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Making Sense of the Cross

 Sundays,  beginning April 3  @ 9 am 

​As Christians, we sometimes forget that our entire belief system is centered on a cross. This happens for a variety of reasons: the cross is fearsome, it is difficult to comprehend, it is threatening, and it can be muted or limited by our theories and theologies. Yet the cross is the pinnacle of God's story of creation, love, forgiveness, and grace. Jesus' death and resurrection are what animate our entire faith. But what exactly does the cross mean for our daily lives?

Welcome to Making Sense of the Cross with David Lose​

 David Lose invites us to set aside all our ideas and theories about the cross and instead to think of it as an experience. He asks, "What if the gospels aren't just a record of the cross but an invitation to experience God?"  As he reminds us, there's a big difference between reading about something and actually doing it.

The cross is the culmination of the story woven throughout Scripture, and it teaches us the truths at the heart of the gospel: that God knows us -- truly knows us, inside and out -- and, perhaps unfathomably -- loves us. In fact, these truths, while they are the best news in the world, are also threatening to our sense of control and independence. They are the reason Jesus was rejected and crucified. Our human longing to be known and our simultaneous fear at being known, at acknowledging our brokenness and our need for God, are what the cross enacts. Through Jesus on the cross, God says, "I know you. I love you." When we hear those words, we die and we rise again.

When we begin to see the cross as an event in which we learn -- and constantly relearn -- the truth of the gospel, we can more clearly understand what we are called to do and how we are called to be. We can rethink what it means to live in community, to go to church, to live as a new people in an old world. We can join God in renewing and restoring Creation, in working towards reconciliation and atonement. When we experience the cross we can see with Jesus' eyes and feel with Jesus' heart.

The Rev. Dr. David Lose is the president of Luther Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He is a sought-after speaker and author.


Racial Justice & Slavery in the Bible

Fall & Early Winter 2016

Whitenes & Racial Justice - videos with  Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas

Learn how the dominance and privilege of whiteness impacts our desire to bring racial healing to society. Kelly Brown Douglas leads us through a historical and sociological journey to better understand and bring about reconciliation and justice.

Exploring Slavery Articles (click on link to read the article)

What the Bible Really Says About Slavery - article by Greg Carey

The Secert Religion of the Slaves - article by Albert J. Raboteau

Scholar's Corner (History of the Episcopal church and race) - article in Interchange

Spirituaity & Racial Justice -  videos by Rev. Michael Curry

Learn about the spiritual dimensions and responsibilities inherent in racial justice. Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, provides a sobering yet hopeful outlook on both the sin and reconciliation of racial justice.

Theology & Racial Justice - videos by   J. Kameron Carter​

The journey toward racial justice in North America cannot be fully undertaken without a grasp of the theological implications underlying both its origins and development.

​Reparations & Racial Justice - videos by  Jennifer Harvey

Learn why decades of talking about reconciliation have failed to lessen racial tensions in America and how a new paradigm based on reparation may help. University professor and writer Jennifer Harvey provides a hopeful alternative to bringing about racial justice.​

Exploring the Gospels

 Summer 2016

Join us as we explore the parallels and diversity of the four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

We will  discuss many aspects of the  Gospels, including the ways they enhance our understanding of the life of Jesus, the historical context, how they speak to us as we move  along our spiritual journey and our own reactions to the perspective of each. 

As we move through the stories told  from the different perspectives of each of the writers, we will compile the portions that especially speak to us a group into a single document.

You may bring your bible, which ever edition you prefer, with you and you may purchase the book we are using for our template The Harmony of  the Four Gospels.  

However, you do not need to bring either of these things, just yourself.

The AlsoLife  by Barbara  Cawthorne Crafton

Lent 2017

Join us as we read and discuss  this wonderful book

written by our very own Mo. Barbara!

"well-beloved author Barbara Crafton looks at the world around us: what do we know about creation? What gift is there for us in the "also life" of stars and other organic and non-organic forms of existence? How might that shape the way we see our existence and the God who breathed that life into us? "

 Exploring Genesis

Sundays, 11:30 am - 1 pm

 The Early Bird Education Hour has moved to NOON!
Please join us as we explore the book of Genisus through Bill Moyers thought provoking series, Genesis: a Living Conversation.

"Genesis was a 10-part series produced to stimulate interfaith dialogue in a democratic spirit. Writers, artists, psychologists, composers, lawyers, college presidents, journalists, translators and Biblical scholars discuss, debate and discover the great stories of Genesis. Genesis logo The stories in the book of Genesis — creation, humanity’s fall, the flood, Abraham and Isaac, Joseph in Egypt, and more — have intrigued and inspired Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike for millennia.
. . .  some of the most passionate and thoughtful Bible discussions ever conducted. In these lively small-group conversations, dozens of accomplished people from all walks of life and many faith traditions bring their unique perspectives to 10 well-known biblical stories. "

The Gospel According to the Simpsons

​Join us for a lively discussion of the book, The Gospel According to the Simpsons, as well as some of the pivotal Simpsons episodes such as The Devil and Homer Simpson, Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment & Lisa the Skeptic.

"The Simpsons is one of the longest running, funniest, most irreverent, and, according to some religious leaders, the most theologically relevant show on television today. Journalist Mark Pinsky explores the religious and spiritual aspects of Bart, Homer, and the rest of cartoon’s first family––a show strongly denounced by many conservative Christians back in 1989, but now viewed favorably by fans from all across the theological spectrum.
Pinsky looks at the use of God, Jesus, heaven and hell, the Bible, prayer in the Simpson household, the evangelistic next-door neighbor Ned Flanders, and the town’s church and pastor, Rev. Lovejoy. He also discusses whether the character of Lisa is the voice of Jesus, and explores the many moral dilemmas that the characters, in particular Bart and Homer, face. Pinsky concludes with a discussion that suggests that, on the whole, The Simpsons is supportive and not subversive of faith. This is must reading for any Simpsons’ fan, and an insightful exploration of how religion and faith influences popular culture. "

Who was Mary Magdalene?

Please join us for  an exploration of Mary Magdalene and her role in the early christian church.  We will read and discuss the portions of the Gnostic Gospel of Mary that have survived, as well a several articles and book excerpts which discuss what we may or may not know about Mary in the context of the early church.  

Here are links to resources:

Gospel of Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene: An Enduring Icon of Repentance - The Episcopal New Yorker

Who was Mary Magdalene? - Smithsonian

​Mary Magdalene: Author of the Fourth Gospel?

The Gospel of Mary of Magdala:  Jesus and the First Woman Apostle -  Karen L. King

​"The Real Mary Magdalene" - National Geographic Channel 

a caring church

Join us on Sundays at 11:30 am - 1 pm in the Fryer Room for discussions that broaden our knowledge, deepen our understanding and encourage us to grow as faithful people.  

Coordinator - Rosalie DiSimone-Weiss   EarlyBirdEd@StLukesMetuchen.org

Early Bird Education Hour