Fall classes began at UNC on August 21, but the North Carolina Study Center started the year a little early with its inaugural Carolina Way Camp. 110 incoming first-years joined 30 student counselors and volunteers at Camp Thunderbird in Lake Wylie, SC to spend four days forming Christian community before starting their time at UNC-Chapel Hill.
“What is a human being?”
On the surface this may seem like a fairly straightforward question, but when you probe it deeper, things quickly get more complicated. In a university setting, how a person answers this question often depends on the operating assumptions of his or her field. In economics, a human being is viewed as a rational economic agent. In biology, a human being is approached as a complex composite of cells, tissues and organ systems (to grossly oversimplify things). In sociology, a human being is primarily understood as a social agent contributing to larger institutions and societal patterns.
Earlier this month, the NC Study Center brought together seventeen faculty members from UNC, Duke, NC State and Wake Forest to explore how Scripture and Christian thinkers throughout the ages have traditionally responded to the question, “What is a human being?” We partnered with UNC's Intervarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministries, the Duke Center for Christianity and Scholarship, and The Veritas Forum to host the event, the 2018 Triangle Riff Faculty Conference.
Through teaching from New Testament professor Dr. Ross Wagner and Reverend Allan Poole along with breakout discussion sessions, faculty members were challenged to grapple with the Christian doctrine of imago dei, the image of God. What does it mean to be made in the image of God? What are the implications of this doctrine for academic thought within the range of disciplines? How would our work in the university look different if we held this truth clearly in front of us?
After two days of prayer, fellowship and engaging with big questions, the conference concluded with a celebratory dinner and the group dispersed. Our hope, however, is that the theological insights, practical takeaways and relationships formed at the conference will remain for a long time to come.
The following Monday, we returned to work with an email in our inboxes from a faculty attendee that contained this excerpt:
“I was deeply moved both by the lessons on our identities as image bearers, as well as the wonderful personal interactions I had with the other faculty....Our new graduate students arrived on Monday, and as they filed into the seminar room, they all seemed to glow a little brighter as I recognized them as each bearing God’s uniquely human stamp."
Director of Christian Thought
To see more photos from the event, please visit our Facebook page here.
We are thrilled to announce that Dr. C. Dianne Martin has accepted our invitation to serve as the first ever Senior Faculty Fellow of the NC Study Center! Dr. Martin is a close friend of ours, having participated in numerous past seminars, served as a panelist at the 2017 Wilberforce Conference, and taken it upon herself to meet with and mentor many undergraduate students.
Senior Faculty Fellows are carefully selected UNC professors who put their academic discipline into conversation with Christian faith and theology. As Senior Faculty Fellows, they teach seminar classes at the NC Study Center, make themselves available to meet with students during office hours, and offer input into other programming. This fall, Dr. Martin will be leading a seminar called: ‘Technological Immortality: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.’ Through film analysis, group readings, and small-group discussion, this seminar will invite students to consider emerging trends in technology (e.g. artificial intelligence, transhumanism) from the lens of Christian ethics.
Dr. C. Dianne Martin is a computer scientist and the former Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at George Washington University. She now teaches courses through the UNC Department of Computer Science and the School of Information and Library Sciences. In the 1960s, Dr. Martin was a programmer for IBM on the Apollo space project. She wrote programs that helped make possible the first moon landing in 1969. During her distinguished career, she was also a program director at the National Science Foundation from 1998 to 2000, chief policy officer at GeoTrust from 2000 to 2001, and chair of the GWU computer science department from 2002 to 2005. She attends Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Chapel Hill, NC.
If you are interested in participating in Dr. Martin's 'Technological Immortality: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places' seminar this fall, let us know HERE.
On February 10, 2018, 40,000 POUNDS OF SWEET POTATOES were hauled in with a dump truck and dropped on the front lawn to be bagged and delivered to local food banks. The event began in the morning and went until all the sweet potatoes were bagged and ready to be donated.
This event was embraced by the University community and appeared on UNC newsfeeds. It was recirculated by newspapers across the country, and it recently appeared as the back cover of the UNC General Alumni Review as pictured below!
This was our second annual Yam Jam, hosted in partnership with First Fruits Farm, run by UNC alum and NFL-player-turned-farmer Jason Brown. We can't wait for next year!
It's not just a cup of coffee. It's a tangible extension of Christ's love! It's a symbol of rest and rejuvenation. It's a conversation starter. It's much more than a simple afternoon pick-me-up.
Here's an interesting fact: for the past 2.5 semesters, we have been serving thousands and thousands of cups of coffee... from Sam's Club! Don't you think it's time for an upgrade?
"He has filled the hungry with good things..." Luke 1:53
Will you support this outpouring of Christ's love by helping us sourcing coffee beans from Joe Van Gogh, a local coffee roaster? We need help raising the $6,300 that we hope to spend next year on coffee, hot chocolate, and tea.
You can help pay it forward to current UNC students! Will you consider joining us annually or monthly? Every little bit counts...from $20/month to $1,000/year.
Join us on this #GivingTuesday in welcoming the next generation of UNC students with a warm cup of coffee, a friendly face, and most importantly, the Truth of Christ's love!