Monday, January 19, 2009

Reading through the Bible (Learning Suppers at West Mersea)

As a spin-off from the 'Learning Church' sessions that I was doing on Saturday mornings, we now have a once-a-month Sunday evening service which includes a lengthy talk on a particular topic - along with some 'mainstream hymns' (= popular music, occasionally even sung by the Rector, erk!) - and finishing with a shared supper in the Hall. It's a format that seems to work well, and the congregations are a good size.

This is the programme for the next several months:
Reading through the Bible

The Bible has authority over Christians of all different sorts - but why? In this sequence of talks I want to explore not only what the Bible is, and what the Bible says, I want to show how the Bible can help us to see the world more clearly. In other words this isn't just a sequence picking out some themes from the Bible - though of course it is that - it is also going to explore how to read the world through the Bible: how does the Bible help us to understand and live today?

25th January: Where did the Bible come from?
This will be a mainly historical overview of how we ended up with the texts that we have, and I will discuss what it means to have a 'canon'.

22nd February: The Word of God
This session will explore what the expression 'The Word of God' refers to in various places in the Bible, and what they mean.

22nd March: Old Testament Grace
In this session I will argue that the God of the Old Testament is the same God as the NT, ie graceful. This service will incorporate a formal healing service.

24th May: The sin of fundamentalism
This session will do exactly what it says on the tin in explaining just why fundamentalism is problem.

28th June: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses
This session will describe how modern research supports traditional perspectives on the gospels.
(Please note that this date is subject to change, if it clashes with the ordination service at Chelmsford Cathedral)

26th July: What is heaven?
This final session will explore where we might be going - and what the Bible says about it. This service will incorporate an informal communion.

The Learning Supper is a very informal and enjoyable style of service with all sorts of music and followed by a shared simple meal of bread, soup and wine in the hall.
Everyone is welcome!

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