Sunday, February 18, 2018

S10E10 What's Wrong With Parents Today?

The Parent Problem

Parents are obsessed with their children's activities, education, and happiness in ways that rarely occurred in previous generations. They consume shelves of books on parenting (a word that wasn't even in use in the 70's) plan sports and activities, and monitor school projects and assignments in ways their parents would never attempt.

This week's Forum will look at The Parent Problem and consider how things got this way.  We will be watching a TED Talk by Jennifer Senior: 


  • Use this form to submit questions for Forum by 9PM Tuesday Night.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

S10E9 -- How Do We Know The Right Thing to Do?

This week, we'll be discussing a number of ethics scenarios as a way of examining how we decide how to do The Right Thing.

The discussion is inspired by (and borrows liberally from) Harvard Professor Michael Sandel's course on Justice.

To Prepare for forum, please use this link to answer a couple questions by 6PM on Tuesday.

Friday, January 19, 2018

S10E8 How should we treat the animals the feed us?

How much do you know about what goes on in the Egg, Pork, Beef, and Dairy farms that provide much of the food we eat?  You may have heard horrific stories of abuse, but is that really what happens?  Often people believe that large factory farms are responsible for bad conditions, but are family farms any better?

Our guest speaker this morning is Dr. Kimberly Harry, the veterinarian and manager  of Minka Farm and an alumni of the vet school of NC State University. She runs her farm according to the Animal Welfare Approved standards.

After looking at the resources below, go to THIS LINK to complete a short survey that will help Dr. Harry prepare for her talk.  Please submit your questions and complete the survey by 6pm on Tuesday. 


Important:  There are many graphic accounts and videos of animal cruelty in farming.  I am sensitive to how students might feel about the issue and have limited these links to pages that don't go into too much detail; but you may easily come across them by following other links mentioned in the sites I'm sharing. Please use wisdom when choosing how much you want to see, and please be considerate of other students (and family members) who may not wish to see it themselves.

Friday, January 5, 2018

S10E7 Are Social Media Companies Controlling Your Mind?

Every day, a small number of companies shape the thoughts, attention, and relationships of over a billion people, presumably including you. Are their intentions good? Are intentions even a factor? This week we'll be discussing how the business motives of social media are shaping our world.


By Monday Evening, please complete the questions at this survey:


  • A network security expert explains that "You aren't Facebooks' customer, you're the product" here
  • Read an excerpt from an article about one of the first math geniuses to work at Facebook. 
  • Sean Parker, the first President of Facebook has some regrets about his role in pioneering social media.  He explains why here
  • Read this article by a former Facebook exec on how they can target you with ads and shape politics. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

S10E6 Stoicism

This week we'll be talking about the philosophy of Stoicism, a Greek philosophy originated around 300BC that had a major influence on the Roman empire as well as many Christian theologians and founding fathers.  While some of their ideas on the nature of the physical world have not proven out, this wouldn't surprise them because they had a fairly sober view of the limitations of our minds to truly know what's going on around us. 

One of the things that makes Stoicism relevant today is its view on how we handle anxiety, anger, and misfortunes.  We'll be watching a short talk by Tim Ferris as part of our discussion where he tells how Stoicism may have saved his life.

After reading the resources below, please use this link to submit your thoughts and questions.


  • Here is good description of how Stoics think.  You need not follow the links to other articles and don't be concerned if some of the explanation is difficult to follow.  You should get the gist of it from the main points.  Stoicism 101

  • The Enchiridion by Epictetus is a key stoic book of advice from the second century A.D.   It consists of 52 practical tips (like Proverbs). Read at least the first 20.
  • Meditations by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius is another key Stoic text.  Here are a few key passages.   If you want to see the entire text (also written in the second century) you can find it here

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Trinity Academy Soundtrack 2017

As part of this week's forum, I asked you to name a song that would be on the soundtrack of your life.

Nearly all the songs you named are now available on this Spotify playlist.  I encourage you to try it out for a window into the lives of your fellow students. Note that a Spotify account is required.  Please follow school and your family's policies when using Spotify.

There were a few titles that I either could not locate on Spotify or chose note to include because of explicit lyrics.  If yours wasn't included, feel free to add a song name as a comment to this post and I'll add it to the playlist.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

S10E5 -- Life and Music

For many of us,  Music is a big part of our lives.  For some its the playing and creating of it, for others its the songs we listen to and how we curate them into a soundtrack for our lives. 

This week, we'll be hearing from Anika Paulson,  a college student in Minnesota who made such an impression on TEDs producers at a small weekend gathering that she was asked to give her talk to us in Vancouver.  Her talk was authentic, powerful, and graceful and I knew I wanted to share it at Forum before she'd even finished.

This week, we'll be talking about how music can be a part of our lives.  Unlike many forums, it's not set up as a debate so much as a collaboration.  As we discuss Anika's talk this week at Forum and Dialog,  I hope it gives you the ability to learn from and about each other as we talk about the music we like and what it means to us.


Because of our short schedule, please take this survey before start of school on Tuesday. 

"How do you define personhood and what makes mankind as a species special?"

"What is the role of faith in politics?"

"How can I tell if I'm being truly objective?"

"How much should we trust the science of evolution or global warming?"

These are the kinds of questions that young adults will wrestle with as they try to understand their place in the world. Trinity Academy of Raleigh explores these and similar questions in The Trinity Academy Forum -- a bi-weekly speaker series and dialog for 9th - 12th grade students.

The class seeks to foster Socratic dialog and critical thinking skills by presenting students with thought-provoking and often controversial subjects. When possible, these subjects are presented live by expert guest speakers, but sometimes they may use a video presentation from sources like TED.

The Forums take place on Wednesday mornings. Students from grade 9 through 12 attend the forum. Parents are also invited to attend the forum. Other guests who would like to observe a forum will usually be welcome, but should contact the school for permission.

Parents should note that, because the forum is intended to foster dialog and critical thinking, it may often deal with subjects and viewpoints that may fall outside of (or even be contrary to) a Christian worldview. The views and opinions expressed by speakers and moderators in the forum class are not necessarily those of Trinity Academy or its leadership, but representative of views our students are likely to encounter after they graduate. We believe exposure to these subjects is important to better prepare our students for college and life.