Just Launched: A New Free Class — Revelation: The End of the World or Heaven on Earth with Michael Battle.

Saint_John_on_Patmos_2We just launched a new FREE class, Revelation: The End of the World or Heaven on Earth with Michael Battle For Individuals and For Groups.

In this course, Michael Battle, Episcopal priest and author of the book Heaven on Earth: God’s Call to Community in the Book of Revelation, offers five lectures, each about forty minutes long, on how to read The Book of Revelation.

In his Book of Revelation, John of Patmos addresses the age-old conundrum that we can seek God — but we cannot seek God.  We can open our hearts to God and have faith that God will, in God’s way and in God’s time, enter.  We cannot, however, force a union with God any more than we can free ourselves from sin; we can only open ourselves to possibilities.

In this course, Michael discusses the good dreams in the Book of Revelation that people today tend to discount. He emphasizes that in the Book of Revelation, good dreams and nightmarish monsters are connected through the reconciliation process. The good dreams — union with God — result from the nightmares — the possibility of separation from God. Likewise, union with one another through empathy and reconciliation after wrongdoing results from the will of God acting in our lives, not through our ability to reunite with one another.

Michael’s overall emphasis in this lesson and in his discussion of Revelation is connection — between sin and union with God; between the beginning and the end;galaxy and cell between the oppressor and the victim; between the sufferer and the outsider who empathizes with the sufferer. The hardest aspect of these unions is that none of them is under our control. We may want forgiveness, reconciliation, union with God — but we don’t get to run the ship.

Michael argues that the Book of Revelation connects nightmares to good dreams; the beginning to the end. It tries to convey the paradoxes that human beings can only dimly comprehend, and when we read it this way rather than according to the grim tradition of analyzing the nightmares, we can begin to understand it.

We would like to thank Trinity Institute for allowing us to use Michael’s lectures and their curriculum material in this course.

Image 1: John on Patmos by the Master of the Rotterdam, 15th century. Public domain. 

Image 2: A galaxy and a cell, both used with permission through Creative Commons.

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Sacramentum Day One: Off to a Great Start

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So we started Sacramentum, our first live online course, last Sunday, and the first of our seven classes went very well. Thanks to Lisa Kimball, who will go down in history as the very first instructor of ChurchNext live courses, for offering a terrific presentation on Relationships and what it means to be in a relationship with God. Thanks to Sarah Stonesifer and Malcolm McLaurin for moderating the course with grace and efficiency. And, of course, many thanks to the almost forty students who have helped us launch this course with their courtesy, curiosity, and insight.

We’ve had a few last-minute requests from people who wanted to join the course after the registration date passed, so we decided to extend the registration deadline until February 26. If you’re interested in joining us, you can still do so for the next week and a half.

We hope to see you this Sunday, 2/18, when Wendy Claire Barrie will be offering a discussion on Belonging.