The Power of Lament During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As we approach 2021, we are recovering from significant amounts of celebration during Christmas. Praise and celebration certainly have a rightful place in the Christian life, but during the pandemic, too much of the wrong kind of celebration is driving rates of infection through the roof. As mentioned in a recent post, lament is not much considered in the average Christian’s life. However, in perspective, one-third of the Psalms are focused on lament. I discovered a beautiful prayer of lament on the rzim.org website today to draw focus to the beauty of presenting lament to our creator.

A Prayer of Lament over the Coronavirus Pandemic
Trina Doffelmyer

Hear our cry, Almighty God. Listen to our prayer. How long will we have to hide in our homes from this invisible enemy? Where will it strike next? And whom? And what if…? Our screens relay a continuous escalation of suffering and death around the world. Panic and anxiety abounds. Our souls are weary from the strain of the life-altering unknowns.

Heavenly Father, from the depths of our pain and confusion, we cry out to You. From fear-filled hearts and anxious minds, we plead with You. Rescue us, Father of compassion and grace. We lift up our eyes to You, Lord God, the One who sits enthroned in heaven.

On all who have contracted the virus

Lord have mercy

On all who have lost loved ones to this sickness and are in mourning and anguish

Lord have mercy

On all who are unable to earn an income because their jobs have been suspended

Lord have mercy

We cry out for healing and needed resources

We cry out for comfort and peace

On all medical professionals and caretakers attending to those infected with the virus

Christ have mercy

On all scientists and technologists striving to find a vaccine and to make it available

Christ have mercy

On all leaders of institutions and governments as they make decisions to try and contain the virus

Christ have mercy

We pray for strength in the long and exhausting hours of labor

We pray for wisdom in the research and difficult decisions

On all who have not yet contracted the virus

Lord have mercy

On the most vulnerable of our society who are unable to buy extra food or get proper medical attention

Lord have mercy

On all disciples of Jesus Christ discerning how to reflect His love to others within this crisis

Lord have mercy

We plead for protection of health

We plead for all to remain calm and kind

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the expanse of the universe. And yet this earth is no longer as You created it to be. Holy Father, our earth groans from the devastation caused by the curse of the Fall. My God, Your Word is true. One day You will liberate creation from its bondage to decay and death.

Life is sacred and precious in your sight. You are the God Who sees us and sustains us.Nothing can separate us from the Father’s unfailing love and kindness, not even sickness or the fear of tomorrow. You are our Light as we walk in this darkness. We will remember to celebrate the beautiful gifts You have given us in this present moment.

Almighty God, You are our Rock, our Refuge from the enemy, our hiding place.

You calm our frantic thoughts and fill our despairing hearts with joy and strength.

In Your Presence living water springs forth in the wilderness.

You restore our souls.

*Please note: this prayer may also be personalized by using “I” and “my” instead of “we” and “our.”

ct

Anchorage Christmas 2020 Is Here – Be Covid Careful!

A quick Google search using the search phrase, “Christmas services Anchorage 2020” yields many choices. Many services show as live services which is worrying. Since early on during the Covid pandemic, churches have demonstrated live services often become super spreader events. Unfortunately, many have died as a result. During His ministry, Jesus, responding to a question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”, stated, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.’ 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

I applaud those local churches who are streaming their services this Christmas, providing a safe haven for the celebration of Christmas. These are not times to be complacent. In a December 20, 2020 New Yorker article Michael Luo writes, “Many churches, particularly conservative ones, fought lockdown orders and rebuffed public-health warnings about large indoor gatherings. The virus has swept through houses of worship across the country. In the end, the lasting image of the Church in the pandemic may very well be that of an unmasked choir at First Baptist Church, in Dallas, led by the pastor Robert Jeffress, a staunch Trump supporter, singing in front of Vice-President Mike Pence at a “Freedom Sunday” service, as the county where the church is located reported a record high for covid-19 cases.”

In his most recent book, God and the Pandemic, noted theologian N.T. Wright, urges Christians to consider lament as an appropriate response to the pandemic.
He succinctly writes, “I have urged that we should embrace lament as the vital initial Christian response to this pandemic. Roughly one-third of the Psalms are lamenting that things are not as they should be. The words they use are words of complaint: of question, sorrow, anger and frustration and, often enough, bitterness.

They are all part of the prayer-book of Jesus himself, and the New Testament draws freely on them to express not only our own laments but the way of Jesus too. The Lord’s Prayer is our ‘norm’. Are we looking for sudden signs of the End? No: we pray every day, ‘Thy Kingdom Come on earth as in heaven’, and we know that prayer will be answered because of what we know about Jesus. Are we looking for fresh, sudden calls to repent? No: we pray every day, ‘Forgive us our Trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ We know that prayer will be answered, because of what we know about Jesus. Are we then looking for fresh reasons to leave our comfortable lifestyles and tell our neighbours the good news? Well, shame on us if it takes a pandemic to get us to that point. Why wasn’t Jesus’ command enough? ‘As the father sent me, so I’m sending you’; ‘Go and make all nations into disciples’. God and the Pandemic (p. 52). Zondervan.

I wish each of my readers wonderful days of celebration in honor of the Advent’s wonderful event, the coming of the King.

ct

New Service at St. Mary’s Episcopal Replaces “Blue Christmas” -Tonight, December 17, 2020 8:00-8:45 p.m. (UPDATED)

UPDATE:
I attended this online service and found it to be a great gathering! For online Zoom attendees, it was interesting to see each participant and attendee. In many respects this service seemed more personal than in previous years. St. Mary’s is commended to have presented this traditional service in an updated, and enlarged Advent form, while respecting Covid meetings concerns. I found it to be very assuring service for the Advent season.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, an active and vibrant congregation in Anchorage, is transitioning to a new and different format this year, enlarging their emphasis upon the traditional Blue Christmas service held in December.

“We have been been doing online services of Hope, Health, and Healing each month during the pandemic, and this is a continuation of that”, explains St. Mary’s Rector Michael Burke.  “The past year has brought us deep issues of grieving and loss, loss of our usual patterns of work and gathering, loss of loved ones, and loss of connection with one another.  This service gives us a place to come together in God’s holy presence.”

I’ve attended and written about several Blue Christmas services locally, such as https://www.churchvisits.com/2017/12/not-feeling-holiday-cheer-maybe-a-blue-christmas-or-longest-night-service-is-for-you/, but believe St. Mary’s, especially this year, is on the right track.

To attend this service virtually, just click here https://godsview.zoom.us/j/97258355536 to join this special service.

ct

An Advent Prayer for An Anxious Heart













Pandemic fears getting you down? Lack of joy this Christmas
season? Relax your mind and pray this prayer to ask for help at
this time.

A PRAYER
FOR AN ANXIOUS
HEART

Heavenly Father,
May Your presence light up the dark places in my life.
Because in that darkness, there is fear.
It is a fear that grips my heart and consumes my attention.
The darkness is full of unknowns and what-ifs.
It is full of worst-case scenarios and defensive positions.
It is full of mistrust and unforgiveness.
The challenges I face and the ones I worry about facing
make my heart afraid and rob my life of peace.

But in Isaiah 43, You tell me not to fear.
You remind me that You are the One who created me.
You are the One who formed me.
And not only do You have the power to breathe life into me,
but You have purchased my freedom at a costly price.
You have called me out by name
and have declared that I belong to You.
That I belong with You.
You remind me that whatever I face, You will be by my side.
In this life, when I find myself in deep waters,
You will be with me.
When I go through rivers of difficulty,
I will not drown.

When I walk through fires of oppression,
I will not be burned up and the flames will not consume me.
Why?
Because You are the Lord my God.
You are the Holy One.
The utterly transcendent One whose righteousness and
justice never fail.
And You are my refuge. My protection.
My Savior.

Lord Jesus,
draw near to me and drive out the darkness
that I am still holding onto.
Let Your light bring peace to this anxious heart.
Amen.

courtesy of adventconspiracy.org

ct

2020 Wieland Hunger Print Available (Limited Quantities)

UPDATED – 12/11/20

“Go in Peace serve the Lord” 2020 Hunger Print by Marianne Wieland


Local Anchorage artist, Marianne Wieland, also a Lutheran, has prepared a very limited number of this year’s Hunger Print. I eagerly look forward to her release of each year’s print. This year’s print is no exception. For 41 years, she has been producing these prints to support hunger solutions, locally and worldwide. In the process, her prints have raised around $300,000 toward this goal. This long-term effort demonstrates the power one person has in addressing a significant issue.

For my previous year stories about Marianne’s project and prints, click on the following links.

Wieland World Hunger Print – 2019 – Now Available

2017 Wieland Hunger Print Now Available!

For nearly 40 years, an Anchorage artist — with the help of her church — has used her work to fight world hunger

Thank you for what you continue to do for world hunger Marianne!

ct

UPDATE:
12/11/20

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church advises me they have a few of previous year Hunger Prints at the church offices. The pictures below show some of the available prints. A big thank you to Marcia Hoffman-DeVoe at Gloria Dei for these images.

ADVENT 2020 – What an Adventure!

Orthodox Advent

Over the past 12-years of authoring this blog, I’ve considered Advent to be a great privilege to observe, especially from a multi-religion point of view.

Advent for the Orthodox community began on November 15 with the Feast of the Nativity. Pascha and Advent are two periods of the year that Orthodox place special emphasis upon. Locally we are fortunate to have three branches of the Orthodox faith well represented by churches and clergy: Greek Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox (Antiochian), and Orthodox of America (formerly Russian Orthodox in Alaska). You will find many of their services chronicled in the Tag Cloud on the right-hand side of the desktop version of this blog. Just click on ADVENT.

angels clipart advent

Advent for Western Christianity begins today. One of the traditions I enjoy about its observance is the lighting of a new Advent candle each week, often accompanied by a homily pertaining to that named candle. Todays theme is Hope.

“The Advent wreath, or Advent crown, is a Christian tradition that symbolizes the passage of the four weeks of Advent in the liturgical calendar of the Western church. It is traditionally a Lutheran practice, although it has spread to many other Christian denominations.[1][2][3]

It is an evergreen wreath with four candles, sometimes with a fifth, white candle in the center. Beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, the lighting of a candle can be accompanied by a Bible readingdevotional time and prayers.[4][5] An additional candle is lit on each subsequent Sunday until, by the last Sunday of Advent, all four candles are lit. Some Advent wreaths include a fifth, Christ candle which is lit at Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.[6] The custom originated in family settings but has also become widespread in public worship.” Source – Wikipedia

I wish each of my readers a meaningful Advent season and pray that your journey toward Christmas will be filled with insight and joy. Covid has made this Advent journey especially difficult, but I sincerely Hope it draws each of you closer to God. Check back frequently as I’ll be updating the blog with Advent news and readings.

ct

My Thank You List for COVID-19 Thanksgiving 2020

Great Turkey Nebula

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html Great Turkey Nebula – NASA

As I commence updating my Church Visits blog, it feels appropriate to offer a few of my thoughts of what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. I’m guided by biblical admonition as in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

  1. My Health
    So far, I’ve not been touched by Covid-19 infection. I attribute much of this to a loving God and community neighbors who willingly social distance and wear masks.
  2. Our Faith Community
    A fair number of local congregations have been very wise in limiting or curtailing in-person services. This has helped avoid the spread of Covid-19 in many ways, and provides a strong example of how people of faith can show respect for each other and non-believers. Matthew 22:36-40 ESV states:
    “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
  3. New Worship Insights
    Most congregations are meeting remotely and finding technology can knit members closer to each other, while seamlessly expanding their outreach. Pastors report their remote worship services are drawing many people from beyond their member base, even overseas. Former members can participate in services, while those who, by reason of work, military service, or travel, can also attend remotely. I believe this can be the bow wave of future mission for the church.
  4. My Worship Experience
    I’m very thankful to have had several great new worship experiences during the pandemic. One was a house church which meets via Zoom, now that in-person meetings are too risky. 10-15 individuals/families met in the house church I worshipped with. They study a chapter of the Bible each week and discuss insights about their study. Sadly, they lost track of me and I was forgotten. However, I’m gratified to have been meeting for months with a noted scientist/ordained minister who uses the following format. He starts with 15 minutes of answering participant questions about science or faith issues. Next, he delivers 30 minutes of insights about a topic of significance. Currently he is exploring God and suffering, a fascinating topic. He then takes 30-45 minutes of questions again, after which he breaks the online audience into groups of 5-10 individuals to discuss a study question based on the teaching. Usually, we all get back together again as a group for 15 minutes to share insights about our study. This person-to-person aspect is missing from most services. I’ll be happy to share this study site if you’re interested. Contact me at churchvisits@gmail.com.
  5. A Fair and Safe Election
    Clearly, I give thanks for our recent election that demonstrated the strength and resiliency of our electoral system. Many areas of the world are not as fortunate. Earlier this year, I visited several African countries where voters routinely have their votes stolen during rigged elections. As a student of history, it was gratifying to see democracy at work once again, honoring the will of the people.
  6. Care for the Homeless and Hungry
    Finally, I’m happy to be part of a community that looks after the less fortunate among us. The various food banks, shelter services, and church-based food banks and assistance programs show that heart-felt caring and sharing is still alive here. It is easy to criticize the least among us, but many people in our locality are one paycheck or less from disaster. This could be your lot too under different circumstances. “Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” — James 1:27, The Message

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog. Please feel free to add your comments to this dialog. This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of what I am thankful for this day, but is good to offer thanks. Finally, I thank each reader of this blog for taking the time to add to the conversation.

ct

A Fresh Approach to Bible Study

It seems that many more people are conscious of Bible study than before our COVID-19 pandemic. A recent Fox News report indicated record Bible purchases during the pandemic (click https://tinyurl.com/tn3nhzd for story). Doing research for a recent post, I came across the beautiful essay, below, from Trinity Church – Wall Street in New York City, about delving into scripture. Although written in 2010, it is even more applicable now than then. In over 20 years of visiting and writing about churches, I’ve rarely seen the practice, described in the essay, followed. Today, for the most part, it’s talking heads who lead a one-way discussion, called a sermon, with very little interpretative participation by lay members. Electronic 2-way conversations via remote viewing capabilities might be a takeaway from the ‘new normal’.

How Do We Read Scripture?
By Robert Owens Scott and W. Mark Richardson
(reprinted by permission)
November 02, 2010

When New Testament scholar Daniel M. Patte attended a worship service in Kasane, Botswana, he was surprised to find that the priest offered no sermon. Instead, the worshippers took turns interpreting the day’s scripture aloud. After each commentary, the others would pray for the speaker. Patte’s translator told him what others were saying in the Setswana language. When Patte’s turn came, the others were able to follow his English. But much as he enjoyed the experience, Patte was disappointed that after he spoke, nobody prayed. When he queried his translator he was told, “You did not ask!” The translator had neglected to convey the final line of each person’s commentary: “Brothers and sisters pray for me, that I might better understand the Scripture.”

Do we need one another in order to understand our sacred texts? Given its central role in the Christian faith, one would expect the Bible to be a source of unity. Too often, however, Christians loudly disagree on a variety of issues, their only commonality being that they all cite scripture to justify their conflicting positions. Some observers simply conclude that the Bible can be used to prove any point and is therefore meaningless. A growing number of others, like Patte, see the challenge differently. They believe that through an overemphasis on private interpretation, scholarly theories detached from the life of believers, and Bible study conducted only among the like-minded, we have forgotten that the Bible’s creation, reception, and ongoing interpretation are inherently communal.

“Scripture’s a community book,” says Sister Teresa Okure, professor of New Testament at the Catholic Institute of West Africa. “Individuals may have written it, but it’s a community that accepted it. And the community said, ‘This is what really expresses our faith.’ So we really do need one another to be able to understand.” Okure was one of Patte’s co-editors on the Global Bible Commentary (Abingdon Press), a volume offering thought-provoking, highly readable reflections on every book of the Bible, each from a different cultural perspective.

The term used to describe this approach is “contextual Bible study.” While it grew in part from liberation theology’s commitment to hearing the voices that have traditionally been silenced, it has also taken root in mainstream biblical discourse. “We have learned in the last two generations that everybody reads in a local context,” says Walter Brueggemann, widely considered the dean of U.S. Bible scholars. “And if I only read from my local context, it causes me to dismiss many of those other readings that faithful people are doing elsewhere.”

Brueggemann believes that we have focused too much on finding the correct readings of the texts and in the process have lost valuable dimensions of meaning. “I think most often there are multiple right readings,” he told us in an interview in his home in Cincinnati, Ohio. “But there are clearly readings that are wrong. And I think the work of the Church now is not so much to find out where the wrong readings are; the work of the Church is to find out how can I tolerate other right readings that stand alongside my preferred reading. The Church has had a long practice of assuming that there’s only one right reading, and that seems to be manifestly not true.”

One reason for this lack of a single definitive meaning can be traced to the way the scriptures came into being. “The importance of context is that scriptures were born in context,” Okure said when we spoke with her at the seminary where she teaches in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She notes that, in this sense, the Bible is unlike the Koran, which is attributed to the dictation of Allah by the angel Gabriel. “But, for us, first was the life, and not the book,” says Okure.

“What we have are testimonies of life. They are writing from faith for faith, to encourage other people.” The conviction that scripture reading must be connected to life is what drew Gerald West to dedicate his career to contextual Bible study. A white South African, West became politicized in the struggle to end apartheid and was asked to leave the church in which he had been ordained. He credits the socially engaged witness of Desmond Tutu with drawing him into the Anglican archbishop’s church.

West was a founder of the Ujamaa Center in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The center’s mission is to address issues in the local context through Bible study. “We were forged in the violence that wreaked havoc across the KwaZulu-Natal Province, in the 1980s, where forces of the apartheid state and forces of the United Democratic Front came into conflict, and there was massive violence,” West explained in an interview in Berkeley, California, while completing a sabbatical at the Pacific School of Religion. “And out of that violence, the cry went up of ‘What is God saying to us?’ The Ujamaa Center was a very small attempt to bring the Bible into that question; to say, well, we don’t know what God is saying, perhaps. There’s just so much violence, it’s almost impossible to know what is happening. Where is God in all of this destruction?”

Ujamaa’s Bible studies purposefully combine Bible scholars with “ordinary readers,” who haven’t been formally trained in biblical scholarship. “I’m not privileging; I’m not saying it’s any better, but it is different, and we need to recognize that it’s different,” West says, “For me, the challenge is, is there a usefulness in this difference? I think there is.”

West, Brueggemann, and Okure all agree that overreliance on scholarship can cause problems. “We biblical scholars and theologians have to take responsibility for the atheism of the world,” says Okure. “We were  scholars talking to scholars for most of the century.” Brueggemann observes, “Church people want serious critical thought, but it’s got to be cast in a way that connects with the practice of faith.”

They also agree that scholars who are willing to speak on equal terms with ordinary readers bring valuable expertise. One way a scholar can help is by drawing attention to “the particularity of the text,” says Brueggemann, “so it’s not just a big blob.” The goal is to overcome the familiarity of scripture, which leads many to believe they already know what it says, and to allow people to experience the texts freshly.

All three recommend structuring Bible studies around questions that take participants back to the text repeatedly, in order to get beyond assumptions about what it says.

The novelist Mary Gordon found the wisdom of this approach when she was preparing to write her most recent book, the nonfiction Reading Jesus. “I think you have to look at the words and see what the words actually are before you go taking off into the wild blue yonder,” she told us. “And, of course, this is what the great scriptural scholars have given us, too, is to give us some historical context so that we would know that some interpretations are just nutty.”

Scholarly research also yields perspectives that can open up discussion. West credits Brueggemann, who was one of his teachers, with the insight that scripture includes at least two major voices or “trajectories.” One is prophetic and concerned with justice (identified with Deuteronomy). The other is consolidating and concerned with purity (identified with Leviticus). “I think scriptures divide us as long as we pick out the voice that we like and imagine that’s the whole Bible,” says Brueggemann. 

“So let’s acknowledge that there are different voices,” says West, “and let’s explain why we have privileged the voice that we have privileged, and why we have silenced the voices that we have silenced.” The Ujamaa Center is often invited to conduct Bible studies for those with HIV/AIDS, many of whom have been told by their churches that the disease is God’s punishment. “Does scripture talk about God punishing people with diseases?” West asks. “Yes. To say it doesn’t is ridiculous, and if you refuse to face the fact that scripture does say that, you will never understand why it is that churches are saying these things. What you need to bring alongside that voice is the other voice, or other voices from scripture, which say that’s not the whole story. The Book of Job, for example, is a contestation of that view. It’s saying it’s not true that God punishes for sin; there’s another way of understanding this. So we are turning to the Book of Job in the context of HIV and AIDS, trying to return large sections of the Book of Job, which never get read in the church, to the church.”

West and Brueggemann believe that this insight is crucial to making progress in the Anglican Communion’s debates about sexuality. “One advocacy is for the purity of the church, and the other one is for the practice of justice in the church,” Brueggemann observes. West agrees: “I can perhaps begin to respect you, if I begin to understand that your voice is a legitimate scriptural voice, and you recognize that my voice is a legitimate scriptural voice. Because then we’re not shouting at each other and saying, ‘But scripture says! But scripture says!’ We’re understanding the framework within which you operate and the framework within which I operate.”

Okure finds that the scholar’s knowledge can also raise important issues about the Bible’s own context. “Let’s talk about the women issue,” she told us, “because for us, in Africa, it is very, very important.” As a scholar, she is able to illuminate the cultural background behind biblical admonitions for women to be silent, which reflect the negative view of women in the time of Augustus. “The unredeemed culture is there within the scriptures,” she says, pointing out that this view was expressed in Vatican II.

She believes that in such instances we have an obligation to debate the text. “Because those texts, they were dealing with life. And it is only after a certain time that somebody says, ‘Oh, this is canon.’ But in canonizing the text, you canonize the struggles that they had, which were rooted in life, and weren’t necessarily the word of God.” This freedom to debate the text does not mean we can simply throw out what we don’t like, however. “How you deal with it in the text is, can you hear Jesus saying it?” she explains. “Can you see Jesus implementing it? Because ultimately, Ignatius of Antioch says, he is the yardstick; he’s the canon by which you interpret the scriptures.”

The importance of the ordinary reader cannot be overestimated, either. Gordon says that what prompted her to read the Gospels as an adult, after having been discouraged from during her Roman Catholic childhood prior to Vatican II, was her realization that the fundamentalists with whom she disagreed actually knew the scriptures better than she did. She also recognized that fundamentalists spoke about scripture emotionally, feeding a hunger among believers. The problem, for her, is that “the emotions they’re approaching are anger and fear. I thought it was important to talk about other emotions, like consolation, compassion, the sense of accompaniment, the sense of joy,” she told us in an interview at her home in Rhode Island. “The work of fact not as a problem for biblical scholars, but as an opportunity for others. 

Brueggemann agrees.
“I really want to insist that ordinary reading and scholarly reading are twinned operations that are not in tension with each other, but that can be mutually reinforcing,” Brueggemann says. “Because when the Church is faithful, it has a kind of an evangelical wisdom to it that does not depend on scholarship.”

He recalls leading a seminar at a seminary for Aborigines in Darwin, Australia. “I had a very difficult time making contact. But an Aboriginal woman led the Bible study, and it was about Jesus telling them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. This woman got it. She didn’t know anything about [theories of biblical authorship], but they were all fisher-people, and so they knew about which side to put their net on and so on. And in a kind of a plain, understated fashion, she understood that casting your nets on the other side of the boat meant that another whole world was possible for the people in the boat. And I keep going back to that extraordinary moment that was highly contextual to this particular group of Aboriginal fisher-people.”

In the end, this idea that scripture makes a new world possible is the hope that all three scholars hold for the impact of scripture study in the church. Brueggemann often leads Bible study with lay people and clergy. “You do have the sense that the spirit is working in our study, because people are led to new awareness,” he says. “Wendell Berry has said that the environmental crisis will be solved one acre at a time. And I believe that’s how it is with us. I don’t think most of us are going to make heroic changes, but we may be changed one narrative at a time, or one text at a time, and led to newness.”

Robert Owens Scott is director of Trinity Institute. The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson is president and dean of Church Divinity School of the Pacific and senior theological fellow of Trinity Institute.

Link to original article:


https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/blogs/news/church-has-so-much-unlearn

Watch “Pilgrim’s Progress” FREE!

If you’ve not watched this fascinating animated retelling of John Bunyan’s classic tale, here is an awesome opportunity to watch it for free. Just click HERE to enter your contact information to receive a free viewing. I hear that over 1/2 million people watched this for free Easter weekend!

Initially, I watched for free and ended up purchasing a set of two DVD’s in support of their work. One has already been given away and the other is ready for a receptive pair of eyes.

Revelation Media is producing some very well done series outside of Pilgrim’s Progress. Their Torchlighter project presents annimated stories of heroes of the faith, accompanied with activity pages for children. A preview of this series can be viewed HERE. The heroes covered include:

Torchlighter Episodes feature the following heroes:
  • Jim Elliot
  • William Tyndale
  • John Bunyan
  • Eric Liddell
  • Gladys Aylward
  • Richard Wurmbrand
  • Perpetua
  • Amy Charmichael
  • William Booth
  • Samuel Morris
  • Augustine
  • Corrie ten Boom
  • John Wesley
  • Robert Jermain Thomas
  • Martin Luther
  • Adoniram & Ann Judson

They are also working on an iBible which tells the stories of key biblical figures. A preview of this fascinating series can be viewed HERE.

I’m truly excited when these state-of-the-art tools are created to help Christians and others explore the fascinating story we hold so dear.

ct