Saturday, June 29, 2013

New Class

New Class that I am teaching this fall at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Edwardsville, Illinois

"Theological Imaginings"
taught by Dr. Brooks

Join Dr. Brooks in some safe space to explore some sacred questions.  
We will look a variety of viewpoints and have time for questions and reflections.

Four Thursdays in October
same course twice
10:00am and 7:00pm in the parlor

10/3 - How do we know?
(We will wrestle with issues such as authority of scripture, authentic revelation, value of experience, tradition)

10/10 - Who is God?
(A survey of various perspectives of God from Triune to Gnostic and back again)

10/17 - What is Church?
(What did Jesus intend?  What might be essential and non-essential?)

10/24 - How does salvation work?
(Who gets to be saved and where do they go?)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Creative Choices

A remark on my preaching noted that reconciliation has been a theme or thread through several recent sermons.  The power of reconciliation is an image that I have seen bubble up from the Bible passages that I have engaged in my sermons of late.  Indeed, reconciliation is a profoundly creative and constructive force at our finger tips.
Deconstruction is the easy move.  Oh a child’s laughter as we stack the blocks for them to knock down.  Over and over again we play this game.  The feeling of power to impact our surroundings is often found in deconstruction.  The neatly mowed lawn that is a field of grass stunted by the slicing blades of our mower.   Our freedom of speech more often seen as the right to criticize those who lead and those who live next to us.  How easy it would be to trod down this well worn path of lamenting our deconstructive delights.
While deconstruction has its place in our lives and relationships, construction is a more rewarding challenge.  Watching the corn sprout in neat rows, now about half a foot tall in places.  Our home gardens beginning to reveal what we hope will be a great harvest in a few months.  Graduations and weddings that call for celebration this time of year.  Vacations that create memories for a lifetime.  
Reconciliation is a powerful force of creation, far more than forgiveness alone.  To reconcile is a choice.  A choice to be in relationship by overcoming brokenness and difference.  Through this choice we demonstrate a love akin to that Jesus shows to the many he invited back into community.  
From the woman at the well, the woman about to be stoned, the prodigal son, Zaccheaus, the disciples ... the list is nearly endless.  Jesus continually initiates contact with the outcast, downtrodden, and common to bring them into more meaningful relationship with himself and the larger community.  Jesus initiates relationship not to network and climb the ladder of success.  Rather Jesus is counting success by lifting up the other into a life of abundant joy.
When we sing that they shall know us by our love, we sing of the choice to be a reconciling people.  If you want a challenge that will provide dividends today and for days to come, chose to reconcile.  In small ways or large, it is a choice to construct a better future.  Who did not show up to Thanksgiving dinner last year that you might chose to include this coming fall?  Single Dad with feisty child could be given the sport in front of you in the check-out line.  To engage in road rage or to ignore the distracted driver who just cut you off?  Kudos to you who chose well to share the love already given you.