Dr. Heath Carpenter—Harding University Professor of English Title: Identity and Tradition: Our Obsession with Labels and the Future of Contemporary Christian Identity
How do abstract labels influence, and perhaps create, our identity? Particularly, how do these labels affect both the individual Christian and, more broadly, God's holy church? Much of our identity creation comes from abstract terms (liberal, conservative, evangelical, American) which are infused with layers of subjective and problematic meaning. A "Christian" identity could be based on emotionalism, political ideology, and herd mentality, galvanized around abstractions that encourage an "us" vs. "them" dichotomy, rather than scripture and God's will for his people.
Dr. Jim Miller and Dr. Andrew Baker—Department of Communication and Director of HU Center for Leadership and Ministry Title: Identity in an Age of Social Media
With the exponential rate of social media access teens have on a daily basis, adults must be keenly aware of the environment to which young people are being exposed. Social media challenges are at the forefront of identity formation, and they provide us with unique opportunities to help young people form identity in Christ. In order to best reach these teens, we must first understand the resources and communication skills needed to better connect in the midst of the chaos and confusion.
Dr. Monte Cox—Dean of HU College of Bible and Ministry Title: Identity and Idols
What do you picture when you hear the word "idol"? Justin Bieber? A contestant on a TV talent show? An image of Buddha? Most of us probably don't think idolatry is a big deal, just because it isn't one of those "deadly sins" we hear about all the time. But what if idolatry is the one thing threatening your teens’ view of themselves and standing between them and their walk with God?
Dr. Bruce McLarty—President of Harding University Title: Identity and God’s Will
Many young people are asking what “God’s will” is for their lives. Many times, we find that God’s will doesn’t seem to connect to the plans we make for ourselves. Let’s explore how can we help young people today understand the connection between God’s will and personal desires as they move forward and journey into adulthood.