, “the ultimate non-anxious presence.” He constructs a posture from which we can rest more deeply, live more fully, and lead better.

Alan Fadling is president and founder of Unhurried Living, Inc. in Mission Viejo, California. He speaks and consults internationally. He is the award-winning author of An Unhurried Leader and An Unhurried Life

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ESN Conversation: Rethinking the Police with Daniel Reinhardt

In Rethinking the Police, Reinhardt lays out a history of policing in the United States, showing how it developed a culture of dehumanization, systemic racism, and brutality. But Reinhardt doesn’t stop there: he offers a new model of policing based not in dominance and control but in a culture of servant leadership, with concrete suggestions for procedural justice and community policing.

Daniel Reinhardt (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) served as a police officer near Cleveland, Ohio, for twenty-four years. After retiring from the police force, he was assistant professor at the Heart of Texas Foundation College of Ministry at the Memorial Unit, a prison in Rosharon, Texas.

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Book Cover and photo of Daniel Reinhardt

Dead Theologians Book Group

The group is reading Augustine: On Christian Doctrine and Selected Introductory Works (Theological Foundations), Augustine (edited by Timothy George). Nashville: B & H Academic, 2022. Four works on Christian doctrine, written in the context of catechesis, by Augustine. Review

We currently  meet Wednesdays3 at 7:45AM on Zoom. We are likely to shift to Tuesdays or Thursday.

Contact Paul Post if you would like more information or to join us!

Wisdom Groups

It seems there is a common challenge among Christian faculty.

Many professors are not sufficiently relationally connected to other Christian faculty or with Christian organizations that serve students on campus; likewise, Christian faculty often feel a lack of competency in integrating their faith with their work in order to live in a missional, Christ-centered way.

We are piloting a new program we are calling Wisdom Groups, seeking to bring together faculty from various academic fields to explore what it might mean to be a truly wise Christian professor. Faculty will plan to gather bi-weekly in groups of 3 to 8 in order to read a prompt, discussing how we might follow Jesus as sage, while practicing group spiritual disciplines. Meetings will last no more than an hour and 15 minutes. Wisdom Groups will launch September, 2023. More details about time and location will be coordinated after we gather faculty’s availability (below).

This pilot program is a collaborative effort between The Thompson Institute and the Fellowship of Christian Faculty at OSU. It will be spearheaded by Aaron Badenhop, and is a fruit of his doctoral project called “The Wise Professor: The Skillful Art of Living in God’s Mission”


We imagine the biggest obstacle for participation might be our busy schedules. Though we cannot promise that a group will align with your schedule, our next step is to try to capture individual faculty’s typical weekly availability to form bi-weekly groups. Please fill out the form below to let us know what days and times are good for you.

Themes will focus on such questions as:

  • Why “wise” professors?
  • What is wisdom?
  • Is Jesus truly wise?
  • Does the academy foster wisdom?
  • How does wisdom relate to God’s mission?
  • Is wisdom more than knowledge?
  • How might wisdom respond to antagonistic environments?

ESN Conversation: More Than Things, with Paul Louis Metzger

SEPTEMBER 14, 2023
3 pm ET | 2 pm CT | 1 pm MT
12 pm PT | 9 am HT
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We live in a culture of commodification. People are too often defined by what they do or own; they’re treated as means to an end or cogs in a machine. In a world dominated by things, Paul Louis Metzger argues, we must work hard to account for one another’s personhood.

ESN Conversation: Being God’s Image with Carmen Joy Imes

June 20, 2023 at 3 pm ET

What does it mean to be human? This is a question at the root of so many of our academic discussions. This timeless question proves critical as we seek to understand our purpose, identity, and significance. Carmen Joy Imes, a professor of Old Testament at Biola University explores what it means to be created as the image of God for our purpose, calling, and identity in the world. This has implications for our work, our gender relations, our care for creation, for community, and our future destiny. She seeks to recover the theologically rich message of the creation narratives starting in the book of Genesis as they illuminate what it means to be human.

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ESN Conversation: Non-Toxic Masculinity with Zachary Wagner

April 18, 2023 at 12 pm ET

Dismissals such as “boys will be boys” and “not all men” are ingrained in our world. And the purity culture of our youth sold the same excuses with a spiritual spin. Can we break the toxic cycle and recover a healthy identity for men? In “Non-Toxic Masculinity,” Zachary Wagner tells men, “If you are in Christ, this is your problem—and you should be part of the solution.”

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ESN Conversation: Following Jesus in a Warming World

March 15, 2023, 12 pm ET

Have you ever looked at the effects of climate change and the apathy of so many around you and wondered, “What are we missing here?” Climate activist Kyle Meyaard-Schaap understands this feeling from personal experience. But in his years of speaking to and equipping Christians to work for climate action, he’s seen the trend begin to shift. More and more young Christians are waking up to the realities of climate change. They want to help, but they’re not sure how.

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap is vice president of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

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