Winter Adult Education Classes, 2018
Images of Israel
Images of Israel is a six-part study program to learn about modern Israel in its complexity, while bringing Christian theology and values into the conversation. Participants work with texts and video presentations to explore Israel—as a state, as a people, as a nation, and as a land—and to clarify the commitment of Christians to work for justice and peace among Palestinians and Jews.
This class was developed by a colleague of Pastor John Matthews, Dr. Peter Pettit of Muhlenberg College. Pastor John and Grace Lutheran Church hosted a workshop on this class last Spring for local area pastors. The video presentations by Dr. Pettit and other scholars along with written material in the participant book provide an excellent introduction to this timely and important topic.
“In this urgent and provocative new book, James Carroll traces centuries of religious history and theology to face a core challenge to modern faith, and to rescue it for the secular age. What can we believe about – and how can we believe in – Jesus Christ in light of the Holocaust and other atrocities of the twentieth century and the drift from religion that followed?”
In four sessions (Sunday or Thursday), Pastor John will lead this dynamic book study on ‘Who Jesus Christ is actually for us today?’ using James Carroll’s 2014 book. Carroll’s contention is that the first century context – of Jewish persecution by the Romans – dramatically shaped the way the early followers understood Jesus and then composed the Gospels. Hence, to learn who Jesus Christ is ‘actually’ for us today requires a solid understanding of both that context and our context (post-Holocaust). Carroll is a very wise interpreter of the Christian tradition and an outstanding writer, who has been inspired by the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In addition to eleven fiction books, Carroll has written seven non-fiction books, including the New York Times best-seller Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews (2001). (Pastor John had the honor of introducing James Carroll at the November meeting of the Bonhoeffer Society in Boston.)
In preparation for the study, each participant is to purchase the text and read the Introduction and Chapter One before the first session.
(Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age, James Carroll, Viking/Penguin Group, 2014.)