We’ve just launched our 5-class curriculum on Luke the Liberator. It’s free for anyone who wants to use it from today through the end of Lent. This series is designed to support the ministry of the Good Book Club.
Why study Luke right now? This is a time when our culture is addressing many questions that are deeply relevant to Luke’s Gospel and his Acts of the Apostles. Luke’s works are written as part of his mission to reach out to strangers across international and cultural divides to tell the story of Jesus. His writing addresses how we should treat strangers in foreign lands, Jesus’ attitude to poor people, the role of women in the culture and in the church, the right way to approach other marginalized people of that time, and the power of grace to redeem us from the sins of our fallen world.
In the past couple of years, our nation has been engaged in bitter debates about issues that are deeply relevant to Luke’s Gospel. We have debated about allowing refugees into our country and our nation’s attitude toward our neighbors in Haiti and Mexico. We’ve argued about the government’s role in assisting poor people, veterans, and senior citizens. We’ve focused on the empowerment of women, in part through hundreds of courageous women having taken a united stand against a culture of sexual assault. We’ve gone back and forth on the place of transgender people, gay people, people of color, and other marginalized people in our culture. We’ve enclosed ourselves in echo chambers while judging one another on the internet. In short, there has never been a better time for people in our country to read the Gospel of Luke.
In this curriculum, five instructors adress different aspects of Luke as a liberator.
Introduction to Luke
We begin the series with an overview as John Lewis, a teacher and scholar of the gospels from The Seminary of the Southwest, introduces the Gospel of Luke and discusses who its author was, the audience to which its author is writing, and its most important themes.
Liberation for Women
The Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman, an award-winning religion journalist who has written extensively on women in the Bible, discusses the Gospel of Luke in the context of women. She examines women’s voices in Luke, Luke’s message about women in its historical context, and Luke’s Gospel as it applies to gender and social justice in the 21st century.
Liberation from Wealth
The Rev. Ron Spann, a longtime social justice advocate, examines issues related to wealth in Luke’s Gospel. How does wealth enslave us? How does Christ free us from that enslavement? Ron addresses these questions and others in this class.
Liberated to Share
The Rev. Nurya Love Parish, an activist in the Christian Food Movement, the mission of which is to create sustainable food production methods and ensure that all people have access to good, healthy food. She talks about Luke’s Gospel in the context of giving — what it means to give; how Christ frees us to give freely.
Liberated to Preach
The Rev. Jay Sidebotham, founder of RenewalWorks, focuses his work on church renewal — on freeing churches to grow in the spirit of Christ. In this class, he discusses Luke’s approach to spreading the good news of Jesus and what that means for 21st century Christians.
You can take these classes at your own pace. One profitable way you might use it would be to study one class during each week of Lent. While this curriculum has been designed with the idea of group study in mind, this course offers opportunities for individuals to engage in online discussion with other students around the world.
We hope that you benefit from this curriculum on Luke and that it gives you much food for thought about how Luke’s gospel can help us engage the divisive issues that concern our culture at this time.
Image One: Luke the Evangelist from the Lindisfarne Gospels. Free for use through Creative Commons license.
Image Two: Photograph of the Women’s March in Washington D.C. , 22 Jan 2017. Public Domain.