Teegarden 5K sees largest turnout in three years Reply

KNOXVILLE – The Josh Teegarden memorial 5K Run/Walk Race has come to a finish with support from students, alumni, faculty, staff and retired faculty.

The Teegarden family was extremely happy to see the turn out of racers and race crew for the largest Teegarden race in its three year history.

Johnson University will provide an opportunity, through the 5K race, for three Johnson students in the Intercultural Studies or Non-profit Management programs to receive scholarships in honor of Josh Teegarden.


Speaker challenges community to engage in conversation over racism Reply

KNOXVILLE—Tuesday members of the Christian community at the University of Tennessee and a few Johnson students and faculty came together to address the issue of racism in today’s culture.

The event took place at 7 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church.

Mark Charles presented a challenge for Christians to learn the history of racism and called on them to enter a time of lament and conciliation.

“For this audience my goal was to bring them into a place of lament,” he said. “If the church goes into lament, then we have a better chance at making some deep systemic changes.”

The night included a talk on the issue of racism and God’s call for all people to actively engage in the issues they face in their world.

Charles is a speaker, writer and consultant who recently moved to Washington D.C.

During the event, Charles addressed issues regarding history, race, culture and faith.

“This isn’t about signing a petition, joining a march or giving money,” he said. “This is about having a dialogue our nation has avoided for 500 years”.

Charles serves as the Washington D.C. correspondent and columnist for Native News Online and is the author of the popular blog  Reflections from the Hogan.

He also serves on the board of the Christian Community Development Association and consults with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

The talk was followed by a time of lament, prayer and discussion.

Click the video below to see highlights from Charles’ message.



Cross-cultural exchange at the event

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival Tea a great success Reply

KNOXVILLE – Johnson University hosted a Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival Tea Party this past Sunday where guests enjoyed food, music, and fellowship.

Duan Hua, Director of International Relations, reflected on the event.
“The tea party was successful. We had nearly 80 people at the party,” Hua said. “Through this event, we not only achieved the goal of bringing friends from the local communities to Johnson campus to share fellowship and express our thanks to their support to us, but also enhancing the intercultural awareness and communication on campus as well as in the local communities.”

At the event, Hua gave a speech welcoming guests and sharing about the festival’s meaning as one of giving thanks for harvest blessings and friends.

Many attended in traditional Chinese dress, and cultural exchange and fellowship between Asian and Western friends made the evening unique.

To make the evening special, a young lady played piano and sang for guests, while Li Aiye, a skilled tea-maker, demonstrated traditional Chinese tea-making.

Elder guests were served food first, in respect for Chinese tradition.

Guests were served traditional Chinese food and tea. Highlights included mooncakes,  made with eggs and lotus paste, dumplings, fried rice, a selection of teas including rose and chrysanthemum tea, and fresh fruits.

According to Hua, guests included administrators, faculty and staff, and students of Johnson University. Teachers, staff, and students from King’s Academy and Seymour Primary School also attended, along with friends from local communities such as Seymour Heights Church, Maryville Christian University,  Laurel Church of Christ, Woodlawn Christian Church, Knoxville Chinese Christian Church, and Seymour High School.

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Brown Bag lunch addresses issues of gender, race, and faith in first seminar Reply

KNOXVILLE- On Monday from 11:30-12:30 p.m. Johnson University professors Jason Mead, Dr. Jamey Gorman, and Dr. April Kilinski, led a seminar starting the Faculty Brown Bag Series on ‘Women of Faith in History.’


Professors Gorman, Kilinski, and Mead address the audience

The professors have created a three part seminar on the correlation between gender, race, and faith during the time of the U.S. Constitution.

Dr. Gorman initiated the discussion on gender. He explained how a documented argument between John and Abigail Adams helped spark societal attention on gender equality and women’s rights.

Dr. Kilinski debriefed the ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ speech by Sojourner Truth.

Dr. Kilinski emphasized three topics in Truth’s speech. Namely, that women have intellect, that God approves of women because Christ was born from a woman without the influence of a man, and finally that, though Eve helped bring sin into the world, women now play a role in helping to remove sin.

Mead discussed the struggle gender, race, and faith were for people during the civil war. He touched on the amendments, especially the 13th and 14th, and used specific stories to describe how important they were to Americans.

During the Q&A period Dr. Gorman answered questions concerning gender equality.

“Culturally constructed gender is an extraordinary thing to look at,” he said.

The professors ended the seminar with the promise of more meetings to come.

Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech can be read here.

Students interested in attending the next seminar should look for updates on JUTN’s social media and Chapel announcement videos.


Future of Hope Institute kicks off first year with enthusiasm Reply

future of hopeKNOXVILLE— Johnson University welcomes Dametraus Jaggers as the director of its Future of Hope Institute.

Jaggers is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in Higher Education Administration with an emphasis in assessment, accountability and research.

The Future of Hope Institute is a program under Urban Alliance at Johnson University. The program serves as an opportunity for high school students in the Knoxville area to actively engage in their community through service and leadership.

The program is designed for high-achieving sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Knoxville area high schools including: Fulton High School, Austin-East High School, West High School, Central High School, South Doyle and L&N STEM Academy.

The institute works by combining theological reflection, cultural analysis, spiritual formation, and vocational discernment.

Founded by the Lily Endowment, the Future of Hope Institute kicked off the 2016-2017 year at Wafloy Mountain Village in Gatlinburg, Tenn. During the three-day retreat, the team focused on team building, community development, and theological reflection. Later in the week, the team transitioned to downtown Knoxville for the second phase of the Future of Hope experience.

Jaggers believes the program is off to a good start so far but has room for improvement and growth.

“For our first year in existence, I think that we are having a great year,” he said. “We have been pleased with the engagement of our scholars within the program and we have a very strong group of interns who have developed strong relationships with our students.”


Future of Hope students gather during a summer training experience.

“I believe that we will need to think more about how we continue to engage our scholars once they have completed the first year of our program,” Jaggers said.

The Future of Hope Institute seeks to allow a group of high school students to serve together in the community and working on spiritual development each summer. These students are primarily from Knoxville’s Empowerment Zone neighborhoods.

The next step for students involves working alongside community leaders and  mentors from partner agencies across Knoxville to strategically plan a community impact project. This project will provide a response to the issues facing the city of Knoxville and will take place over an eight-month time frame.

During this process, students are guided by Johnson University professors and interns to gain a Biblical perspective on current issues in the community.

At the end of the program there will be a banquet where the teams will present their completed projects to peers and community leaders.

Each participant who successfully completes the program receives a $2,000 scholarship to the college or university of their choice. Future of Hope students who decide to attend Johnson University will be eligible to receive an additional $1,000 per school year.


Future of Hope participants go on a hike to practice isolation and tranquility.

Jaggers mentioned one goal of Future of Hope is to better engage parents to feel equipped to support students throughout their participation in the Future of Hope Institute.
“I think we will be focusing on engaging and developing relationships with parents, continue to develop and strengthen relationships with pastors and churches, and provide more guidance and support to mentors and project advisors,” he said.
For aditional information on the Future of Hope institute, visit the Urban Alliance page or email UrbanAlliance@JohnsonU.edu



Peterson leads Creative Writing Symposium Reply


KNOXVILLE – On Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm JUTN hosted a Creative Writing Symposium featuring author and singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson.

Peterson opened the Symposium by sharing two of his own pieces, “The Integrated Imagination,” based on his own testimony, and “The Consolation of Doubt,” which illustrates his life growing up as a pastor’s son in Lake Butler, Florida.

He explained why he chooses to participate in events like the Symposium.

“It fires me up to talk about what’s under the hood of stories and art. Ever since I was a kid, I haven’t been really content with just listening to music. I always wanted to like climb inside the song and figure out ‘how does this thing work?'” Peterson said.

As one of four children growing up in an environment where anything outside the church, including most secular artistic content, was looked on with suspicion, Peterson shared his, “fear that adventure only existed on the page.”

Peterson illustrated how certain points in his life were altered by literature, especially his re-reading of The Chronicles of Narnia as a young newlywed finishing his degree at Milligan College.

Towards the end of the Symposium the floor was opened up for questions where Peterson addressed the need for balance between scholarship, theology, and creativity.

Other questions ranged from how we learn to write our own story through paying attention to memories to discussing his award-winning Wingfeather Saga.

“Having a chance to sit with a room full of people and talk about what God might be doing through difference kinds of art and how He works is always fun. Where a concert is a one way conversation, in a situation like this I can hear what other people are thinking and respond to them so it’s a little more complete.”

Peterson also spoke of his role in founding The Rabbit Room.

“Rabbit Room is a website community that started almost ten years ago and was named after the room in the back of the pub that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien met at. There’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship between art and community that we’re always trying to explore at Rabbit Room”he said.


Peterson shares “The Consolation of Doubt”

One example of this community is the annual Hutchmoot conference that takes place in Nashville, TN.

This year the conference will be held from October 6-9.

The conference acts as “a weekend of live music, delicious food and conversation, and a series of discussions centered on art, faith, and the telling of great stories across a range of mediums.”

Learn more about Hutchmoot and register for the event here.

Read “The Consolation of Doubt” here.

To learn more information about getting involved with The Rabbit Room and any upcoming events visit their website.


Harvesters’ take on Missions Emphasis Week Reply

KNOXVILLE – As Missions Emphasis Week comes to a close at JUTN, Harvesters President, Nathan Long, and Vice President, Katie Eikenberry, spoke of the work that went into this years’ chapel events.

Long, who has been involved with Harvesters for two years, explained the role Harvesters plays in Missions Emphasis Week.

“We choose the theme for MEW, we work with Wolf and the chapel team to coordinate speakers and services which will reinforce the theme and encourage the student body during the week,” Long said. “We will occasionally plan extra events during the week to help spark further conversation or thought about that weeks theme. For example, this year we hosted a discussion with the chapel speakers and arranged for a prayer night to focus on the refugee crisis.”

This year the chapel theme focused on refugees.

Long and Eikenberry shared how the theme was chosen.

“This year, since refugees were a large topic and many people at Johnson work with refugees, it seemed to make sense that it was our chosen topic,” Eikenberry said.

“Last year, the theme was how missions and community development may work together, a subject that does not receive a lot of attention. This year it was the refugee crisis, a topic which is controversial even among Christian populations,” Long said.

This year, author and Director of The AMOS Project, Troy Jackson, and Regional Director of Peace Catalyst International, Martin Brooks, addressed the refugee crisis.

Long said that he found Jackson’s theme of being intentionally involved challenging.

“I really enjoyed the fresh perspective which Troy Jackson brought to the immigration crisis and Christian involvement in the public sphere. I think that as Christians, we sometimes underestimate the power in being present. Thus, our communities are lacking in the salt that we could bring to lives, systems and relationships.”

He said he felt challenged to be more intentional in his relationships with the Knoxville community.
In regard to planning for next year, Eikenberry explained what they hope might go better and what they hope to maintain.
“I think that MEW was a success this year. We didn’t quite accomplish all of the plans that we wanted to, as MEW was a few weeks earlier than it normally is and we didn’t have an abundance of time to plan the things we desired to plan” Eikenberry said. “I think that each year, Harvesters should switch it up in some aspect, but I really enjoyed Wednesday’s chapel experience. To try and replicate the persecuted and hidden church had an impact on me,” Eikenberry said.

Students can be notified of upcoming Harvesters events through their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Students interested in joining Harvesters can email harvesters@johnsonu.edu or Nathan Long at nathan.long@johnsonu.edu or Brent Brewer at BBrewer@johnsonu.edu


Missions emphasis week concludes in call to action Reply

KNOXVILLE – Harvesters’ Missions Emphasis week concluded with a call to worship, cross cultural scripture readings and a message from Troy Jackson, executive director at the AMOS Project.

This year, Missions Emphasis Week challenged students and faculty to fully engage in global missions, and placed specific emphasis on the looming refugee crises.

 On the first day of MEW, Jackson talked about the danger of dehumanization and the instinct we have to deny the truth that we are all created in the image of God.

“We live in a world that constantly dehumanizes,” Jackson said. “The other becomes less than human. . .we often dehumanize those we don’t understand.”

The “other” Jackson referred to are cultures and people groups whose customs, beliefs and practices we may not understand.

On the final day of MEW, Jackson spoke about the importance of fully engaging in the public arena and suggested what he believes Jesus calls the church to do in regards to the refugee crisis.

“Jesus is calling for a church…, for a people with extravagant embrace and full access for the poor, the marginalized, the immigrant and the refugee,” he said. “One of the ways that happens is through full engagement in the public arena and not by abdicating responsibility or being content to hide in our caves.”

Jackson concluded MEW with a call to action by proposing a challenge to do more than just talk about justice.

His challenge for Christians is to love the marginalized and actively seek justice in our world just as Jesus did.

Students interested in joining Harvesters or learning more about their involvement in missions can contact Brent Brewer at BBrewer@johnsonu.edu or Nathan Long at nathan.long@johnsonu.edu.