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Adult Education Schedule: 2023 - 2024

Adults meet in the fellowship hall during the Sunday school hour (9:15-10:15am).

Each week someone from the congregation or a guest speaker presents on a chosen topic, and there is always time for a good discussion. The topic may come from the presenter's area of expertise or special interest, or it may be a discussion based on a book by a well-known and widely read author. (Reading the book is not required, and the presenter won't assume that you've done so.) Not every topic will come straight from the Bible, but they always come from the intersection of Christian faith and the life we're living.

We're pretty casual but always respectful of each other. You don't have to be an expert to attend, and certainly don't need to have the answers; sincere questions are always welcome.

SS Sep 9 Amanda Held Opelt_web_edited.jpg
Spring 2024

Break

December 24, December 31, January 7: NO SUNDAY SCHOOL

Faith and Literature

January 14: Cancelled due to bad weather.

January 21: Jake Schepers leads a discussion on the question of what, if any, societal change can come from a poem and what role faith might play in that ambition. Believers in and skeptics of poetry (as well as everyone in between) are all invited to join the discussion.

January 28: Chris Hedlin leads a discussion on the short story "Parker's Back" (1965) by famous Catholic American author Flannery O'Connor. Two sentence summary: "A guy named Parker gets a giant tattoo of Jesus across his entire back. His wife is not pleased." The story is a moving exploration of what it means to live out a Christian faith and in whom we see Christ. It is also hilarious. Five stars, would recommend.

Issues in Evangelicalism

February 4: John Haas will lead a discussion on "The US Political Moment: A Historical Perspective”. A political theorist who keeps a running commentary on (mostly) American political developments recently observed, "If there’s a core question that guides most of what I write, it’s this one: Why is this happening?" We know the who. We even know a lot of the what. Discovering the whys is a tall order, but maybe history can help us figure out how we got where we are as we prepare ourselves for whatever 2024 will bring. Bring your questions.

February 11: John Haas leads a discussion on the questions: What is "Christian nationalism"? Why are we hearing so much about it just now? Is it a bad thing, good thing, or complicated thing? How should we view it--historically, politically, theologically? We'll dig into these questions and more.

Lent Series - The Fundamentals for Non-Fundamentalists

The goal of this series is to explore some of the basics of the Christian faith in a way that is grounded in scripture and tradition but not tied to the fashions and “orthodoxies” prevalent in fundamentalist Christianity.

February 18: Led by Dave Lincicum, we will consider the Apostle Paul. What do you need to know about Paul to make intelligent sense of his letters? How might recent scholarship inform a faithful approach to interpreting his corpus? We'll take up some of these questions, and others that participants might raise.

February 25: Bruce Huber will lead a discussion about the Bible itself. The Bible undergirds nearly every aspect of our faith, yet deciding how to interpret the Bible -- an ancient set of documents written in multiple foreign languages not in regular usage today -- raises a host of profound and vexing questions. Join us as we unpack the various ways Christians apply the Bible to their lives.

March 3: Bruce Huber will lead a discussion about Jesus Christ, the very object of our faith. Despite the centrality of Christ to Christianity, Christians hold surprisingly different views of who Christ is, what he accomplished, and how we relate to him. Join us as we disentangle the various ideas about Jesus that pervade the church today.

March 10: Cris Mihut will lead us in a discussion of the topic of "Sin". We will look at sin through several lenses and explore its connection to our understanding of God, world, and humanity. Sin as ignorance, idolatry, death, alienation, shame, pollution/contagion, burden/affliction, slavery, and naturally, Fundamentalism's favorite -- transgression of God's law. We might also explore sin-adjacent concepts such as depravity, fallenness, and carnality.

March 17: Mike Rea will lead a conversation on the topic of “salvation”. We will discuss different ways in which theologians have thought about what salvation amounts to and what exactly the saving work of Christ is and accomplishes.

March 24: Chris Rea will lead a conversation on the topic of eschatology (the study of the "end times"). We will explore the different ways in which Christians interpret scripture passages that talk about the end of the world, and discuss topics such as the "rapture," where we go when we die, and the "millennial kingdom."

Break - No Sunday School

March 31: Easter Sunday

April 7: Spring break

Reframing the Narrative: Dreams and Visions in Biblical and Early Christian Narratives

April 14: Lilly Davis will lead the discussion on the function of dreams and visions in biblical narratives. This week, we will focus on dreams and visions in Genesis, with particular attention given to Jacob’s Ladder (Gen 28:10–19).
April 21: Lilly Davis will lead the discussion of Paul's vision of the risen Christ on the road to Damascus and Peter's vision of a sheet full of unclean animals (Acts 9-10). These visions, at least according to the author of Acts, played a major part in defining the course of the early Christian movement.
April 28: Lilly Davis will lead the discussion on dreams that a young, Christian mother, Perpetua, records in the week leading up to her martyrdom in 203 CE. These dreams, full of biblical motifs, serve to reframe the event of her death both for herself and her future readers. Here is a link to The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity if you want to read it in advance of our gathering, but it's not required.

Lonnie Frisbee, The “Jesus Revolution,” and Current Events

We welcome guest (and former CotS member), Bill Svelmoe. Join him and John Haas for three weeks of recent American evangelical history.

May 5: At the end of the 1960s, the evangelical movement began transitioning from a politically and culturally conservative stance to something more intentionally "hip," at least in appearance. How and why did this occur, and what have been the consequences? These and other questions will be addressed.
May 12: What became of the "Jesus people" in the 1980s and 1990s? What is a "seeker-friendly" church and why are they typically "mega"? Why did white evangelicals hate the Clintons so much? Why were evangelicals obsessed with being "left behind"? What larger trends in American religion and society were shaping evangelicalism? These and other questions will be addressed.
May 19: We will discuss how everything we've seen thus far leads to our current polarized situation, with some evangelicals hastening toward the left politically, while the majority of white evangelicals are gravitating toward populism and Trump.

Schedule may be adjusted or changed without notice.

Fall 2023

Kickoff Series: Amanda Held Opelt and Bridget Eileen Rivera

Click/tap here for details on special presentations by both of these authors.

September 10: Guest speaker, Amanda Held Opelt, author of A Hole in the World and Holy Unhappiness, will talk on the theme of "calling" and being "souls at rest in our creator".
September 17: Guest speaker, Bridget Eileen Rivera, author of Heavy Burdens, will talk further on themes from her book. The discussion in adult Sunday school will not repeat the content of the previous night's discussion.

Colossians Series

September 24, October 1, October 8: This three-week series is led by Dave Lincicum. Paul's epistle to the Colossians is a powerful pastoral letter that celebrates Christ in poetic terms, expresses concern for the fidelity of its recipients, and offers theologically-motivated practical ethics for living the Christian life. This series will offer the opportunity to study and discuss this brief but poignant letter together.

Prayer Series

October 15: The Prayer Team will be leading a 2-week series (October 15 and 29), introducing the next church-wide prayer training, leading a discussion about our experiences and challenges in prayer, and practicing prayer. These sessions will introduce the basics of prayer through the Lord’s Prayer, and are for beginners as well as those who have lots of experience in prayer.

October 22: NO SUNDAY SCHOOL (Fall break)

October 29: The second session in the series will focus on prayers of adoration.

Sex and the CRC - Moving Forward in the Wake of Synod

November 5: Humility and Disagreement with Others: In this first session, our special guest Laura Callahan will lead us in a conversation on the topic of intellectual humility. Humility is a centrally important Christian virtue, and truly humble people are also intellectually humble. But what exactly do humility and intellectual humility involve? How should our efforts to grow in Christian humility impact the ways we listen to others and hold our own opinions on contentious issues? Join us as we discuss these important questions and, in the following weeks, consider their bearing on our conversations about human sexuality and the decisions made at Synod 2022.
November 12: Loving Others While Following our Conscience: Mike Rea will facilitate a two-part discussion: (1) We will discuss the challenge of figuring out how to be genuinely loving toward people who embrace lifestyle choices or beliefs we strongly disagree with while at the same time following our own conscience and not compromising our beliefs or seeming to condone things we think are wrong. (2) We will spend some time debriefing together about the various educational events we have scheduled for Friday and Saturday evenings over the past couple of months.
November 19: Council Chair Bruce Huber will facilitate a discussion with Pastor Chris and several members of Council. We will hear an update about how things are proceeding in our classis and in the denomination more broadly. We'll discuss possible avenues for our church and have a brief refresher on the Next Steps Discernment process.


November 26: NO SUNDAY SCHOOL (Thanksgiving break)

Advent Series - Hope and Light

December 3: Cristian Mihut will lead a discussion focused on the gentleness of God. We will first look at a couple of Old Testament stories that reveal some features of divine gentleness. Second, we will see how it is expressed and intensified in the Incarnation.

December 10: David McCabe (Bethel University) concludes our two-week advent series leading a session on the gospel of Matthew. Matthew’s Gospel begins with a genealogy running from Abraham to David to the Exile to the Messiah. Matthew 1:17 reiterates 3 sets of 14 generations, and yet we don’t get a full 42 names. Matthew is signaling that the story of Jesus begins with the Exile still happening, which is a key theme to understanding the significance and identity of Jesus the Christ and his mission to “save his people from their sins” (1:21).

December 17: Congregational meeting (there is SS for children/youth, but NO ADULT ED)

Break

December 24, December 31, January 7: NO SUNDAY SCHOOL

Schedule may be adjusted or changed without notice.

This Week
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