From February 12 to April 2, we’re offering an eight-week Sunday Forum series about the basic tenets of our faith and how we put them into practice in a world which has become increasingly polarized. Each Sunday, we profess faith in God, and the language we use in this is broad enough to be shared by many people in our tradition who hold a diverse variety of ideas of what it means to be faithful to God. How is our approach to Christianity unique, and what do we share with other Christians across our country and world who may disagree with us? How has the meaning behind our familiar words changed over the years, and what does it mean for us today? Our intern Maria McDowell and our Associate Rector James Joiner are teaching this course together. Maria has a doctorate of theology and experience in the Orthodox Church; James has an M.Div. and a penchant for reading a lot.
During the 40 days of Lent before Easter, we’ll also host a series of small groups to help process some of this content. There will be two waves of small groups with a half-day retreat in between. Each of these small groups stands alone, so you can sign up for the dates which work best for you by clicking here: https://goo.gl/forms/74LMeKSIWaAZRD9i1
And check back in this space for video recordings of the forum sessions as they become available!
Sunday, March 26
Our Back to Basics Forum series continues today with a session about the Holy Spirit led by Father James. The Spirit is depicted in many forms throughout scripture: a heavenly apparition, a driving force, the breath of Jesus, tongues of fire. Paul speaks of the Spirit as interceding on our behalf before God “with sighs too deep for words.” In this Forum, we’ll look at the ways the Spirit connects us to God now and draws a line of connection through the history of the Church. How do we involve ourselves with the Spirit in prayer? How do we discern the Spirit’s presence and direction in our midst? Join us at 10:10 am in the Nativity Hall for some answers to these questions and more.
Sunday, March 19
For our Back to Basics Forum series today, Maria McDowell will be discussing ideas of salvation. Last week, we talked about different ways Jesus was understood in the first century, and this week we look at what about Jesus’ life and death are salvific for Christians. While the idea of blood atonement has dominated Western theology (and our hymns!) for centuries, there are other interpretations of how to understand the life and cross of Jesus as being a saving grace in our lives today. Join us at 10:10 am in the Nativity Hall to find out more.
Sunday, March 12
Our Forum series continues today with a look at Jesus. What Messianic expectations was Jesus working with during his earthly ministry, and how did they affect the way people remembered him afterwards? How did early theologians reconcile their faith in Christ as God with monotheism? With all its connotations of authority and submission, what does it mean to use the title “Lord” in reference to Jesus today? Join us at 10:10 am in the Nativity Hall for this presentation from Associate Rector James Joiner, and read more about upcoming small-group discussions above.
Sunday, March 5
Maria McDowell will lead this session of “Back to Basics” with a discussion about sin. What does our faith have to say about evil in the world, and about individual and collective responsibility for the misuse of God’s creation? We’ll look especially at the idea of “Original Sin” with its Augustinian roots, how it’s come to dominate the Western idea of what’s wrong with the world, and how this world-view can be both enlightening and quite limiting. We’ll look at the idea of sin as a way of “missing the mark” and consider what God does to get us directed towards our true aim.
Sunday, February 26
Our Forum series with James Joiner and Maria McDowell, “Back to Basics: Practicing Faith in a Polarized World,” continues today at 10:10 am in the Parish Hall with the topic “Who’s God? Whose God?” For this session, we’ll look broadly at the ancient relationship between attempts at universalized monotheism and more localized, tribal expressions of personal and family gods, a dynamic which continues to play itself out today when we find that two very different groups of people can claim the same faith but seem to be talking about very different ideas of God. We’ll look especially about how the Jewish idea of idolatry can keep us from setting up false images of God today.
Sunday, February 19
Our Forum series Back to Basics: Practicing our Faith in a Polarized World continues today at 10:10 am in the Nativity Hall. This week, we take a close look at the Christian idea of what it means to be human, what it means to be a person. How is our image of humanity informed by our ideas about God and vice versa? We’ll place a special emphasis on shedding some light on the variety of Christian answers to questions of where we go wrong and what we can still get right. Join Maria McDowell for this new segment in our ongoing conversation about what it means for us to be a community living our faith in 2017.