Western culture is at a crossroads in the early 21st century. It has forgotten that faith – the ability to believe in something greater than our selves – is the place where our person and community thrive. Though important, to place our faith in technology and general human achievement is misplaced. Indeed, for the last 100 years, Western culture has struggled with Nietzsche’s famous dictum, “God is dead.” Sadly the great freedom humanity hoped would come with this death has not materialized. Instead, human beings have become slaves to power, prestige and pride.
Through the Yellowstone Theological Institute (YTI) located at The Yellowstone Center (TYC) for Faith, Adventure and the Arts, we seek to reconnect our culture with faith in God. Like any human endeavor, human religious practice is susceptible to corruption; we do not deny that possibility.
The intent of YTI, with the aid of the TYC property, is to connect and reconnect people with God through an integration of faith, adventure and the arts. The institute itself offers innovative courses of study that lead to diplomas, certificates and masters degrees. We equip committed students for Christian ministry and provide other inquisitive persons a platform for investigating their interests in faith and culture. But this education does not come exclusively in the isolated classroom and library.
Our generous initial benefactors have donated an 80 acre parcel of land in Bozeman, Montana that will not only house the classrooms and offices of the Institute, but will also provide a great variety of venues for recreation and the arts. The property will house a retreat center, a small performing arts facility and over 40 acres of gardens, orchards, hiking and skiing trails, soccer fields, basketball courts, miniature golf facilities and ponds for swimming, boating and fly fishing.
Why go to all of this trouble? Faith is a means of understanding that must pervade every corner of our lives to make a difference. The joy of faith is the joy found in serving our community, recreating with our friends, performing with the symphony and cultivating the earth, just as much as it is found in the house of worship.
Although YTI is distinctively Christian in its orientation, it embraces a generous, nonjudgmental ethos, for all people who would explore the meaning of faith with us. Would you help YTI build The Yellowstone Center for Faith, Adventure and the Arts in its mission to connect people from all walks of life connect with faith-in-life or simply learn to share that faith effectively? We believe that this is an effort worth investing our lives in and we hope that you will join us on this adventure with your presence and support!
Dr. Jay Smith (Ph.D. Trinity College University of Bristol) is President and Bridger Professor of Theology & Ethics at Yellowstone Theological Institute. He has taught at Howard Payne University, Baylor University and the United States Naval Academy, and is the co-author with Stanley Grenz of The Pocket Dictionary of Ethics (IVP 2003) and Created for Community Revised Edition (Baker Academic 2015). Jay loves to hike, compose music and write about Jesus. He roots for the Baylor Bears and Howard Payne Yellowjackets.