Convocation 10/20/2017: Chris Hodges and the ‘path’

Today’s speaker was Chris Hodges, the pastor of the Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama. The theme of his message was the importance of finding and fulfilling your god-given purpose. Hodges argued that until one finds their purpose, they will not find fulfillment in life. To discover this divine direction, one should take stock of their hopes, desires, and dreams, as they were instilled in you by God. Hodge claims that by pursuing these hopes and dreams, one will be able to fulfill the purpose for which they were created.

Overall, I thought Friday’s convocation was pretty good. Hodges was a good speaker, and his speech was quite funny at times. One part of his message that really caught my attention was his recommendation to write out a bucket list. There is something helpful about actually writing things out (I can vouch for this, I write a blog). Writing stuff down helps one to better articulate their thoughts into a useful format. It also forces one to be intentional there thought and to really analyze one’s own thoughts and feelings.

While overall I liked Hodge’s message, there were some things that I disagreed with. One of the major points of his speech was the importance of finding the purpose for your life. However, I do not believe that there is a single god-given purpose for a person’s life, but rather many (or none). This is largely because I find the idea of a single predetermined ‘path’ for one to take to be incompatible with free will. If humans have free-will, then they are able to diverge from their at any point, possibly to the point that they can never fulfill their purpose. This can happen before one even comes to know God, effectively cutting one off from their purpose before they even know they have one. Other people also have free-will and by their actions could prevent someone else from fulfilling their purpose.

For example, imagine someone whose purpose was the play professional football. However, poor driving by another person results in him getting into an accident, breaking his leg. Because of the injury he is never able to play football. If his only true path was to play football, then he is unable to fulfill his purpose for being born by no action of his own. If we accept that humans have free-will and that they have only one purpose, then we must accept that it can be possible for one to make fulfillment of the purpose impossible quite early on in their life because of the choices they or others make. However, if there are multiple (possibly infinite) purposes or god-given directions, then it would become impossible for one to ever reach a point where they could never fulfill this purpose. This also makes sense, as God is not limited by us. He can use a person in any situation at any time. He is not limited by a predetermined purpose.

My other issue with Hodge’s speech was his indication that if you are bored or frustrated in college, then that means you are on the wrong path. Hodges told his own story about how he had difficulty while majoring in accounting, and that this was a sign he should not have been studying it. This is frankly not great advice. To imply that having difficulty or being bored with schoolwork or education is a sign of a wrong path ignores the fact that life is never easy. Everyone faces difficulty some times. Everyone gets bored. Sometimes people struggle with classes or with assignments. This does not mean that you are missing your purpose. Medical school is quite difficult, does this mean nobody is meant to go to med school? Nothing of great value comes without struggle.

Lightning Round:

  • At the beginning of today’s convo, did Hodges say that he was sent to Liberty to advertise his book? Do publicists just send their clients to convo so that they can hawk their book? That actually does not suprise me.

Bible verses quoted:2

Bible Verses quoted all semester: 55

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Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Liberty University leadership or administration in any way. The opinions expressed here are solely my own and should be not be taken as the opinion of the University, its staff, or the student body.

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