Taylor Honors Conference Studies Sustainable Christian Life

By Jim Garringer Published: Sep 26, 2012

Simplicity & Sustainability: Flourishing in an Age of Excess is the theme of Taylor University’s Fall Honors Conference, scheduled for Sept. 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Featured keynote speakers are Kathleen Norris, an award winning poet and author, and Dr. Read Schuchardt, author and media expert. Also planned for the day are breakout sessions designed for small group interaction.

The event is sponsored by The Taylor University Honors Guild. According to Jennifer Moeschberger, director of Honors Guild programming and assistant professor, the conference’s sustainability theme grew from the Guild’s academic focus for the 2012-2013 academic year.

“Each year in Honors we try to choose a ‘big idea’ that is interdisciplinary in nature, and we have found the conference to be an effective means to stimulate and influence conversation on campus about significant topics related to faith and how we live,” she said. “The focus on sustainability coincides with the opening of the Euler science complex and we have taken a broad approach to consider what it means to live a sustainable Christian life.”

“We want the conference to have a broad sense of the sustainable Christian life, including the importance of spiritual formation and making wise choices relative to how we spend our time and resources,” Moeschberger added. “How do we make choices in our churches, our liturgy, our faith walk, and what are some of the connections between the earth, the food we grow, prepare, and eat and our spiritual life?”

The morning keynote speaker, Read Schuchardt, is an associate professor of communication at Wheaton College. He will discuss positive and negative implications of digital media on spiritual life, community development and institutional structures. His comments will be based on his upcoming book: Seven Vices of the Virtual Life.

Norris, the afternoon keynote speaker, is the author of several New York Times bestsellers: The Cloister Walk; Dakota: A Spiritual Geography; Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith; and The Virgin of Bennington.


10:00 Welcome and Keynote address (Rediger Chapel/Auditorium): Dr. Read Schuchardt

11:30 – 3:00 p.m.: Breakout sessions

3:15 Keynote speaker: Kathleen Norris


Breakout Sessions:

Sustainable Neighborhoods, Local Congregations, and the Common Good

Brent Aldrich teaches art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Herron School of Art and is actively involved in community development.  


Feasting and Fasting: Disciplines of Simplicity and Sustainability

Ragan Sutterfield is an agrarian and a writer of a small collection of essays and a contributor to the book Sacred Acts: How churches are working to protect the Earth’s climate.


Sustainability and Stewardship: Cultural Cliché or Christian Calling?

Dr. Michael Guebert is a professor in the Earth and Environ-mental Sciences Department at Taylor.


Panel Discussion: Simplicity and Sustainability: Practical Solutions for Everyday Life

Jane Cramer, Karen Crandall, Megan Miller, Amy Peterson and Michelle Welker


There is no charge for Taylor University students to attend. For more information, visit: tuhonorsconference2012.wordpress.com.