What is the shape of flourishing life?
The great treasure of the Faith initiative is our question: What is the shape of flourishing life? As human beings, we are purposeful creatures; everything we do is aimed at something we judge worthy of our humanity. This means taking seriously our differences even as we work to recognize shared values. In dialogue, we do our best to discern the sorts of lives we deem worthy of our shared humanity. And, knowing our vision is always limited, we nevertheless act courageously in the urgency of the moment.
—Matthew Croasmun, Faith Initiative Director
By openly engaging one another in matters of profound importance—especially where we disagree—the programs in our Faith Initiative provide access to perspectives that encourage dialogue and reflection about what it means to live meaningful, purposeful lives.
Books on Faith & Meaning
These presentations introduce selections from the Faith & Meaning section of the Grace Farms Library. Spanning multiple religious and philosophical traditions, both ancient and contemporary, these texts encourage us to think critically about the meaning in our lives.
Anantanand Rambachan | A Hindu Theology of Liberation
In conversation with Dr. Matthew Croasmun, leading Hindu theologian Dr. Anantanand Rambachan explores how Hindu traditions have contributed to modern struggles for liberation.
Chris Stedman | IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning and Belonging in Our Digital Lives
Dr. Matthew Croasmun and author and humanist leader Chris Stedman discuss his latest work, IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning and Belonging in Our Digital Lives.
Dr. Xavier Pickett | Howard Thurman's Jesus and the Disinherited
Professor Xavier Pickettfrom NC State University, explores Dr. Howard Thurman's theological treatise, Jesus and the Disinherited, a foundational work of non-violent resistance, and a vivid vision of flourishing life in the face of violent oppression.
WIllie James Jennings | After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging
As people committed to fighting against racism, what are we fighting for? In After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging, Willie James Jennings describes insights gained from his extensive experience in theological education, examines how ideas of whiteness distort our understanding of community. and proposes new ways of belonging to one another.
Martin Hägglund | This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom
How do we make meaning of our lives today, when everyone and everything we care about is susceptible to loss? In This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, Martin Hägglund argues that it is exactly this sense of fragility and the possibility of loss that make our lives meaningful.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree | James Cone
Through passages in James Cone's book The Cross and the Lynching Tree, Dr. Matthew Croasmun explores the parallel between the lynching tree and the cross of Christ, engaging with Cone's words for a deeper understanding of the unyielding hope of the black community.
The Ethics of Authenticity | Charles Taylor
Yale Lecturer and Faith Initiative Director, Dr. Matthew Croasmun provides insight into The Ethics of Authenticity by Charles Taylor, and a framework through which to explore his book.
Jesus and the Disinherited | Howard Thurman
Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman is a foundational work of non-violent resistance, as well as a vivid representation of flourishing life in the face of violent oppression. Thurman's account describes a Jesus whose chose to respond with love while oppressed and tempted by fear, deception, and hatred.
The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man | Abraham Heschel, introduction by Susannah Heschel
In The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man , Susannah Heschel argues that the Sabbath is “palace in time” that serves to refocus our gaze from the realm of things and of space, ruled by the logic of acquisition and conquest, to the realm of time, which can be neither acquired nor conquered.
The Analects of Confucius | Translated by Simon Leys
For Confucius, faithfulness to one’s closest relationships, one’s most intimate responsibilities is, indeed, the root of a life worthy of our humanity. Deeply invested in the important role that joy can play in a good life, Confucius argues that what we rejoice in will shape our lives more than what we know or even what we love.
Life Worth Living
What does it mean to live a flourishing life? How do we find the time and framework to explore the life we want? This six-week course, inspired by one of the most popular courses at Yale, engages a range of philosophical and religious traditions to facilitate conversations on meaning and purpose in our lives within an engaged community of participants.
Faith Programming Gallery
Army Chaplains Ask Life’s Big Questions
U.S. Army Chaplains from around the world recently visited Grace Farms as part of their ongoing support of soldiers’ diverse spiritual needs. In their work, since 1775, The Chaplain Corps helps soldiers wrestle with questions like “What makes life most worth wanting?" Grace Farms offered a hopeful space to help chaplains serve soldiers with authenticity and grace.
What's Worth Wanting
The Yale Center for Faith & Culture looks back on Dr. Matthew Croasmun's lecture "What's Worth Wanting?" Sometimes the question dawns on us: What if what we want most isn’t actually worth wanting? Dr. Croasmun encourages identifying and focusing on the important questions guiding our actions and reflections, and open our minds to encourage new shifts in our thinking, our motivations and our values.
Our Interfaith Seder offered the community an opportunity to engage in diverse conversation with community interfaith leaders and our Faith Initiative Director. In the supportive and welcoming environment of Grace Farms, they encourage discussions related to the similarities and differences among faiths.
In the wake of COVID-19, Grace Farms Faith Initiative Director Dr. Matthew Croasmun and U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Thomas Soljhem discussed how to better equip ourselves to cope with the challenges ahead.
Appointed Dr. Matthew Croasmun as the Foundation’s first Faith Initiative Director, an Associate Research Scholar and Director of the Life Worth Living Program at Yale University, expanding opportunities for people of all faiths and backgrounds to reflect and explore the nature of flourishing life.
Forged partnerships to foster multi-denominational and interfaith dialogue, including offering the Life Worth Living course under the direction of Dr. Miroslav Volf, Professor of Theology at Yale and Grace Farms Foundation Board Member.
Invited broad audiences to explore open, gracious discourse around faith with Pastor Greg Zehner and guest speakers including Geshe Dhargey, a Buddhist Monk, and Dr. Kareem Adeeb, a Muslim Imam.
Established Grace Farms as a welcoming environment for reflection and contemplation, set apart from the pace of our daily lives, but responsive to the realities of the world around us