Teach us to number our days: Reconciling the finite with the infinite

*Note: The 2021 conference has not been scheduled, but we invite you to check back with us for more news about upcoming Northeast Faculty opportunities.

How can the infinite inform our finite lives? Being established in the academy requires an often obsessive focus on making a name for ourselves. This can absorb our lives and leave us worn out, anxious and empty. The scriptures charge us to number our days and exercise a kind of wisdom informed by our finitude, leading to a fuller experience of life and purpose as we depend on the One who will “establish the work of our hands”(Ps. 90). Faculty of all ages and life stages enjoyed an encouraging and thought-provoking series as Columbia Physician and Ethicist, Dr. Lydia Dugdale and Yale Architect Dr. Kyle Dugdale help us reconsider death and we heard from Campus Staff Minister Jeff Barneson  to study scripture that can transform how we live each day, particularly in our calling as faculty to love our university. Dr. Kayon Murray-Johnson and Dr. Alice Brown-Collins led our final Faculty Summer Series session in a discussion of Faculty Growing in the Practice of Prayer. Visit the Program page to learn more about our guest speakers.

We hope that you enjoyed all of the events in this series:

  • Last month, Dr. Lydia Dugdale introduced us to wisdom about The Lost Art of Dying at the Veritas Faculty Forum on May 26. Lydia shared that one of the most important ways to prepare for a good death is to live well. How do we do this practically in our own lives as faculty?
  • At our June 16th virtual event, professors Lydia and Kyle Dugdale shared how they seek to live well in light of their mortality, particularly as faculty. Following the conversation with Lydia and Kyle, we had the opportunity to join faculty colleagues in breakout discussion groups and wrestle together with what it means as faculty to “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
  • Arthur Brooks joined Jeff Barneson to share personal stories and study the scripture that brought us to our theme: Psalm 90 on July 9th.
  • We met on August 4 for a conversation with Dr. Kayon Murray-Johnson and Dr. Alice Brown-Collins about Faculty Growing in the Practice of Prayer. We appreciate the leadership and wisdom offered by Alice and Kayon to help us consider the critical role of prayer and hope you enjoyed the opportunity to join faculty colleagues in small breakout discussion groups to share and pray together for the upcoming academic year and for God’s wisdom to number our days aright.

We look forward to hosting time together for faculty in the Northeast again in the future and we pray you are encouraged to live well as faculty in light of our mortality.

Ashley Byrd
InterVarsity's Graduate & Faculty Ministries
Northeast Faculty Conference Director


Kathy Cooper
InterVarsity's Graduate & Faculty Ministries
Regional Director, GFM Northeast


Banner photo credit of Misquamicut Birds: Flow via flickr