In a world where more than 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day, the second annual Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, held October 23-25, brought together attendees who discussed creative avenues for addressing such problems across the world.
The symposium, titled "Bottom-Up Approaches to Global Poverty: Appropriate Technology, Social Entrepreneurship, and the Church," featured more than 80 presentations by practitioners and academics with expertise ranging from business to church work, from engineering to charitable and social work.
Baylor's Institute for Faith and Learning (IFL) sponsored the symposium. Dr. Darin H. Davis, MA '95, interim director of the IFL, said the event allowed participants "to engage in challenging and multidisciplinary discussion about opportunities to end poverty."
The intent, he said, was to encourage reflection on how Christian faith commitments pertain to the issue of poverty alleviation.
"Advances in engineering and business present new opportunities to respond to the poor," Davis explained, "but we wanted our conference to ask whether such responses are not merely possible, but also faithful. Do they communicate Christian witness? Do they minister to spiritual needs?"
As CEO of Euforma, Inc., a company that manages the Seeds Family Worship brand, Heather Easterday traveled from Nashville to Waco for the symposium.
"Our start-up company is made up of a bunch of folks who care about the physical and spiritual well-being of others as much as we care about the bottom line," Easterday says. "Our efforts in alleviating poverty have been primarily individual, but encouraged by the company. I wanted to consider how we could make poverty alleviation a more integral part of our company strategy."
This year's symposium attracted more than 300 registered participants, plus a large contingent of Baylor students, faculty and staff as well as people from area churches and charities.
Next year's symposium will focus on "Christianity and Modern Intellectual History: Secularization and Revival." For more information, visit the IFL website at www.baylor.edu/ifl.