Sunday Forum in December

sunday-forum-time-location“Who Do People Say That I Am?” – Jesus of Nazareth
For many people their Jesus turns out to be a smorgasbord of many of their favorite things: a  little Bible, a little tradition, a little hymnody, a little Hollywood, and a little Americana.  In this study we are going to strip away a few of the unhealthy layers and ask a fundamental question that is at the heart of the gospel:  “Who do you say that I am?”  In the end what we will (re)discover is this: Jesus was a deeply polarizing figure in his day.  People either loved him and wanted to fall at his feet or they hated him and would stop at nothing to silence him.
December 20: Who do Muslims say that I am?

Summer Book Reviews

summer book reviews 2013The summer book reviews are a beloved tradition as an educational offering on Sundays at 9:45 a.m. during the summer months. The schedule thru June is:

June 28: Marec Bela Steffens: The Treasure Chest by Johann Peter Hebel

July 5: Chris Bryant
Is the American Century Over? by Joseph Nye

July 12:  Bill Mintz
The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell

July 19: Linda Schoene
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande Continue reading

Sunday Forum

Sunday ForumMay 17 Of Demons and Evil Spirits
presented by Matthias Henze
In the Gospels we read that Jesus confronts various demons and drives them out. They immediately recognize Jesus before anybody else knows who he is. The Evangelists take for granted that the reader is familiar with these evil forces, but when we turn to the Hebrew Bible for help we find that ancient Israelite authors have little to say about them.

This talk explores the origins of the beliefs in demons and evil spirits. The rich literature of the late Second Temple period attests to a wide array of speculations about the origin, nature, and function of demons and evil forces. We find incantations against demons and liturgies for exorcism among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Demons had a major impact on Christianity and continue to be live and well in some Christian circles today.

May 24: Congregational Meeting, no Sunday Forum
There will be a special congregational meeting May 24 between the early and late worship services. We will present the capital campaign totals and the council’s plan for use of the funds. The congregation will be asked to approve a construction financing plan.

May 31: Summer Book Reviews begin


Sunday Forum


sunday-forum-time-locationMarch 1: Professor John Boles
Three Aspects of Thomas Jefferson, America’s Renaissance Man

In this three-part series, Professor John Boles will explore aspects of Thomas Jefferson that have broader implications than might be realized at first. All three have connections to issues of morality, religion, and cultural relativism.

March 1: Thomas Jefferson’s Fascination with the American West.

John Boles is the William P. Hobby Professor of History with special interest in the U.S. South and American Religion.
In 2010 he published Seeing Jefferson Anew In His Time and Ours, co-edited with Randal L. Hall (University of Virginia Press, 2010).

March 8, (in the parish hall)
Prof. John Arthur Nunes
Koinonia: Giving and Living in Justice

March 15, 22 and 29
Dr. habil. Christian A. Eberhart
Sacrifice in the Bible
In this three-part series, Christian A. Eberhart will explore aspects of sacrifice in the Bible, specifically the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Chris’ series will help us discover the worship of ancient Israel, which is in many ways the root of every type of Christian worship. It will also help us to better understand images and terms for Christian concepts of salvation, many of which are adopted from Judaism.

March 15: The Term ‘Sacrifice’ in the Christian Church and Modern Theories of Sacrifice;
March 22: Sacrificial Rituals in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (including a virtual visit of the Tabernacle tent and the Temple of Jerusalem);
March 29: Covenant, Passover, and Ordination Rituals.

Sunday Forum

sunday-forum-time-locationSunday Forum
9:45 a.m. in the basement classroom

November 30: Advent Wreath Workshop in the parish hall.

December 7 and 14: The Prophet Jeremiah
One of the major prophets of the Old Testament, Jeremiah was active during the years leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian Exile in the sixth century BCE. His book tells the reader a great deal about his theological message, his struggles, and his inner conflicts. In this class we will pay close attention to two aspects of the book. During our first meeting we will read Jeremiah’s sermon at the Jerusalem temple in chapter 7, and during the second meeting the prophecy of a new covenant in Jeremiah 31 and its use in the New Testament. Please bring a Bible to class.

December 7: Jeremiah 7 gives an account of Jeremiah who delivers a sermon at the temple precincts. His scathing critique of the Judeans and their religious practices marks an important moment in the history of Israel’s religion and provides the reader with much information about the nature of idolatry in Jerusalem at the time.

December 14: Jeremiah 31:31-34 is a prophecy of a new, idealized covenant. Originally intended to be a vision of hope for the Israelites who lived in the Babylonian Exile, the text was interpreted by early Christians as a prophecy of a new covenant. Christians know it best from the Eucharist, “This is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Cor 11:25).