Adult Faith Formation

“Suitable for Adults: A Grown-up Look at Children’s Bible Stories”
Sundays, September 13, 20 & 27

Most of us are familiar with the classic Bible stories of Jonah and the Whale and Noah’s Ark. We may remember the cheery pairs of animals waddling up to the great ship from murals in the nursery or our days in Sunday school. However, how often do we read these stories as adults? LPC Faith Formation Director Aliyah Kennedy has prepared a three-part video series looking at some of our favorite Bible stories that might not be as child friendly as we remember. The series will be available on the church website by 9 a.m. on Sundays, September 13, 20 and 27. The videos will be approximately 25 minutes long.

When most people look back on the classic stories of the Bible (particularly with children’s stories), we tend to see them through a cheery filter of heroes and miracle workers — Jonah prayerfully content in the belly of a smiling whale or Isaac happily oblivious to the plans of his father as they descend the mountaintop. As we tell these stories to children, we manage to instill meaning while also perpetuating the idealized image of saints and Biblical perfection. As adults, we can find deeper meaning by removing the “PG” rating and getting back to the original director’s version.

“The Humor of Jesus”
Sundays, August 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30

LPC Parish Associate Rev. Dr. Steve Gorman will lead a five-part video series on “The Humor of Jesus.” Jesus taught with stories, which were often funny, even hilarious, to his audiences. Back then. Right now. Through humor, His illustrations, puns and witticisms, He held their attention, made His point and proved His excellence as a communicator. Frankly, He ticked some people off with His Godly “stand-up.”  He also revealed with His empathy and insights the true, full humanity of the Incarnation. These five classes, beginning Sunday, August 2, will be available weekly on the Faith Formation Videos webpage. Yes, laugh with our Lord at His wonderful sharing about the human condition we find ourselves so immersed in. 

“The Letter of James: A Bishop Tries to Flatten a Curve”
Sundays, July 5, 12, 19 & 26

LPC Pastor Jim Butler has prepared a four-part video series on the New Testament book, The Letter of James. The series will be available on the church website by 9 a.m. on four Sundays in July — 5, 12, 19 and 26. The videos will be approximately 25 minutes in length.

The letter has been the source of much controversy throughout Christian history, beginning with the identity of its author. The majority of Protestant scholars are open to the traditional position that it was written by Jesus’ brother, James, who was the first bishop (pastor) of Jerusalem. Roman Catholic scholars disagree because of their doctrine of the “perpetual virginity of Mary,” which argues that the siblings of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels were the offspring of Joseph from another marriage.

Controversy has centered on James’ theological statements that “true religion” is more about practice (caring for widows and orphans) than correct belief systems. James asks his readers, “What good is it, brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Faith, if it has no works, is dead.” Both Luther and Calvin championed Paul’s theology that “saving faith” (right belief?) justifies a person before God, and seriously questioned whether James’ letter, written before Paul’s ministry began, should have been included in the canon (authorized sacred library) of scripture.

The letter also includes strong moral and ethical teachings that all people are equal before God in that every person is made in God’s image. Christians should never be partial or show favoritism toward anyone but especially to the wealthy and the well-placed. James wanted to flatten the cultural curve of wealth and power that was present in the Jerusalem church. The Letter of James is timely and amazingly contemporary in that it can speak forcefully to the issues of racism, bigotry and wealth inequality in American culture.

“The Art of Sacred Image and Personal Worship”
Sundays, May 10, 17 & 24

The Faith Formation Ministry is excited to offer a three-part digital lecture surveying the use of art in personal worship. When discussing art and faith, most people might conjure the image of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling or the many beautiful stained-glass windows and altarpieces in worship spaces around the world. This series will look at art, within three distinct time periods, that was used for worshiping and connecting to God while at home. The series will be led by Aliyah Kennedy, the Director of Faith Formation and Youth Programming. While many of our members may associate her with the children and youth of our church, her degree is in Art History and she has spent many years working within Cleveland’s art community. On May 10, 17 and 24, a documentary-style video lecture will be offered on the church website and YouTube pages.