Second of 3 animate: Practices launches today

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The second in the animate: Practices series launches today. We’re proud to partner with Augsburg Fortress in presenting some of the animate series as ChurchNext courses. The  series is unique in that it not only tackles some of the big questions of our faith, like “Is God real?” and “Is there such a thing as too much Bible?” but it does so not in order to teach a certain lesson or to impart fixed wisdom, but to challenge assumptions, spark conversation and dialogue, and encourage wrestling with the deep questions of our souls.

In this latest course, pastor Mike Slaughter and author-theologian Phyllis Tickle encourage us to take a second look at our assumptions about and definitions of both “worship” and “sacraments.” Both Mike and Phyllis remind us that these terms mean different things to different people, and that they have become in many ways slippery and changeable terms in our minds. And yet both of these words are crucial to the origins and future of our spiritual lives. Worship is a practice by which we connect with God and within a community of people on the same path; the sacraments can tell us a great deal about both what we believe we’re saying to God and what God may be saying to us as we participate in worship and sacred rites.

Check this course out — it’s a wonderful thought- and conversation-starter on some topics we may rarely consider. Click here for more information or to register.

mikeMike Slaughter, lead pastor at Ginghamsburg Church, is in his fourth decade as the chief dreamer of Ginghamsburg Church and the spiritual entrepreneur of ministry marketplace innovations. His life-long passion to reach the lost and set the oppressed free has now made him a tireless and leading advocate for the children, women and men of Darfur, Sudan, named by the U.N. as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. Mike’s call to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted will challenge attendees to wrestle with God and their God-destinies.

Phyllis Tickle, founding editor of the Religion Department of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, thephyllis international journal of the book industry, is frequently quoted in print sources, electronic media, and innumerable blogs and web sites.  Tickle is an authority on religion in America and a much sought after lecturer on the subject. In addition to lectures and numerous essays, articles, and interviews, Tickle is the author of over three dozen books on religion and spirituality.Phyllis Tickle, founding editor of the Religion Department of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, the international journal of the book industry, is frequently quoted in print sources, electronic 

 

New course: Talking About Same Gender Unions with Bishop Jeffrey Lee

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You may think the church talks about same gender unions too much; you may think not enough. You may be excited about the latest Supreme Court decision or you may be upset. You may be thrilled at the chance to discuss the issue of same gender unions or you may wish we could talk about something else for once.

Whatever your feelings, our latest course offers new and insightful consideration of this topic. In Talking About Same Gender Unions, Bishop Lee gently reminds us that, as Christians, we must remember that this is a pastoral issue and that it involves people’s hleeearts, relationships, and identities. For that reason, engaging in real listening and respectful conversation is vital. Bishop Lee helps us think about how we might have these conversations, offers hope for hearts, and promises that, in Christ, all things are made well.

We pray that this course, whether you take it on your own or in a Small Group format, will bring wisdom, insight, healing, and hope on a divisive issue that means a lot to many. Click here to register or for more information.

Jeffrey Lee is the twelfth Episcopal bishop of Chicago where he oversees 127 congregations across Northern Illinois. You can find out more about him here.

Fascinating New Course: Exploring Hell with Seth Carey

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened. ” 
― C.S. LewisThe Great Divorce

seth careyExploring Hell with Seth Carey is the latest ChurchNext course, and it tackles a subject everyone has wondered about but very few have pondered in depth.  The Rev. Seth Carey has. He’s a minister at First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, IL where he specializes in teaching on occult religions, theodicy, and Judeo-Christian mythology. In this class Seth teaches us about the origins of our conception of hell, how this notion has changed and developed over time, and what the Bible has to say about it.  He explores demons and the devil and their cultural and religious significance, and he closes by offering a few thought-provoking modern theories about hell as a chosen state of being. This course will have you thinking for days, whether you are new to the subject or you are a seasoned student of theology.  Click here for more information or to register.

Now Available: Reimagining Children’s and Youth Ministry with Faith Forward

Last week’s Big Class, Reimagining Children’s and Youth Ministry with Faith Forward, was a smashing success and inspired great discussion about our churches’ theologies of children, how we minister to young people, and how they can minister to us.  Now this course is available to take or to add to your church’s online school.  Check it out:    FF Title Pic

Where are all the young people in church?

The folks at Faith Forward suggest: Something is happening in the church. A new kind of Christianity is taking root and growing across the globe. New forms of ministry, worship, and community are emerging. Questions are being asked. And change is happening.

But amidst these changes and shifts, children and youth are being left behind. Innovative approaches to ministry with adults are emerging around the world, but little critical reflection and attention has been given to how to nurture young people within a new kind of Christianity.

In this class, 4 keynote speakers who will be appearing at the 2014 Faith Forward conference, ‘Reimagining Children’s and Youth Ministry,’ share their insights into what this reimagining should look like. Lessons include:

  • Where Are We? with Dave Csinos
  • Reimagining: Theology with Ivy Beckwith
  • Reimagining: Story with Marvin Bray
  • Reimagining: Rhythm with Danielle Shroyer

Click here to register.  Click here for more information and to register for the Faith Forward Conference.