What Makes a Life Worth Living?

Lara Schopp Articles, Mike Graves, Uncategorized

By Dr. Mike Graves, Scholar in Residence and Minister of Spiritual Formation

Three years ago this January, the New York Times published an article, “Yale’s Most Popular Course Ever: Happiness.” The course was actually called Psychology and the Good Life, and within six days of being listed for the previous fall semester, roughly one-fourth of the student body had signed up. Stop and ponder that for a second.

It’s not exactly a news flash, I know, but everyone wants to be happy. In one way or another, happiness is at the root of all those New Year’s resolutions we make. Whether it’s weighing less or reading more, we want to be happy, the “pursuit of happiness.” That course at Yale was eventually followed by another popular offering, A Life Worth Living. The idea behind it is simple but the task itself is definitely not easy. Wrestle with these two questions if you dare: What do you think makes for a life worth living? and How do you decide on an answer?

Fast forward three years and the Life Worth Living course has started making its way into local churches. Thanks to church members Phil and Patty Love, I attended a week-long session in the summer of 2019 on what the course might look like if offered in our congregation. I’m happy to report that we are finally launching that course on Monday, February 15. And it dovetails nicely with a virtual conversation we are sponsoring with David Brooks and Miroslav Volf later this month. (See the particulars about registration for the conversation as well as the course below.)

Although sponsored by our church, I should note the course is not religiously oriented. While some materials may have a Judeo-Christian grounding, others are more generally philosophical in nature without a religious worldview per se. All perspectives will be honored, and all are welcome. It’s free and open to the public, anyone wishing to wrestle with the questions.

After that week of training 18 months ago, and after doing all the reading and preparation to launch the course since then, I can see why it’s so popular with the Yale students. I am so excited and can’t wait to get started. I honestly believe this is one of those rare things that can really change a person’s life. I hope to see you there.

A Virtual Conversation with David Brooks and Miroslav Volf
For more information and to register, click here.

A Life Worth Living Course
The course meets via Zoom for five weeks on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:30 pm, beginning February 15. There are weekly readings and reflections as part of the course, and materials will be emailed out in advance. But you have to register. For more information and to register, click here. Meanwhile, if you have questions, feel free to email Mike Graves.