Friendship in a Fractured Age: The 8th Annual Eighth Day Symposium

Forefeast of Theophany

Christ___John_Square.jpegFRIENDSHIP has long been a significant focus of philosophical reflection. It was a very popular topic among both the ancient Greeks and Romans and then also among early Christians. Aristotle and Cicero laid the groundwork for further development by early Christian leaders such as St. Gregory the Theologian and St. Augustine of Hippo. Friendship continued to be a focus of reflection throughout the Middle Ages, most notably in the work of St. Aelred of Rievaulx and St. Thomas Aquinas.

But what about friendship in the twenty-first century? Apart from a handful of books, including Symposium speaker Fr. Paul O’Callaghan’s Feast of Friendship, the subject of friendship is almost completely neglected as a serious subject of reflection. But more important than its scholarly neglect is the unfortunate tendency for it to be trivialized by social media and sexualized by our culture, especially in Hollywood.

In an age that is so deeply connected electronically – and supposedly socially – our relationships seem to be more fractured and disconnected than ever. Genuine friendships are thus desperately needed. Indeed, we need to recover a Christian perspective on friendship. And we need to relearn the art of cultivating deep friendships.

I hope you will join me at the 8th annual Eighth Day Symposium on January 25-27 as we reflect on this timely topic of “Cultivating Friendship in a Fractured Age.”

Plenary presentations include:

  • Ken Myers, host and producer of Mars Hill Audio: “Liberalism and the Trivializing of Friendship” and “Social Media and the Commodification of Friendship

  • Peter Kanelos, president of St. John’s College: “Fragments & Fractals: Friendship & Theosis”

  • Joseph Pearce, editor of St. Austin Review: “The Role of Friendship in the Creation of Narnia and Middle-Earth”

Breakout presentations include:

  • Fr. Francis Bethel, “Friendship in the KU Integrated Humanities Program: ‘The Purpose of a University Is Friendship’ ~John Senior”

  • Fr. Francis Bethel, “Friendship in a Benedictine Monastery: ‘May the Brothers Show Each Other a Chaste Fraternal Charity’ ~St. Benedict”

  • Erin Doom, “The Hall of Men: Male Friendship as a Foundation for Cultural Renewal… & How to Start a Chapter in Your Community”

  • Robert Elder, “Faith, Friendship & Politics in the Letters of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams”

  • Peter Kanelos, “Jorge Luis Borges: Friendship Explored in a St John’s Style Seminar”

  • Paul O’Callaghan, “Friendship and the Weaving of a Social Fabric”

  • Joseph Pearce, “Friendship & Creativity in Tolkien’s ‘Leaf by Niggle’”

  • Joshua Sturgill, “The Friends of God: Varieties of Friendship in Christian Life”

And as usual, we’ll have:

  • A private meeting with Ken Myers for Eighth Day Patrons, Pillars & Olympians on Thursday afternoon (25th)

  • A welcome reception at Eighth Day Books on Thursday evening (25th)

  • The annual festal banquet on Friday evening to celebrate the life of St. Basil the Great (26th)

  • An open house at Eighth Day Books and Eighth Day Institute on Saturday evening (27th).

Registration is available at Early registration rates end on Monday, January 15.

Any new monthly Patron, Pillar, or Olympian attends free. Plus, we still have $1,500 left in matching dollars for new monthly members:

  • $50 donated to EDI for every new monthly Patron
  • $100 donated to EDI for every new monthly Pillar
  • $150 donated to EDI for every new monthly Olympian

Join our community of Eighth Day Members today and stand with a group of Christians committed to renewing our culture as we engage in a dialogue of love and truth on this timely topic of “Friendship in a Fractured Age.”

In Christ,
Erin John

P.S. Please find attached a Symposium Flyer with the Full Schedule


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