My speaking schedule for 2016 offers a range of topic titles. If you are interested in having me facilitate a workshop, speaking event, or lecture/discussion for your staff, students, or church group, please contact me here. I’d be happy to visit your group to speak on a topic that is most relevant to them. Be sure to check out current topics (below) that may be of interest.
Anger is a powerful emotion. We have all felt it, and we are often confused about what to do with our hurt. Left unresolved, anger can become addictive and destructive in our relationships. But there is hope. This talk teaches us how to resolve anger by evaluating its sources and expressing it in healthy ways. As our relationship to anger begins to change, we experience freedom from our need to control others and we become a force for healing in our relationships, as God intends.
Why should I forgive those who have hurt me?
Forgiveness is essential for human relationships to flourish but we often resist it for fear of what it might involve. This talk tackles this fear head-on by clarifying what forgiveness is, why it is beneficial, and what practical steps you can take to make it a reality in your life. By following these steps, you will experience freedom from the trap of resentment and new healing for the wounds of your past.
The answer, in a nutshell, is shame. Shame is part of the air we breathe and the culture we live in, but no one really wants to talk about it, and so it rarely gets addressed. There is a pressing need to break through this silence and talk openly about pathways through shame that transform relationships to oneself and others. This presentation teaches you how to construct and implement a recovery strategy from the toxic effects of false shame, freeing you to feel more known and loved. (Click here for the series landing page).
Images of Atonement
Is it just for God to punish an innocent person to help a guilty criminal?
Christians claim that God laid the penalty for human sin upon Jesus so that we could be forgiven and restored to God. This claim is part of the biblical doctrine of the atonement, but it raises some pressing concerns about what atonement actually means and whether punishing an innocent person can ever be an effective solution to human problems. This talk addresses these concerns by examining various biblical images of atonement and defending the justice of substitutionary punishment against potential objections.
Faith and Knowledge
What is the relationship between faith and knowledge?
This question is important for Christians and non-Christians because there is so much confusion about it. Critics of religion sometimes view faith as obstacle to knowledge – as a crutch for weak-minded people or as a barrier to scientific progress. Inside church doors, visitors with tough questions are often told to ‘just believe’ because faith is supposed to be ‘simple’ and questioning makes things ‘too complicated’. My purpose in this talk is to address these confusions directly. I do this by providing a basic definition of knowledge, examining its sources, and exploring the concept of a worldview. I argue that all people, religious or not, have faith in the general sense of a worldview that both informs and is shaped by its encounter with reality. Faith in this general sense is not opposed to knowledge, but a necessary ingredient of it! In this respect, Christian faith is similar to all other worldviews; but the object of its faith is unique.
Seeking but Not Believing? A Guide for Hopeful Agnostics
How do you seek God without belief?
This question is often on the minds of agnostics who neither believe nor disbelieve, but take the question of God very seriously. In this talk, I explore how hope (even without belief) is a crucial component of one’s search for God, and how seekers who think the evidence is weighed 50/50 on the question of God may be acting appropriately and prudently by living a life of profound hope that God exists. This talk outlines what hope might look like in the life of an agnostic seeker, and encourages Christians to cultivate hope in their own lives.
Genesis One As Ancient Cosmology
What kind of literature is Genesis chapter one?
Many sincere readers misinterpret this ancient creation story because they ignore the literary environment in which it was originally written. As a result, they expect the story to answer modern-day scientific questions which were quite foreign to the worldview of its author and its Hebrew audience. This talk critiques that pattern of misinterpretation by setting Genesis 1 firmly within the context of Ancient Near Eastern literature and Hebrew cosmology. It examines the work of John H. Walton, a renowned scholar of Hebrew Literature who argues that the 7-day creation week refers to an Ancient Near Eastern ceremony of setting up a cosmic temple.
Reaching For the Invisible God
How can I relate to God if I have no idea what to expect?
Philip Yancey tackles this question in his book, Reaching for the Invisible God (2000). He observes that people often have unrealistic expectations of God, and when their expectations aren’t met, they yield to anger, confusion, guilt, and sometimes unbelief. This talk summarizes Yancey’s insights about this dilemma and paints a portrait of what it means to have realistic expectations in a relationship with a mysterious God.
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