Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Thursdays With Jesus Lineup

If you are in the area visit us for Thursdays with Jesus. It is a great discussion group. Here is the lineup:

September 13, 20, 27--Incidents of a Southern Tour or The South as Seen Through Northern Eyes by Rev. Horace Cowles Atwater. This is a book written in 1857 that has been republished just this last year by the University of Michigan.

Atwater was the pastor of First Presbyterian of Elizabethton from 1870-1877. He was a Yankee who concluded his ministry career in Tennessee and is buried in Elizabethton. We have recently recovered about 100 of his sermons. They are in the archives of East Tennessee State University.

He made a long tour of the South in the 1850s to see for himself the conditions and to hope that a war could be avoided between North and South. You can read the text on-line (by opening the above link) and permission is granted to print it. You can also order a copy in book form from Amazon.

October 4, 13, 20, 27, November 3, 10--The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg. This is a fine book that has been read in many study groups. Here is part of a synopsis in the review from Spirituality and Health:

In the first three chapters, Borg lays out the conflict within Christendom between those who cling to an earlier paradigm, with its emphasis upon faith as believing, requirements and rewards, and the afterlife, and those who align themselves with an emerging paradigm of Christian life as relational and transformational. He discusses the essential differences between the two camps vis-à-vis the Bible (the heart of tradition), God (the heart of reality), and Jesus (the heart of God).

Before we can relax into this clearly delineated situation, Borg surprises us, calling on mainline Christians to reclaim the Biblical term of being "born again" as a way of drawing closer to their more conservative brothers and sisters.
If you cannot join us in the flesh join us on the Web!

2 comments:

  1. Concerning the historical “ambiguities” of the meaning of “belief” and “faith” within the Christian tradition and larger context of Western culture, see Wilfred Cantwell Smith’s Belief and History (1977), and more importantly, his major study Faith and Belief (1979), which provides an excellent analysis of the historical development of the English terms “faith” (Latin, credo) and “belief” (Latin, libido; German, belieben). In Faith and Belief Smith shows how through time the original meaning and usage in religious language of “faith” and “belief” has changed in radical and important ways within the Christian tradition and modern culture, from a personal experiential encounter with transcendent reality (Divinity of Christ) to primarily a focus on intellectual assent to propositional statements. He points to the need to develop a global perspective based upon a broader comparative analysis of the meaning, nature, and role of faith in various religious traditions. Smith cogently argues that “Those primarily concerned with beliefs, pro or con, may turn out to be barking up the wrong tree” (1977: 38), when more importantly it is ideal that “Faith … is a quality of human living. At its best it has taken the form of serenity and courage and loyalty and service: a quite confidence and joy which enable one to feel at home in the universe, and to find meaning in the world and in one’s life, a meaning that is profound and ultimate, and is stable no matter what may happen to oneself at the level of immediate event.” (1979: 12).

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  2. "...“faith” and “belief” has changed in radical and important ways within the Christian tradition and modern culture, from a personal experiential encounter with transcendent reality (Divinity of Christ) to primarily a focus on intellectual assent to propositional statements."

    Yes, Rob, exactly. Believe seems to be more close to Think these days.

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