New course: Let the Women Speak!

Today we launch Let the Women Speak, a fascinating overview of some of the most memorable — and yet under-remembered — women in the Bible. Lindsay Hardin Freeman, Episcopal priest and author, does a wonderful job sharing her wisdom and passion about these female figures and all we can — and should — learn from them.freeman

As Lindsay reminds us, though women had very few rights and opportunities, they made a remarkable impact on the stories of the Bible. They were often God’s “surprising agents;” they were the original social media; they thrived within, or overcame entirely, their circumstances — they used what they had, to do what they could. There’s a lot we can learn from these women, in terms of their strength and courage, their pluck and resourcefulness, their lack of self-pity and their commitment to those for whom they cared.

Join us in this course, or perhaps in a Small Group setting, as we listen to those voices from long ago that still say so much. Click here for more information or to register.

Lindsay Hardin Freeman, a Minnesota-based Episcopal priest, has won over thirty awards for journalistic excellence, including the 2015 Gold Medal Award in Bible Study from Independent Publisher. A popular speaker and retreat leader on Bible women and contemporary spirituality, Lindsay is the author/editor of six books, and has served congregations in Massachusetts, Philadelphia and Minnesota. The long-time editor of Vestry Papers (2001 – 2010), she also serves as adjunct clergy for St. David’s, Minnetonka.

What Makes a REAL Woman?

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Top Ten List of What We Can Learn from the Mothers in the Bible:

– Real mothers seek, create and sustain life in the face of death, destruction and disappointment.

– Real mothers do not stop claiming what is their right—to bear a child.

– Real mothers love their people, forecast imminent danger, take steps to fight it, and serve on the front lines, ready to lay down their lives.

– Real mothers are courageous in letting their children step confidently into their future.

– Real mothers minister to others even in the midst of desperate circumstances.

– Real mothers speak up and voice their pain, especially in times of tremendous grief.

– Real mothers raise their sons and daughters to be faithful people, and to remain true to their teachings and values.

– Real mothers unleash their deepest desires at Jesus’ feet—and when seemingly rejected, persevere in pursuing healing.

– Real mothers stand up for and stand by their children and families, pursuing for them their best goal and godly vocations.freeman

– Real mothers, sometimes, at great personal expense, say Yes to God—and the the world is transformed.

As Lindsay Hardin Freeman, author of this list and instructor of our latest course (launching Sunday) reminds us: these characteristics apply to all who serve as “mothers” — those who are biological mothers and those who aren’t. The women of the Bible are part of a “holy and sacred circle” — one that is still open.

Stay tuned for Let the Women Speak, which launches Sunday. In the meantime, check out Lindsay’s wonderful blog and books by clicking here.

animate: Bible 3 launches today

In our third course of the animate: Bible series with Augsburg Fortress and Sparkhouse Publishing, we are challenged to rethink how we read, interpret, and relate to the Scriptures. William Willimon and Jay Bakker offer us hopeful reminders that, though the Bible is complex and in need of interpretation, the overall message is simple: love and grace and freedom. animate

Though many have limited and oversimplified the Bible — even using it as a tool for inspiring fear or guilt — this course reminds us that the Bible is more complex than that. It cries out for interpretation and ongoing study, with prayer and in community. William Willimon reminds us that the Bible represents all the complexity and unpredictability of our God and speaks to us, who are complex creations ourselves. And yet, paradoxically, the Bible’s message of love and forgiveness are heart-freeingly simple. If you grew up in a tradition in which the Bible incited fear, guilt, and distress, Jay Bakker invites you to revisit it through the “lenses” of Jesus and St. Paul. They just may set you free.

We’re excited to offer this third opportunity to reanimate our thinking about the Bible, with such engaging and wise instructors.  Click here for more information or to register.

Animate: Bible 2 launches today

We’re thrilled with the second installment of animate: Bible, which launches today and features engaging and thought-provoking presentations by Nadia Bolz-Weber and Jose Morales. As we continue to shake up — to re-animate — our beliefs about and relationship with the Bible, we are reminded that the Bible is a crazy, life-changing, unbelievably deep and rich set of books that reward any investment we give them.

Nadia Bolz-Weber offers two reflections on how surprising the use of the term “gospel” was when it animatewas used by the gospel-writers, how the news represented by Jesus was good — but different — and why this crazy news is actually perfect for us right now. Jose Morales uses his wisdom and experience as a DJ to offer a new way to think about the Bible as a set of books, varied in genre, purpose and style as the books in a library or the types of music played in a club.

True to the mission of the animate: faith series, both Nadia and Jose’s video lectures will have you thinking — and redefining — what the Good News of the Bible is and how it speaks to you. Click here for more information or to register.

First course in the Animate Faith series is now open!

We are thrilled to be presenting the engaging, thought-provoking, and innovative Animate series through ChurchNext. The first course in this three-part series, Animate Faith 1, launches today. This unique program is designed to spur thought, discussion, wondering, pondering, and spiritual growth not by offering answers to some of faith’s most difficult or basic questions but by offering new ways of considering them.animate

Animate Faith 1 features three of the most engaging and sought-after speakers on faith today: Brian McLaren offers his reflections on what we mean when we talk about God, and the various ways people have of imagining, describing, and conceiving of God. Mark Scandrette shakes up our ideas of the way we do church, suggesting that if we truly want to practice Christianity, we need to practice a revolution of love and service like Jesus did. And Lillian Daniels offers wisdom on why we actually do need religion, that though religion is often seen as a dirty word in our culture, spirituality is not enough.

This course is produced in partnership with Augsburg Fortress Publishing, which offers the Animate Faith DVD curriculum as well as facilitator guides and journals for small groups. Click here to find out more.

Stay tuned for the launch of Animate Faith Parts 2 and 3 in the coming weeks.  To register for Animate Faith 1 please click here.

New course: Introducing Methodism

“Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”

“Catch on fire and others will love to come watch you burn.”

“We should be rigorous in judging ourselves and gracious in judging others.”

“Do you not know that God entrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessities for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless; and, indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud the Lord, by applying it to any other purpose?”

“I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God’s creational intentions.”

All of the above are attributed to John Wesley, who, in attempting to revitalize and renew the Church of England, ended up setting in motion a whole new kind of church.  Our latest course, Introducing Methodism, shows us how Anglicans John and Charles Wesley forever changed the landscape of Protestant Christianity. Methodism reminds us that God calls us to help the poor, to be on fire in our hearts, and to work towards holiness in this life. byassee

Whether you’re a stranger to the Methodist Church or a longtime member, even if you’re happily dedicated to another denomination, you’ll find much wisdom and food for thought in this course.  Jason Byassee’s fascinating reflections encourage us all to renew and revitalize our own faith, and to remember that faith is a verb, that our hearts should always burn for Jesus Christ. Click here to learn more or to register.

Jason Byassee is a popular speaker, author, and pastor of Boone United Methodist Church in North Carolina.

 

 

Latest Course In Our Introducing the Book of Common Prayer Series: Praying the Collects with Ellen Wondra

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, they got the Our Father. When people asked the assemblers of The Book of Common Prayer how to pray, they got something nearly as memorable: the Collects.  We are excited to launch the latest course in our series on The Book of Common Prayer:  Praying the Collects is a thoughtful introduction to a meaningful facet of prayer life.

Collects are short prayers and a distinctive part of Anglican worship, liturgy, and theology.  Episcopalians have long subscribed to the conviction of lex orandi, lex credendi or “praying shapes believing.” This means that the way we pray carries great significance.

In this class, scholar, writer, and seminary dean Ellen Wondra helps us understand the wondraCollects, delving into the structure and theology behind these amazing prayers. We will explore:

  • The Purpose and Structure of Collects
  • The Collect of the Day – Part I
  • The Collect of the Day – Part II
  • A Symphony of Collects

Click here to learn more or to register.

This course is the sixth in an 8-part series called Introducing the Book of Common Prayer. The next two courses will be launching in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. This series is brought to us by our partners at Bexley Seabury Federation, an Episcopal center for learning and development. Bexley offers online and in-person classes for everyone at its Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH campuses. For more information visit www.bexleyseabury.edu.