About the Course

Divisive...contentious...deadlocked—all words that describe our current cultural, political, and media climate. Christians may find themselves disoriented as the public square shifts from physical shared spaces to virtual forums, where anonymized avatars engage in “discussions” that, more often than not, devolve into toxic, vitriolic, and fruitless debates. Not only that, our cultural norms are changing right beneath our feet, and as our society trends toward pluralism, Christians may be tempted by fear and cynicism, lured into a new “culture war.” 

Some Christians have retreated into what Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz call “the passive public life,” which “says nothing and does nothing about things of common concern.” And yet our faith calls us not away from the world, but toward it. How do we engage our common life with fellow citizens and neighbors who may not share our beliefs or values with courage, humility, respect, and love? Whether you work in communications, government, law, or you simply want to think Christianly about your public and civic life, you’ll find yourself at the heart of this tension.

In this course, the staff of Denver Institute for Faith and Work—Joanna Meyer, Director of Events and Sponsorships, Jeff Haanen, CEO and Executive Director, and Brian Gray, COO and Director of the 5280 Fellowship—explain the current state of the public square, how we got here, and what practices we can inhabit to lead faithful lives in a turbulent political climate. 

What You'll Learn

  • What is the nature of the “public square” in our cultural context, and how did we get here?
  • What does courageous and humble public engagement look like? 
  • In this polarized age, how does God call Christian professionals to steward their voice and influence in public life without succumbing to cynicism? 
  • How can we show an unbelieving world our faith through acts of love, justice, and humility?
  • How can we think wisely and Christianly about our use of social media?
  • What practices can we inhabit to lead faithful lives in our fraught cultural context?

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Chapter 1: The Changing Public Square

    • From Physical to Virtual

    • Shedding Light or Creating Heat?

    • Christians in the Age of Outrage

  • 2

    Chapter 2: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

    • How Did We Get Here?

    • A Third Way

    • Reimagine Your Industry [Truth]

    • Be Humble [Goodness]

    • Tell More Beautiful Stories [Beauty]

  • 3

    Chapter 3: Practices for Life in Exile

    • Practices

    • What Does Faithful Presence Look Like?

    • By the Waters of Babylon

    • The New Minority Culture

    • Practices for Life in Exile

    • Learn to Celebrate the Good

  • 4


    • Changing Faith in the Public Square

    • Vision for Faith in the Public Square

    • Practices for Faith in the Public Square

    • Group Leader's Course Guide

    • The Changing Public Square Group Discussion Guide

    • Truth, Goodness, and Beauty Group Discussion Guide

    • Practices for Life in Exile Group Discussion Guide

    • Course Sources

    • Course Scriptures