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On April 18 some of us got together to reflect on the intersection of Art and Faith. A link to that taped conversation is below. We talked with visual artist Stephanie Joyce and scholar and author Josef Sorett. Their respective websites and some books that inspire us are below. We also brainstormed together on our own experiences of art and faith and ways to more deeply engage with this relationship in our church. We plan to meet again on August 22 to see what has bubbled up in our imaginations.
If you would like to be a part of this dialog or have questions, please contact Marianna Kilbride, email@example.com.
The Recording from the Event
Stephanie Joyce’s Website
Josef Sorett’s website
Angelic Mistakes: The Art of Thomas Merton Roger Lipsey
Art and Faith: A theology of Making Makoto Fujimura
Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetic Josef Sorett
Before and After: Transformation in the Bible and Brain Science
with the Rev. Dr. Allen R. Hilton, Ph.D.
Contact Marianna Kilbride, firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom invite.
Our Change – Making God – Human Need and God’s Desire
Luke 22.54-62 vs Acts 4. 1-13; Romans 12.1-2; 2 Corinthians 5.16-21
Click here for Session #1 supplemental information, a course schedule, and an article by Charles Duhigg. This is for those who would like and have time to prep. It is not necessary to attend or gain insight from the series. Also for those interested, in addition to the Bible (good to have!), Allen will use The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do What We Do, and How To Change by Charles Duhigg. If you order from our local Elm Street Books via their website it should come in 1-2 days. Again, the book is not necessary for the series, it is completely optional.
Click here for the recording of Session #1.
Everything begins with God. In our lift-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps world it’s easy to forget that the prime mover in our lives and in the world is the one who made it all in the first place – and that’s a good thing. So many of us are frustrated by our inability to break our old bad habits or form new good ones. This week we’ll begin our series with a spirit of reliance on the change-making God.
A Role Change – Method Acting and the Task of Transformation
Colossians 3.1-11; Romans 13.11-14; Galatians 2.20-21; 3.26-29
Click here for Session #2 supplemental information. Also this link will take you to an interview of Daniel Day Lewis about his role as Lincoln. Finally, many asked to receive Allen’s devotionals, click here to sign up.
Click here for the recording of Session #2.
Method actors assume the persona of their character. For weeks and months, they eat like them walk like them, think like them. In fact, they sometimes go so far into roles that they fear they can’t get out. That’s not great if you’re Darth Vader or Hannibal Lector, but it’s pretty good if the one we’re putting on is Christ. This week we’ll see how Bible and brain science both picture us becoming a new character…and staying there.
Choosing the ONE – Narrowing Focus to Widen Results
I know a guy (couldn’t be me!) who gets all inspired and wants to change 17 things about himself at once. “I’m going to become better at thank you notes and workout every day at 4 AM and….” The recitation goes on…. His wife gently stops him and says, “Maybe one at a time?” The Bible and brain science agree that focus is a key to transformation. Choosing well the habit (not habits) to address can make all the difference between transformative success and futile failure. This week we’ll learn how to choose and stick to our choice.
Movin’ Out – Turning Focus Toward the World
Acts 8; John 13.34-35; 17.20-23; Matthew 25.31-46; 28.16-20; 2 Cor 5.15
A funny thing happens whenever Jesus talks about transforming Christian groups toward unity from division. Just when we begin to think that he will celebrate the great new feeling of togetherness, he track shifts to the world. “A new commandment I give you: love one another,” are his famous words in John 13. Sounds pleasant, warm, and fuzzy. But when we get to Jesus’ “why” for the command, it’s about the world, not the church: “All people will know that you’re my disciples” is the payoff. This week, we’ll talk about God’s desire to redeem the whole world and how transforming us fits into that plan.
Changed Together – Exploring Group Transformation
Galatians 3.26-29; Romans 12.3ff.; 1 Corinthians 12.12ff.
Groups can change, too. Most of us know this from experience. We’ve been on teams that went from worst to first, or corporate work groups that turned performance around, or churches that became a new thing. But how can a group change habits? Of course, the project of the Apostle Paul and other early Christian leaders was precisely this: the transformation of persons by the transformation of a church. And leadership gurus in our time draw heavily on brain science to move change through teams. This week we’ll focus on group change, and the Bible and brain science have plenty to say about it.
Transformation That Travels – Sustaining Habits for the Long Haul
2 Timothy 4.6-8; 1 Corinthians 9.24-27
Most people’s New Year’s resolutions notoriously, woefully fall by the wayside by February. Futility reigns, and some people give up on the whole enterprise. But the great transformation stories of scripture feature one-way change – the kind that endures. Peter and Paul both transformed, neither turning back or losing the fire. Both the Bible and brain science go deep with the crucial topic of maintenance, continuation, change that lasts – and so will we, in this final week of our series.
New Years’ offers clean slates and fresh starts.
Contact Marianna Kilbride, email@example.com for the Zoom invite.
Nutrisystem and Peloton flood our screens with miraculous before and after images. But resolutions notoriously fail, and some of us have even given up on them. Here’s good news: the Bible is full of successful before/after profiles that stuck. Peter caves to a servant girl during Jesus’ trial, but a couple of months later speaks courageously to the court that condemned Jesus to death. Paul’s life turns on a dime on Damascus Road and stays turned. And contemporary neuroscience offers deep insights into how the After can stay.
Join our longtime friend Allen Hilton for six weeks letting scripture and science talk to us about transformation.
We are sharing this guide to a Sunday Sabbath Dinner to enjoy with your family:
Make Dinner Together, Set Table, & Listen to a Christian Playlist
Here is a great place to find contemporary Christian Music!
Sit Down for Dinner
Once everyone is seated, and before anyone has eaten, light a candle for everyone around the table as each participant says something they are thankful to God for over the past week.
“I am thankful to God for…”
Once all candles are lit, take hands and offer a prayer for the meal including the thanksgivings that have been offered.
Enjoy the meal together.
As the meal winds down, before dessert, either read or re-tell the Bible story for the day. Ask as many questions from the study guide as seems manageable for the evening.
Before anyone leaves the table, have each participant say again what they are thankful to God for and have them blow out their candle.
Take hands and recite the Lord’s Prayer together.
We have been following along daily with the book, Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 Days by Trevor Hudson. We will post daily and you can stay up to date from home.
Sunday, April 12
Read Mark 16:1-8
“Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,
who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.
Look, there is the place they laid him.”
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! This Easter greeting reminds us that God’s action in raising Jesus is the bottom line of our faith. On the third day, after his crucifixion, Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of James, and Salmone find Jesus’ tomb empty. The love that Jesus proclaims, the love he lives, the love he is, is not defeated by the powers of evil and death. This is breathtakingly good news. No faith could be more tragic, no belief more futile than Christianity without its risen Lord. It would be sad and foolish to base our lives on a dead hero.
The strongest evidence for the Resurrection is the transformed lives of Jesus’ disciples. How else do we explain the sudden transformation that took place in their lives? Within days those frightened and grieving disciples are transformed into bold and courageous witnesses willing to die for their faith. Something most extraordinary must have taken place for this to have happened. The One whom they follow is raised from the grave, and they encounter him in a way that convinces them he is now living beyond crucifixion.
The Resurrection means much for our lives today. Jesus is present with us as our loving Friend. He is available to each one of us in our struggle with the forces of evil. We too can experience “little Easters” in the midst of those things that make us “die” each day–the betrayal of a friend, the cruelty of a colleague, or even the failure of a dream. Easter reminds us that the risen Christ is always able to bring light and life where there seems to be only darkness and death. What wonderful good news this is! We are indeed Easter people living in a Good Friday world.
We can celebrate this good news: The risen Christ is in our midst. He continues to make available another kind of life to anyone and everyone. He has promised that all those who seek will find. May the words of Paul be our prayer today: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death” (Phil. 3:10).
Our yearly book, Jesus Top Forty, can be downloaded here.
This year we are sharing ‘Jesus Top 40: Journey With Jesus’ with our whole congregation. We hope you will read along each week with your church family, your own family and friends! We have printed copies at the church and feel free to download the book here: Click here to download.
This year we are sharing ‘Bible Top 40: Bible Stories Everyone Should Know’ with our whole congregation. We hope you will read along each week with your church family, your own family and friends! We have printed copies at the church and feel free to download the book here: Click here to download.